Album: The Fix
Label: Def Jam
Rating: 9 / 10
I €™ll admit it. I €™ve never really checked for Southern artists, even this €˜all-time €™ great I kept hearing about, Scarface. Prior to this album my knowledge of him was based purely on two songs, the sublime ‘My Mind €™s Playing Tricks on Me’ and Gang Starr €™s ‘Betrayal,’ again a great track, but one which I always felt he sort of ruined. I was drawn to this album though for one very superficial reason €™ the simple fact that Jay-Z and Nas both appeared on it, and after listening to it all the way through I did feel almost guilty towards Scarface since his sixth release reigns supreme over both of their recent efforts put together.
Using Jay-Z €™s “Blueprint” as, well, a basic blueprint for the sound of this album was a masterstroke and overall the whole album €™s sound is actually tighter than Jay €™s with Just Blaze, among others, delivering some of the musical and soulful beats for years, just listen to the classic ‘In Cold Blood’ if you want proof.
While its difficult to pick out true weak links across the 11 tracks, the gimmicky single ‘On My Block’ and Dre-esque ‘Sellout’ seem a touch out of place on such a lyrically and musically dense piece. Standouts on the other hand are plentiful, with several tracks showing their heads, even in such a uniformly excellent collection. The aforementioned ‘In Cold Blood’, ‘Keep Me Down’ and Nas collaboration ‘In Between Us’, in terms of production and gritty yet eloquent lyricism, are in the year €™s top 10 songs easily. Nas’ appearance alongside Scarface once again underlines what an incredible partnership they make; true chemistry and contrasting voices make them yet another dream duo to never make an album together.
What is obvious, and maybe initially concerning, when reading the album €™s credits are the number of collaborations with R €™n €™B singers, namely Kelly Price and Faith Evans, but fear not because Scarface knows what Ja Rule etc. clearly do not know. You see Mr. Scarface knows how to use singers when they €™re right to be used, not just for the sake of a hot MTV video, and the vocals across this album certainly compliment rather than detract from the overall product.
So overall then you should be able to tell that I was quite impressed with “The Fix”, and I €™d probably even go so far as to say that it was undoubtedly one of 2002’s top 5 albums, eclipsing even albums by big name artists such as Nas, Jay-Z and Eminem. In fact I €™d say that the best way to describe “The Fix” is that its the album Jay-Z wished he could make, the pinnacle of the resurgence of this old school soulful sound currently flying around New York. If you €™re a Scarface fan, you couldn €™t be happier with this release, if not, like me, you will be after hearing it.