Happy Birthday, Scarface! The Houston rap legend turns 47 years old today (Nov. 9).

Scarface was part of a wave of rappers who gave the south its lyrical esteem during the '90s, when the East Coast traditionalists were still far from welcoming. Before the emergence of acts like OutKast, UGK and Eightball & MJG, 'Face was writing dark crime tales with his crew The Geto Boys, whom he'd joined in 1989. Shortly after the Geto Boys scored their biggest hit, (the darkly introspective classic "Mind Playing Tricks On Me"), Face broke out on his own with his 1991 debut Mr. Scarface Is Back.

Scarface became revered for his conflicted narratives like "I Seen a Man Die," one of the best story songs in hip-hop, and the standout single from Face's acclaimed third album, 1994s The Diary. For the remainder of the 1990s, and into the 2000s with his hit album The Fix, Scarface was a standard-bearer for authentic hip-hop, in the South and beyond. His influence is obvious; the paranoid narratives of the Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac and DMX are all indebted to the lyricism of Brad Jordan.

For the better part of 25 years, Scarface has been one of the most consistent artists in hip-hop. Salute the legend.

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