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Houston Rap Icon, Scarface, Announces Final Tour

Scarface, (left) with Houston radio presenter
J Mac, has announced his final tour. 
The long-rumored end to an era appears to finally be upon us.

On Tuesday, Houston rap legend Scarface, who has long talked about giving up the mic for years and even held a" farewell show at Houston's House of Blues in November, announced a 32-city engagement he's calling "The Farewell Tour" on Instagram.

"The end game is to leave the same way you came in," the rapper, aka Brad Jordan, posted along with the tour schedule. "Now that’s gangsta!!"

If his words are to be taken literally, it should not be a surprise to hardcore hip-hop fans. Scarface's desire to remain in the genre, as well as his health, have posed challenges in recent years.

In late 2020, the 51-year-old artist found out he needed a kidney transplant following a prolonged battle with Covid-19 that March.

​​“COVID attacked my lungs first, and then it attacked my kidneys and knocked them out,” the rapper told Fox DC of his predicament at the time. “I got full lung recovery, but my kidneys never came back.”

After taking to social media in hopes of finding a donor in October, it ended up being Scarface’s son and tour manager, Christopher Jordan, who came to the rescue by donating his own kidney. Less than a month later he would be on stage at the House of Blues for what at the time was billed as his final solo show.

“I’m done with the rap,” Scarface told Houstonia Magazine prior to the show (five months later, he opened for Ice Cube at a show in nearby Sugarland, Texas). “If I could, I would love to go into a different lane of music. Maybe blues or rock. Maybe alternative. I want to do something different now.”

The Houston native, who first found fame as a member of the city's iconic platinum rap trio, the Geto Boys, before embarking on a successful solo career, will begin the tour on July 8 in Oakland, California, and traverse the country before returning to his home state for three shows to wrap it up. 

Tickets for the tour are available at Ticketmaster.

New Book Takes a Look at the LIfe and Legacy of DJ Screw

Courtesy of DeMo Sherman and University of Houston Libraries Special 

Hardcore hip-hop fans, especially those with any affinity, connection, or affection for Houston’s eclectic rap scene, are getting an early gift this year.

Brooklyn-based writer Lance Scott Walker’s long-anticipated book on legendary Texas' music fixture DJ Screw, “DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution,” dropped today, and according to early reviews, it is a winner.

"Weaving flashes of his own voice into an oral history featuring over 130 of Screw’s friends, family, heroes, students, and more, Walker stitches together a full picture of the iconic DJ’s legacy," Rolling Stone’s Mankaprr Conteh said of the tome, which is the culmination of 16 years of research by the author.

The book meticulously documents the life of the late innovator, born Robert Earl Davis Jr., who created a signature “chopped and screwed” sound that would come to define the city of Houston by spinning two copies of a record to “chop” in new rhythms and having local rappers freestyle over the tracks and slow down the recordings of the session on tape.

Walker may be based in New York, but he is no stranger to the subject matter. A Galveston, Texas, native — he got his big break writing about music and nightlife for Houston Press and Houston Chronicle in the early 2000s and has written several other books on Houston rap.

For his latest work, he interviewed everyone from Screw’s childhood friend to collaborators and fans who helped popularize his tape and the hip-hop moguls that drew inspiration from and honored his work.

“Screw slowed down the music because he wanted to hear what the rappers were saying. He wanted you to hear what they were saying,” Walker told Houston Matters Michael Hagerty in a recent interview. 

“Sometimes there would be a message in there that he wanted to repeat so you would hear him wind it back, and sometimes he’s not just winding back a couple of words but an entire phrase or an entire 16 bars. Whatever it is he wants to run back, he’s running it back because he wants you to hear it.”

Walker added that the sound, like its hot and seemingly endless summers, is something that is Houston, but the narrative on the Screw tapes cemented his legacy and its importance to the city.

“You heard local rappers talking about local neighborhoods, local streets, local record labels, local places where they went… that sort of thing, so it sounds like Houston. It’s got that hot sort of slow sound.”

Lil Keed Dead at 24

Photo © Lil Keed/Instagram
Hours before he was scheduled to perform at the Until Next Time Daze in the Blue Music Festival in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday, up-and-coming Atlanta-based rapper Lil Keed died at the age of 24.

His brother, Lil Gotit, first broke the news with a post on Instagram.

"Can't believe I seened u die today bro I did all my cries I know what u want me to do and that's go hard for Mama Daddy Our Brothers Naychur and Whiteboy,” he wrote on his verified account.

While the full details of his death have yet to be revealed, the musician’s record label 300 Entertainment confirmed the artist, whose real name is Rahqid Render, passing and released a statement lamenting his loss:

“Lil Keed was not only an incredible talent but a devoted father, brother, and son. We are deeply saddened by this unexpected loss as Keed's courage, humor, and dedication to his family and craft will be unexplainably missed. Over the years, Keed has made an indescribable impact on the culture and his community. His essence will forever be woven throughout the fabric that is Young Stoner Life Records and 300 Entertainment. Our prayers are with his family, friends, and fans.”

Young Stoner Life Records, the label founded by fellow Atlanta rap star Young Thug and the imprint to which Lil Keed was signed (under the purview of 300 Entertainment), added its condolences on Twitter.

“A member of our family is gone. Lil Keed was one of the most genuine and heartfelt human beings. He was an artist who loved his fans more than anything else," the label’s official account tweeted Sunday. "We lost a brother, a son, a father, and a friend. Keep him in your prayers and his legacy alive."

The rapper was born on March 16, 1998, in the same Atlanta neighborhood as Young Thug. He was mentored by the superstar and signed to YSL in 2018. His first studio album “Long Live Mexico,” proceeded by several successful single releases, peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2019.

The artist’s death was the latest blow for the embattled record label, which saw 28 people associated with it indicted for violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO Act and participating in criminal street gang activity last week.

Young Thug and labelmate Gunna, two of the label's biggest stars, were jailed and denied bail in Georgia on RICO and other charges.

Incarceration did not stop the duo from reaching out to Lil Keed’s family in the wake of this tragedy.

According to Lil Gotit both platinum rappers have spoken to him while awaiting their next court dates.

“Talked to @thuggerthugger1 [Young Thug] yesterday,” he wrote on his Instagram story. “Keed u f—d him up with this one but we know you guarding him through these times and make sure he gone be alright We da Proud Family can’t nothing stop us.”

He added, “Talked to @gunna [Gunna] he good just sad what’s goin on wit twin but everything gone be in our favor.”