Scarface Talks Houston Hurricane Relief, City Preparedness, Trump Response
As Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Houston, the rapper Scarface, a lifelong Houstonian and Texas hip-hop pioneer, was holed up in his house, wondering if he made the right decision to ride out the storm. As it turned out, although he lost power and was marooned at home for several days, he was one of the lucky ones. His home, on the city’s outskirts, was spared any real damage, but others he knows weren’t so lucky. Rolling Stone checked in with him to find out what he and others have been through, how the city has responded and his concerns as the region begins the massive cleanup.
How’s the weather where you’re at?
Right now, it’s sunny. No clouds. Absolutely beautiful.
Are you and your family and friends safe?
Yeah, everybody’s safe. Unfortunately, a few people didn’t fare so well during this storm. They are in our thoughts and prayers. But if you’re a Houstonian, then you know what it is. We run the risk of having these storms every hurricane season. I’m 46 years old, and I’ve been going through this all my life. We’ve always had these storms – Ike, Rita, Hugo, Allison, Alice.
What was your experience going through this hurricane?
It was raining and blowing wind, but a couple minutes into that second hour of winds and rains, those lights went off. That’s when the reality sets in that this is it. It’s about to go down. That’s when everything hits you all at once, like, “Damn, we should’ve left. We ain’t got no lights, the water is rising, the water is all the way up to the trees in the driveway. Oh, my God, we should’ve left.” But after the lights went off, I’m pretty industrious, so, shit, I cranked the generator up! But we were stuck in the house for three days. It didn’t stop raining.
How did this compare to past hurricanes you’ve been through?
They’re calling this the worst ever. I will say it’s the worst rain ever. At my house, if you passed by in a big truck, the wake would push the water up to the doorstep. So, it was real. Some people are still flooded in, some people lost everything. I feel like this is the worst storm among my friends because we had some friends who took on some real damage. My buddy was evacuating his house in the inner city and he stepped in a manhole! If he wouldn’t have caught himself from falling all the way down, he would’ve died. He lost everything. In Beaumont, which is about an hour and a half up the road, they lost all their running water.
Do you think the city and the state were prepared for this?
No doubt. We’ve got volunteers all over the place. We’ve got two of the biggest venues in the city open to the public. Houstonians know exactly what to do in these situations. It’s not our first rodeo. Thank God that the mayor [Sylvester Turner] is from Houston and he knows what to do. He sprung right into action. He the truth. He stepped in and showed immaculate leadership skills in a crisis.
How do you feel about Trump showing up on the Texas coast?
I think he still feels like he’s on a presidential campaign. He walked to the shelter like, “Oh, look at this crowd! Thank you!” The people weren’t there to see him. The people were actually in a shelter. With all due respect, Mr. President is an egotistical megalomaniac narcissist.
There’s a lot of attention right now on Houston and the areas affected by the storm. Do you worry that in a few days, the news will move on, and all that attention won’t be there as the city needs help recovering and rebuilding?
In Houston, we going to look out for our own. It’s amazing how the locals are taking care of each other. My concern is that you donate all this money to these organizations and they don’t kick the hood in. That’s cool that you raised five or six million dollars, J.J. Watt – I love that, that’s a beautiful thing. But if you donate it to Meyerland’s relief or River Oaks’ relief or Memorial’s relief, then you just threw it away. Those people got hella money there. I don’t think they need no more. I’m sure they had insurance. Now, for the people that lost everything, people in the hood that’s flooded, the lower-income communities, those are the people that need it the most.
What are your plans in the coming days and weeks?
I do a lot of shit but I don’t do it on social media because I don’t need to be praised for it. The relief that I pass on to people is out of love. It’s no photo op. The areas where I grew up, we don’t really have a lot of water. Ain’t no water standing no more around the neighborhood. But if somebody lost their air conditioning unit or something, I’m going to make sure you got that. Or if your house lost carpet or whatever and you didn’t have the insurance, I’m going to make sure you’ve got carpet. Make sure you’ve got some new living room shit. Couldn’t make it to work for three days and lost three days of income? Hey, I’m gonna have a little something on that. But you won’t see me filming and riding around like “Aaaah! Look what I did!” I don’t do that.