Geto Boys are a legendary Houston gangsta rap group featuring Bushwick Bill, Willie D and Scarface. Interestingly, Geto Boys were initially called Ghetto Boys, and they featured a totally different lineup. It wasn’t until Bushwick Bill, Scarface and Willie D joined forces that they achieved widespread success.
The Geto Boys are featured on tonight’s episode of “Unsung.” Check out a sneak peek below, and watch the full episode tonight on TV One at 8pm EST.
WHO ARE THE GETO BOYZ?
In 1989, the LP “Grip It! On That Other Level” earned the attention of acclaimed producer Rick Rubin, who wanted to release the album on his Def American label. But distributor Geffen wasn’t down with the track “Mind of a Lunatic,” what with its lyrics about necrophilia, and Rubin was forced to find a new distributor. When the disc eventually surfaced, Ghetto Boys morphed into Geto Boys.
Who are Geto Boys? As hip-hop heads will answer quickly, they’re the Houston gangsta rap trio behind the 1991 classic “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” a single from “We Can’t Be Stopped.” That album’s cover featured a picture of dwarf rapper Bushwick Bill in the hospital just after he’d shot himself in the eye. In the grisly photo, Bushwick Bill sits in a gurney with his eye patch off, his self-inflicted wound there for the world to see. Scarface and Willie stand in the background, wheeling Bill down the hallway. Despite the criticism Geto Boys faced for penning violent and misogynic lyrics, their music struck a chord with some critics, and Alex Henderson of AllMusic called the “We Can’t Be Stopped” album “an engaging, disturbing effort that comes across as much more heartfelt than the numerous gangsta rap albums by the N.W.A and Cube clones and wannabes who jumped on the gangsta bandwagon in the early ’90s.”
The Geto Boys followed “We Can’t Be Stopped” with 1993’s “Til Death Do Us Part,” 1996’s “The Resurrection,” 1998’s “Da Good da Bad & da Ugly,” and 2005’s “The Foundation.” All landed inside the Top 40 on the Billboard 200 album charts, solidifying Geto Boys’ status as gangsta rap legends. But who are the Geto Boys, other than a trio able to move some units? According to About.com, they’re the 10th best rap group of all time, “southern rap pioneers who paved the way for future southern hip-hop acts.” According to Rolling Stone, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” is the fifth best hip-hop song of all time, and in the magazine’s write-up of the song, Questlove of the Roots explained why it ranks so high. “”It was an awesome, complex display of paranoia,” the drummer said. “It managed to add a third dimension [to Geto Boys’ sound], and it humanized them.”
Who are the Geto Boys? They rapped about dark subject matter but still found a widespread audience, and all three members of the best-known lineup have gone on to respectable solo careers.