Taking a look back at Tupac and Scarface’s ‘Smile’ 20 years to the day after it released.
Smile was the lead single to launch Scarface‘s fourth solo project, “Untouchable”. It featured up and coming r&b singer Johnny P, along with mega rap star Tupac Shakur. The single was released on February 3, 1997. Smile would guarantee Scarface one of his most successful selling albums to date.
A sandstorm of controversy accompanied the release of the video. It was supposedly shot after the untimely death of 2pac. However, it captured him on a cross delivering his soul touching lyrics. Also seen in the video are a 1996 BMW 750iL and a 1997 GMC Suburban, both vehicles are known to be in 2pac and Notorious B.I.G ‘s murder scenes.
Smile didn’t waste any time screaming up the rap charts. It reached a top peak of 12th on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached 4th on the US R&B Hip-Hop Songs. It reached 31st on the US Rhythmic Top 40. Smile claimed to its highest position reaching 2nd on the US Hot Rap Singles. It also was ‘Untouchable’s‘ most selling single, reaching Gold; over 500,000 copies sold.
Journey back with us, 20 years to the day, and check out the video and lyrics to ‘Smile’.
There’s gon’ be some stuff you gon’ see
That’s gon’ make it hard to smile in the future
But through whatever you see
Through all the rain and the pain
You gotta keep your sense of humor
You gotta be able to smile through all this bullshit
Mmm, yeah, keep ya head up! Yeah
[Verse 1: 2Pac]
Our lifestyles be close-captioned
Addicted to fatal attractions
Pictures of actions be played back in the midst of mashin’
No fairy tales for this young black male
Some see me stranded in this land of hell, jail, and crack sales
Hustlers hardly think of culture
Or the repercussions while bustin’ on backstabbin’ vultures
Sellin’ my soul for material wishes, fast cars, and bitches
Wishin’ I live my life a legend, immortalized in pictures
Why shed tears? Save your sympathy
My childhood years were spent
Buryin’ my peers in the cemetary
Here’s a message to the newborns waitin’ to breathe
If you believe, then you can achieve; just look at me!
Against all odds, though life is hard we carry on
Livin’ in the projects, broke with no lights on
To all the seeds that follow me, protect your essence
Born with less, but you still precious; just smile for me now!
[Hook: Johnny P & (2Pac)]
Smile for me, won’t you smile? (Smile for me now)
Just smile, smile for me (Smile)
(What you lookin’ all sad for?
Nigga, you black, smile for me now)
Smile for me
(Nigga, you ain’t got nothin’ to be worried about)
Won’t you smile? (No doubt, smile for me now)
Just smile (And the next generation)
[Verse 2: Scarface]
Now, as I open up my story, with the blaze of your blunts
And you can picture thoughts slowly, up on phrases I wrote
And I can walk you through the days that I done
I often wish that I could save everyone, but I’m a dreamer
Have you ever seen a nigga who was strong in the game
Overlookin’ his tomorrows, and they finally came?
Look back on childhood memories, and I’m still feelin’ the pain
Turnin’ circles in my 9th grade, dealin’ cocaine
Too many hassles in my local life, survivin’ the strain
And a man without a focus, life could drive him insane
Stuck inside a ghetto fantasy hopin’ it change
But when I focus on reality we broke and in chains
Had a dream of livin’ wealthy and makin’ it big
Over football chose to cook raw, wouldn’t take but I did
And after all my momma’s thankin’ God for blessin’ the child
All my momma gots to do now is collect it and smile; smile!
[Hook: Johnny P]
Smile for me, won’t you smile?
Just smile, smile for me
Smile for me
Won’t you smile? Just smile
[Verse 3: 2Pac]
Fuck the world, as we elope and witness furious speeds
Unanswered questions keep us all stressin’, curious G’s
Backstabbed and bleedin’
Crooked thoughts laced with weed, learnin’
Duckin’ stray shots, bullets be hot, they burnin’
Inhalin’ sherm smoke, visualize the flames
Will I be smothered by my own pain?
Strange whispers, cowards conversate, so quick to diss us
Takin’ pictures for the feds in desperate hopes they’d get us
Hit us off, give us plenty centuries
Forgive my sins, since I entered many penitentiaries
The best revenge is “Fuck friends!”
We military minded soldiers
Bustin’ shots blindly, tryin’ to find Jehovah
To help me, somebody save me, lost and crazy
Scared to drop a seed hopin’ I ain’t cursed my babies
Maybe now niggas feel me now, picture my pain
Embrace my words, make the world change
And still I smile, nigga
And now a moment of silence, let us pray
And as you journey into outerspace
May the angels help to lead the way
May the prayers that our families made
Shine up on your soul to keep you safe
And all the homies that done passed away
They there to greet you as you pass the gates
And as you headed to the tunnel’s light
I hope it leads to eternal life
We say the prayers for our homie ‘Pac
[Hook: Johnny P]
Smile, smile for me
All you need to do is smile
Woooo smile for me
Come on, smile for me