Scarface has always been the man of the people. From his early days as a member of the Houston rap group the Geto Boys to his own solo work, Brother Mob always made it a point to offer encouragement to people living under difficult times.
Scarface’s “Smile” video is an ode to Tupac Shakur who also appears on the track. On Sept. 13 1996, the late rapper died from his injuries he suffered in a Sept. 7 drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. "Smile" was one of his last recordings before his untimely death.
The clip opens up with a long panning shot of a BMW 750iL vehicle and a GMC Suburban SUV, in which 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G., respectively, were riding in during their murders.
Scarface reprises his role as the grim reaper (peep “I Seen a Man Died” video for reference) and is totally cloaked in black. He’s walking in a forest and approaches 2Pac (played by a stunt double) who appears on a cross to symbolize him being crucified.
"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!" 'Pac raps from the crucifixion.
Throughout the video we see a young child who frees 2Pac from his crucifixion and two men fighting each other on a rickety boat until both men fall into the river to their deaths as Scarface looks on. At the end of the video, Scarface offers a prayer to his fallen friend.
Scarface's “Smile" became his highest-charting song of his rap career (reaching No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart) and his first gold-certified single.
Interestingly, Rap-A-Lot Records CEO/Founder J. Prince wanted Biggie to appear on the song in attempt to make a peaceful statement during the coastal rap feud between the East and West coasts.
“On ‘Smile,’ the interesting thing about it was that record didn’t go like I really wanted it to go because I wanted Biggie on that record," he explained on Tidal's Rap Radar podcast.
"I went to Puffy after 'Pac had got killed…and asked him if Biggie could be on that record," he continued. "Of course, at the time, he told me that Biggie didn’t want to. ‘Cause I told him I had a verse from Pac. He didn’t want to be connected. I can only imagine what that would have turned out to have been if I could’ve had that verse. That would’ve been one his last verses too."
On March 11, 1997, Scarface released The Untouchable album, just two days after The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in Los Angeles. The collection garnered him his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in his career. Along with "Smile," the album also features a posse track called "Game Over" featuring Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Too Short.