"I never went all the way," Scarface says. "That’s why I say that I think I really just wanted the attention."
While he has rarely shied away from stories about his troubled childhood, Houston rapper Scarface's new memoir, Diary of a Madman: The Geto Boys, Life, Death, and the Roots of Southern Rap, is a tell-all tale that includes a deeply personal account of his behavioral and mental health issues as an adolescent.
In an excerpt from the book released by Billboard, Scarface, alongside the book's co-author Benjamin Meadows-Ingram, explains how he sought attention as a child by seeking out trouble and eventually made several attempts on his own life.
"Looking back, I think I just wanted the attention," Scarface says in the excerpt. "I see that now. But back then, I felt like attention was the last thing I wanted. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you if it was any one specific thing that had pushed me to that point. I just know that I was mad. Mad and sad. I felt like no one wanted me. My daddy was dead, and my mama didn’t want me. I didn’t really get along with my stepdad, and my grandma already had nine kids of her own, so there wasn’t really a place for me at her house either. I felt like I couldn’t do shit right, and the only way I could get any attention was by f---ing up. No one would come watch me play football or check out my baseball games or any shit like that, but as soon as I popped some kid in the face or busted somebody’s head open in class, everyone was there, telling me I was f---ed up for what I’d done, trying to take away my privileges and shit like that. That was the attention I was getting: for being a f---up."
Recounting a specific suicide attempt, Scarface explains his reaction to being brought to the hospital after a purposeful overdose.
"I don’t remember too much about that particular day, but I know I was ready for it to be done," he writes. "I was ready to get up out this bitch. So I went in my mother’s medicine cabinet and took all of her blood-pressure medication. I woke up on the bathroom floor with the ambulance parked outside and the paramedics trying to get me up and out the door. They took me to the hospital and gave me this stuff, ipecac, to clean out my stomach. I spent the whole next day puking my guts out. It was disgusting. I thought that shit was going to kill me! I was like, 'Damn, you brought me all the way here to do me in like this?' You could have just left me on the floor and saved everyone a hell of a lot of trouble."
Later he adds on, "It wasn’t like that was the first time I’d tried to kill myself. I’d been trying to take my own life for years. You name it, I’d tried it. Slitting my wrists with a box cutter and bleeding out all over the bathroom floor, putting loaded guns to my head, all of that shit. If you’d asked me then, I’d have told you straight up: I was ready to go. But I never did it. I never cut myself deep enough or far enough away from my family to be left alone to die. I never pulled the trigger. I never went all the way. That’s why I say that I think I really just wanted the attention. If you really want to go, dying is the easy part. It’s the living that’s hard. That shit takes a lifetime. And it will test you every step of the way."
Read the full excerpt on Billboard. Scarface's Diary of a Madman: The Geto Boys, Life, Death, and the Roots of Southern Rap is scheduled for an April 21 release on Harper Collins.
Several years ago, in another book called Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip Hop, Scarface shared stories about his time in a mental health ward after the suicide attempt. "When you go crazy in the hospital, they get like five or six big ol' men to come in there and hold you down," he told the book's author Ben Westhoff. "They pop you with that Thorazine and you go out."
"I spent a lot of time in the quiet room," he also said, "to the point where if anybody said anything about that quiet room I was like, 'OK! I'll be good! I'm not crazy anymore!'"