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The Outlaws

When Willie met Scarface. 

By May 2015Comments

Illustration by Tim Bower

Willie Nelson and Brad “Scarface” Jordan may both be world-famous Texas musicians, but you’d think that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. The Abbott-born country artist and the Houston-born rapper don’t sound much alike and are separated by more than three decades in age. This spring, however, both men are publishing memoirs, and Nelson’s It’s a Long Story: My Life (Little, Brown, May 5) and Jordan’s Diary of a Madman: The Geto Boys, Life, Death, and the Roots of Southern Rap (Dey Street Books, April 21) demonstrate that they have more in common than you’d expect.

Ancestry

Willie Nelson: “Mother was Myrtle, three-quarters Cherokee Indian, who’d traveled down from dirt-poor Arkansas.”

Brad Jordan: “When the slaves were released, the Jordans went to Arkansas. My grandfather on my father’s side was a Chickasaw.”

Life and Death

Willie Nelson: “I was fascinated by the very fact of being alive.”

Brad Jordan: “I’ve always been infatuated with death.”

A.K.A.

Willie Nelson: The Red Headed Stranger, Booger Red, and Shotgun Willie

Brad Jordan: DJ Akshen, Face, and BrotherMob. And, well, Scarface.

Strokes and Tokes

Willie Nelson: “This was where I got my first taste of golf, a sport that, like smoking pot, was a habit that I enjoyed cultivating.”

Brad Jordan:  “Now if I’m not playing music, then I’m playing golf.” “I was always high.”

Number of F-Bombs Dropped In the First Ten Pages

Willie Nelson: Six

Brad Jordan: Sixteen

Hometown Boys

Willie Nelson: “[Abbott] rooted me in the land and in the people—good-hearted and well-meaning people—who anchored me in love.”

Brad Jordan: “[Houston] is full of super-solid mother—ers and there ain’t nothing fake about it.”

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