Geto Boys (originally spelled Ghetto Boys) is a hip hop group from Houston, Texas, consisting of Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill. The original Ghetto Boys consisted of the following members: Prince Johnny C, Sire Jukebox; DJ Ready Red; and Little Billy, the dancer who later came to be known as Bushwick Bill. The group released a mostly unheard of album titled Making Trouble that contained songs such as "Making Trouble", "Ghetto Boys Will Rock You", "Balls and My Word", "Assassins", and "Snitches".
The group broke up shortly after and a new line-up was put together with the inclusion of Scarface and Willie D, both aspiring solo artists.
The Geto Boys earned notoriety for its transgressive lyrics which included gore, psychotic experiences, necrophilia, and misogyny. Despite the explicit content of their songs, critic Alex Henderson argues that the group "comes across as much more heartfelt than the numerous gangsta rap...wannabes who jumped on the gangsta bandwagon in the early ?90s."
The Geto Boys broke new ground with their soulful southern sound (perhaps a precursor to the Dirty South style), which was produced by people like Johnny C, Doug King, and later N.O. Joe and Mike Dean.
The group?s 1990 album The Geto Boys had to switch distributors from Geffen to Warner Bros. Records (with marketing done by WB sister label Giant Records) because of controversy over the graphic portrayal of rape, necrophilia, and murder in the song "Mind of a Lunatic." It was later released with alternate lyrics on iTunes and on its compilation album Uncut Dope. The Geto Boys (released by Rick Rubin's Def American Recordings, later re-named American Recordings) is actually a compilation, consisting mainly of ten tracks taken from its 1989 album Grip It! On That Other Level, as well as two new songs and one song from its debut LP, Making Trouble.
In the early part of the decade, several American politicians attacked gangsta emcees, including the Geto Boys (though most famously Ice T and the 2 Live Crew). A high-profile incident in which Bushwick Bill lost an eye in a shooting with his girlfriend helped boost sales of its third album, We Can't Be Stopped. The album cover had a picture of the injured Bushwick being carted through a hospital by Scarface and Willie D. On the album's title track, the group responded to being dropped by Geffen Records. "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" became a hit in the hip-hop community.
All three members began solo careers, but Willie D. was the only one who actually left the group. Scarface and Bushwick Bill continued with the Geto Boys, adding Big Mike for Till Death Do Us Part in 1993. Although "Till Death..." was certified gold it was not as well received by fans, as the lyrically gifted shoes of Willie D who also wrote for Bushwick, proved too big to fill for Big Mike. Subsequently, Big Mike was dropped and Willie D returned for 1996's critically acclaimedThe Resurrection and 1998's Da Good Da Bad & Da Ugly which Bushwick was not a part of. After years on hiatus, the group reunited to released its seventh album, The Foundation, in 2005. The Geto Boys were featured on Scarface's My Homies Part 2 album.
The Geto Boys' popularity was boosted somewhat in 1999 by the prominent use of two songs?"Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta" (original, later released as a single on vinyl) and "Still" (from The Resurrection)?in Mike Judge's film Office Space, now considered a cult classic. Also, the song "Mind of a Lunatic" has been covered by many recording acts including rock band Marilyn Manson in 2003, as a B-side off of the album The Golden Age of Grotesque.
The single "Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta" has also been covered by the band Aqueduct and country singer Carter Falco. The song "Street Life" from the album Till Death Do Us Part was featured on the motion picture South Central. A video clip for this song with footage from the film was also released .
The band will be doing a rare performance as a reunion at the Smoke Out festival in San Bernardino, CA on October 23rd, 2009. The Geto Boys is credited as the group who put the south on the hip hop music map and inspired a legion of acts including 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., UGK, TI, Goodie Mobb, Outkast, Chamillionaire, Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Mystikal and more.
The group?s name, Geto Boys, comes from a deliberate misspelling of the word Ghetto. For both its first album 5th Ward Chronicles: Making Trouble (1988) and its second album, Grip It! On That Other Level (1989), the spelling was Ghetto Boys, according to standard English spelling rules. For its third album, The Geto Boys, they changed it to the "Geto" spelling, which the group still uses today.