The chopped and screwed sound, where music is slowed down to an almost trance like tempo has gained immense popularity since its creation by D.J. Screw. Many have been falsely credited with the invention, but a new biography by Lance Scott Walker: “DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution” arrives this Spring that should clear up all falsehoods. The biography, published by University of Texas Press has a release date of May 17th.
Robert Earl Davis Jr aka D.J. Screw died in November 2000, but he left behind a legacy that has been greatly emulated since his passing. Screw developed the technique in the 1990’s at his home in Houston and after slowing down instrumental songs, he invited local rappers to come in and rhyme over them.
Screw began selling thousands of cassettes of his work, which became the signature sound of Houston Hip Hop. The trance like tone of the music became associated with “lean” which is a dangerous codeine laced concoction also known as purple or “sizzurp” (syrup). The allegedly drink contributed to Screw’s early death.
Last year an animated short called “All Screwed Up” directed by Isaac “Chill” Yowman was released in giant cassette tape shaped packaging with proceeds going to the Houston legends family. The “All Screwed Up” website describes the project as a visual tribute and passion project. 2022 looks like the year that D.J. Screw will get his much deserved propers. Check out “All Screwed Up” above.