TRIBUTE: DJ Screw – October 20, 1971 – November 16, 2000
Nine years ago today (November 16), hip-hop lost one of its great architects, DJ Screw, who passed away at the age of 29 from a lethal combination of codeine cough syrup and alcohol. Born Robert Earl Davis, Jr., the Texas jock is most known for his unique way of mixing, which entailed pitching down records to a slower than normal pace. Eventually dubbed chopped & screwed, his style would later evolve from a local mixtape phenomenon to a nationally recognized hip-hop subculture.
While Screw’s name is often synonymous with syrup—due in part to popular mixtapes like Syrup & Soda, Syrup Sippers and Sippin’ Codeine—he was also a pivotal part of bringing the Houston rap scene to the forefront. In fact, popular rappers like Lil’ Flip, Trae the Truth, Lil Keke, Z-Ro and Big Pokey, among others, were all members of his Screwed Up Click.
“Knowin’ Screw, how we knew him, was a honor,” says Trae. “At times a lot of us were in our deepest discouraging hours and he gave us the push for us to believe in ourselves the way he believed in us. He was a good spirited person; you couldn’t help but to love him. On top of the fact of being our homie, Screw created a street form of keepin’ the streets locked on us, he was our form of radio in a sense, he helped niggas from the hood, who radio wouldn’t listen to or even hold a conversation with, to get our own fan base through him. In Texas and Louisiana he was king.”
“Screw changed Texas music forever,” adds fellow Texan Paul Wall. “He created a whole new style of music. Now not only Texas artists but also pop artists like Justin Timberlake (“Chop Me Up”) and Ciara (“Like A Boy”) have used the style in some of their songs. Screw paved the way for Texas hip-hop.”
In remembrance of the Texas king’s legacy and ninth anniversary of his passing, XXLMag.com compiled 9 Chopped & Screwed Videos to put you up on Screw. R.I.P. big homie.