Wholesale Orders Available Now!

Published on February th, 2014

With Screwed Up Records and Tapes wholesale distribution, you can offer “official” DJ Screw chapters in your store. Becoming a Screwed Up Records and Tapes wholesale customer is simple and allows you to sell DJ Screw’s extensive catalogue to your customers. For more info contact Screwed Up Records and Tapes at 713-434-2888 or by email at Screweduphq@gmail.com

Screw Bash 2k13 Official Recap

Published on September th, 2013

DJ-ScrewVideostill2Screw Bash 2k13 Official Recap Video (Filmed Edited by Cool Daddy) Come thru Screwed Up Records and Tapes 3538 W. Fuqua or hit us on the web @ Screweduprecords.com

NEW S.U.C. HOODIES AND BEANIES AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!

Published on December th, 2012

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NEW S.U.C. HOODIES AND BEANIES AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!

(((Official))) Screwed Up T-SHIRTS available now online!!

Published on December nd, 2012

Official Screwed Up Records T-SHIRTS available online now!!

We moved. New store location in Hiram Clarke.

Published on April th, 2012

Screwed Up Records & Tapes has moved. Check us out at our new location in Hiram Clarke.

3538 West Fuqua
Houston, TX 77045 [map]
ph: 713-434-2888

DJ Screw featured in Houston Hip Hop Collection at UH Library

Published on April th, 2012

Check out DJ Screw photos and memorabilia at the exhibit, “DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop”. The exhibit will run from March 19 – September 21, 2012 in the M.D. Anderson Library at the University of Houston. This is part of the new Houston Hip Hop Collection at UH Library.

This exhibition tells the story of DJ Screw and the S.U.C.. But it also explores the larger context of a music scene that has been independent, entrepreneurial, and rough-edged from its beginnings in the 1980s. From pioneers such as Geto Boys, K-Rino, and Street Military to more recent breakthrough artists such as Paul Wall, Z-Ro, and Chingo Bling, Houston hip hop has carved out its own distinctive path.

Although the exhibition will only be on display for six months, the materials on display are being preserved for future generations as part of the Houston Hip Hop collections at the University of Houston Libraries. These collections include the DJ Screw Papers, the DJ Screw Sound Recordings, the HAWK Papers, and the Pen and Pixel Graphics, Inc. Collection. In the future, once they have been cleaned, boxed, and cataloged, these rare materials will be available to scholars, students, and the general public by request in the Special Collections reading room.

If you are interested in donating material to the collection, please contact Julie Grob at jgrob@uh.edu. Donations will not automatically be accepted, but will be evaluated for historical significance, condition, and storage requirements. More info: http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections/library-exhibits/djscrew-and-houston-hip-hop

The Fellas. Various members of the Young Screwed Up Click and friends are seen posing for a picture outside of an apartment complex on Houston's South Side.

These pictures and more can be found in the DJ Screw Photographs and Memorabilia collection at the UH Digital Library, as well as the “DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop” exhibit happening March 19 – September 21, 2012 at MD. Anderson Library. M.D Anderson Library was also one of many presenters at the Awready! Houston Hip Hop Conference on March 27th and 28th.

Interview with DJ Screw 1999

Published on July th, 2011

DJ Screw  (8/8/99)
By Daika Bray

Daika Bray: When did Fat Pat, Hawk, C-Note and the rest of the Screwed Up Click start rappin at your house? After you already had started doin Screw tapes?

Screw: After I started doin Screw tapes. I was already doin ‘em, they was just listenin to me. They’d hear me, I’d give shout outs to different people in the neighborhoods, cause I had kicked it with everybody from every neighborhood. I’d make personal tapes. I might make a tape for a couple of my partners. Sometimes I’d just be makin a tape, come to the house, kick it. Some of my partners that are locked up right now, they’d come to the house and kick it, watch me make a tape. Might get on the mic, give shout outs. We’d ride around, listen to that in the car. It’s like you’re listenin to the radio, hear your own voice, ridin in the car, start rappin. We got some feedback on it, people were likin it. Everybody was takin it serious.

DB: I want you to clear up some of the rumors about Fat Pat. I’ve heard that he was in the dope game, he was doing terrible things to people, and what happened to him was just comin back onto him from stuff he’d done in the past.

Screw: Ain’t none of that’s true. Fat Pat, we went to school together. Sterling High School. In the dope game, tryin to feed our families. But it ain’t like what people think, out there robbin, jackin. We weren’t with that. Just hustlin, tryin to make ends meet, feed our families. Studio time. Get our cards together. To help out each other and the Clique. What happened to Fat Pat was just getting caught up with a shysty promoter. We were doin a show down in Austin, Texas. Come to find out the dude who we done the show with named Weasel video taped and audio taped the show without tellin us. I found out about it, asked him about, he tried to deny it. A while later he wanted us to come back and do another show. We were like, fuck that, we ain’t gonna go back there. First, he disrespected by tapin the show and sellin it, sellin it on the street and everything. Tryin to deny it. That was when Pat’s album was comin out and he wanted to promote it, he wanted to go back down there. I’m like don’t mess with that cat, we got plenty more shows we can do. But he wanted to promote himself, he went down there. And the dude, they were kicking it, he was a flashy dude, liked to flash what he got. Some kinda way he got robbed or something, he thought Fat Pat had something to do with it. He called Pat over to give him some money for comin back and doin the show. Basically, because he thought Fat Pat had something to do with him getting robbed, he shot Pat. He killed him. He gonna get what’s comin to him. Pat, that’s a real cool dude.

DB: You seem to be real particular about who you hang with. Why is that?

Screw: Cause really, a lotta my friends, most of ‘em dead or most of ‘em in jail. I deal with all typa people. People be high, do drugs…everybody do drugs, get high, but some of these cats try to be something they’re not. Some people hang around just to see what you got. Some people be around cause they got love for you. It’s cool to have friends, but too many friends, some of ‘em ain’t your friends. Kinda hard to pick your friends, you gotta see a person’s heart. When I look at a person I study them hard. I kick it with anybody, I ain’t scared of nobody. Just like they put their pants on, shoes on, same way I do. Ain’t no different. I’m really just a people person. I like hearin the conversation, see how they carry themselves. Be you, be yourself. You don’t get with one person, act this way, then you get with another group, act that way. That ain’t cool. Just be yourself, that’s my whole thing. It goes deep, it goes real deep for real.
DB: All this success and all this fame, it hasn’t changed the way you do things? Just made you more focused do you think?

Screw: It made me more focused I think. I’m just bein me. Lotta people look at me like I’m a star or something. I don’t see that. I’m just a regular person, it’s just a lotta people know my name. I don’t consider myself no superstar or nothing. I’m just a regular DJ, man. I like to kick it, play music people can ride to. Something to inspire ‘em, make ‘em get up every day, wanna go do something. I’m just tryin to give people something positive to listen to while they do what they doin. Workin at a job or in the streets, whatever, I’m tryin to give ‘em something, something good in their head. Let ‘em know it ain’t always bad.

DB: Speakin of it being always bad, you know how everybody’s talkin about how in 2000 there’s going to be a major catastrophe, all the computers are gonna crash and all that. What kind of changes do you think will happen?

Screw: I think it’s gonna go on as it has been. They say the world gonna come to an end. I think the world gonna come to an end for the people that’s been doin bad stuff. Their world gonna come to an end. That’s how I look at it. The world ain’t gonna stop. All the people that done messed over our generation, they world gonna come to an end, for all the bad stuff they done to us. And the success and all that, the talent I got, I ain’t never gonna let that go to my head. It’s like the Man gave me the talent, I’m just tryin to stick with it. We’re all here on this earth for a purpose. I’m tryin to reach people through my music. Keep the faith. Believe in yourself. Keep it real with the ones that’s real with you, take care of your family…..you be alright.

DB: What was the first record that you Screwed? Do you remember?

Screw: Damn, I forgot……it’s been so many. Started DJing when I was 13, now I’m 28. I can’t remember what the first record was, but I got it though. I got so many records, I keep up with all my records. I got all my kinfolks, Shorty Mac, back in the day when I was first DJing. Like records I didn’t like, I thought was bullshit, I’d take a Screw off of it. Anything, I’d scratch the record up. They’d come to me, Man nigga who you think you is? DJ Screw or something? That kinda stuck to me. Most people think I got the name Screw cause I screw a lot, but that’s how I got the name Screw, DJ Screw.

DB: You heard about Def Jam South setting up in Houston, making Scarface president. How do you think that will change the industry in Houston?
Screw: It’s cool. It’s a good idea and all. I think it’ll help a lotta people, cause we got a lotta talent down here. It ain’t just really got no big record companies down here. Everybody I know, we doin this independent. Like me, I’m independent. I ain’t never signed with no label. I done work for Jam Down, done work for Big Tyme, I’ve done work with a lotta labels, but I ain’t never signed no contract with no label. Def Jam in the South, that’ll be cool, cause that’ll bring some of the East, the West, another eye on us. If y’all ain’t knowin by now, we the shit, we been the shit, we just ain’t got that recognition. Like East Coast, they got a lotta studios, radio stations, TV stations, but we down here, all we got one Rap station. Really two–we got 97.9 The Box and we got the radio station SCREW. It’s cool, we all come together, put something together, blow it up like it’s supposed to. That’s what I’m tryin to do. I try to help everybody. Shit you don’t hear on the radio, what you hear on my tapes might never hit the radio. People that ain’t never put out an album but got talent. I make beats, take them instrumentals, we’ll take that and make it like our song. Def Jam South is cool, but we got Rap-A-Lot, Suave House, Wreckshop, Screwed Up Entertainment, Jam Down, Big Shot, Big Tyme, Short Stop. We got a lotta record companies down here.

DB: Define some terms for our readers. I already know, because I’m from Houston and I live on the Southside, but define some of the slang that we use down here like “bopper”, “body rock” “throwed in the game”.
Screw: “Throwed in the game” is like back when everybody used to say “that shit’s dope, that shit’s def.” “Throwed in the game” is like damn that’s some throwed shit, that’s some good shit. The slang is like that. Then “bopper”, that’s like with bitches, some females are like “hey bop what you got.” You got a clean car, you got a name, you got money. Like jockin, it’s boppin, it’s just another term. “Body rock”, that’s the Southside thing that we do. It really ain’t no dance, it’s like a body movement we do. We really don’t dance down here, we bob our heads. We body rock.

DB: We talked about Fat Pat. Tell me about Big Steve and what happened with him.
Screw: Big Steve–up and comin ghetto superstar, just got caught up. Wrong place the wrong time. Some people were doin bad shit on the streets. Steve just happened to be in the same place when the shit was gonna go down. He got caught up in it. It’s like Steve got it just by bein with the dude. The dude was just messin people over in the streets. Business, wasn’t takin care of business the way it’s supposed to been done. Hustlin. You know how you hustle–you owe people money, steal from them, do all typa stuff like that. Niggaz ain’t gonna put up with that, just can’t keep takin ‘em. Sooner or later it’s gonna go down. Niggaz comin back, get revenge on this cat. You with him–everybody gotta go. How you gonna just shoot this dude and not shoot this dude. That’s a witness, and you sure don’t wanna be in trouble, so you’ve gotta kill two birds…that’s how that happened. It’s fucked up. I miss my potna. He had a bright future in the Rap game. I’m gonna miss him. But he’s always gonna be here. We’re gonna keep him alive. I love you, man, I miss you. You’re always gonna be around, sho’ nuff. “Rap it, scratch it.” That’s Big Steve talkin to us.

DB: What are future plans for the Screwed Up Click?
Screw: Everybody in Screwed Up Click, we all got dreams of what we wanna be and what we wanna do, what we wanna accomplish in life. Business, home, record shops, lawyers, businessmen, whatever. Everybody got their ghetto dreams. My plan is do the best I can do. Everybody wanna help theyself. If they got their heart into it they really gonna do something. I know I got my heart into it. I live and die for this shit, every day. I’ll do the best I can, try to keep my name up high. For my family, the ones that’s with us, upcoming generations. The young BG’s, they see us rappin, they really like that. I’m tryna pave the way so they can shine too. Cause the sun will shine on everybody. Everybody will get their time to shine. It don’t happen overnight though. Gotta be dedicated. Gotta be real about it, can’t just do it cause everybody else doin it. You really wanna do it, you just gotta put your heart into it. Be true to you, be true to the ones around you, your loved ones. Cause I ain’t gonna fuck with nobody who don’t love me. Get real with me I’m getting real with you. For real. I appreciate you doin this interview with me. Y’all be on the lookout for Screwed Up Entertainment. I got my own lil’ record shop, Screwed Up Records and Tapes. Screwed up Texas, that’s what’s we call this. Down South, Third Coast. It’s in your face, for real. Showin up, pourin up, growin up.

DB: I wonder what your next step will be?
Screw: Like I said in 1990, I’m gonna screw the world up. It’s screwed up, but it ain’t finished. I’m gonna keep on squaggin, go to Japan, Tokyo. A lotta people don’t know this underground, it’s really worldwide. I have people from all over the world comin, getting these tapes. Somebody come down from Dallas, get a tape, take it back. They got a cousin from Tennessee, dub that tape, take it there, they got a cousin…..it just go on and on and on. Stay up stay real, and we’ll be screwed for life.
Is there anything else that nobody has ever asked you in an interview before, that you’d want to say?
Yeah. Don’t believe all these rumors. Cause I play my music slow, people think you gotta get high, get fucked up, do drugs, just to listen to my music. It ain’t like that at all. Or that I just do drugs all day, that’s why my music’s slow. It ain’t all about that. I stopped smokin weed a while back. Back in the game I was young, so I was smokin weed, but you get burnt out on that. You don’t gotta get high to listen to my music. It ain’t no worship the devil music. So people think you worshippin the devil when the music drags. It ain’t about that. I’m just bringin it to you in a different style where you can hear everything and feel everything. Give you something to ride to. I’d like to thank all the people that support me. Without the people supportin me I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.

DB: Do you think you’ll ever put out a record of you rapping yourself?

Screw: Yeah. It’s in the makin. I rapped on DMD’s album, rapped on C-Note’s album. On Keke’s album, I did something on. PSK-13, Point Blank, my brother (Al D)….I’m gonna drop my album, Screwed Up Click album. I’ma shock ‘em. I got a lot to say, I been through a lot. I’m gonna put something out there as well as I do with the turntables. Y’all look forward to it. It ain’t gonna stop till the casket drop.

Free Shipping on All Online Orders for a Limited Time

Published on June th, 2011

 

Order your DJ Screw CDs from the source, online here at THE OFFICIAL (((SCREWED UP RECORDS & TAPES))), and you don’t have to pay shipping (for a limited time). All you pay is $14.99/ double CD. NO SHIPPING. Go to our online store and SHOP!

Houston Press: Still Standing

Published on June th, 2011

A decade later, thangs ain’t changed at Screwed Up Records & Tapes.

By Rizoh Wednesday, Dec 29 2010

On any given day, music fans stroll in and out of a dilapidated shack on Houston‘s Southeast side and buy CDs with such titles as Thangs Done Changed and Still Standing. A decade after the death of its founder, and years of weathering an avalanche of music-industry changes, Screwed Up Records & Tapes is still standing.

Inside and out...

Photos by Rizoh

The store has a woozy, laid-back atmosphere. Chopped and screwed versions of songs by Notorious B.I.G., Too $hort and others ooze from the surround-sound system. The display cases teem with what looks like an eternity of Screw CDs and mixtapes.

Rap posters, S.U.C. shirts and beanies and a ton of other hip-hop paraphernalia adorn the walls. In the back is a recording studio where local artists go to cut new songs and tap into the innovative spirit of the man who once walked the store.

Underneath the haze of Houston’s hip-hop scene, there was always the beating heart of Robert Earl Davis Jr., popularly known as DJ Screw. It’s as if Screw woke up one morning, stuck his finger into the hot, humid Houston air and sensed the city’s desire to cool things down. So he went about exploring ways to slow rap music to a crawl.

In the early ’90s, this unique sound found its way onto the streets of Houston. It was so original it took on the name of its creator. Screw relied on a slow, laconic sound, a departure from the 808 blasts and drum-driven style dominating the West and East coasts at the time.

If Screw’s style had a ­progenitor, it was the blues. It wasn’t the type of ­music you expected to hear at a club.

But Screw wasn’t just about slowing down rap songs. That’s part of it, but it was also an original art form that relied on an innovative technique. It’s grown into a lifestyle, a culture and a hip-hop movement in its purest form.

DJ Screw’s co-conspirators were equally sluggish in their approach to rapping. For the most part, their lyrics didn’t protest anything or threaten anyone, just celebrated their slow-motion lifestyle.

Whereas East Coast MCs were perpetually menacing and hasty, Southern rappers were calculated and relaxed, albeit with the occasional hint of ominous tales. Regardless of the topic, there was always a sense of calm.

Thus the sound of Screwston was born. Not since New York nicknamed itself the “birthplace of hip-hop” in the boom-bap days has one city been so synonymous with a specific sound. Screw’s dominance continued to grow even years after his death, as his mixtapes and albums traveled across the Mason-Dixon line.

Then, in the mid-2000s, the tide of history turned in favor of Houston hip-hop’s short-lived hegemony as spearheaded by Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire and Slim Thug. Veterans like Scarface, Lil’ Flip and Bun B christened their arrival, but one shout-out kept popping up on everyone’s records: “R.I.P. Screw.”

Today, that familiar name has single-handedly turned Screwed Up Records & Tapes into a monument of sorts. In terms of regional significance, it’s to Houston hip-hop heads what Bob Marley‘s Tuff Gong Studio is to reggae fans and Fela Kuti‘s Kalakuta Shrine is to Afrobeat followers.

On a global level, its prominence isn’t necessarily on that level. You won’t find Jay-Z dropping by to record an album there, for example. But you’ll see throngs of hip-hop heads popping in for a piece of history.

Lil D, the radiant manager who helps oversee Screwed Up Records & Tapes’ operations, estimates that the shop moves about 40 CDs on a good day, and around 80 on a very good day. But he’s quick to add that sales have declined significantly as tape seekers migrate online. The store is readying a new Web site to palliate the damages done by those pesky pirates, and also help catalog some of the mixes available at the store.

DJ Screw was such a prolific producer that indexing his tapes is a grueling task. Like the man behind the legacy, the staff is in no rush to move, transferring about three or four new tapes to CD every month.

While nearly 300 mixtapes are accounted for as of this writing, Lil D says another 150 or more have yet to be transferred — not including albums and one-off projects. Oh, and no one knows the exact location of all Screw’s tapes.

So, how exactly has the store managed to stay afloat in the age of eBay and torrent sites? Lil D credits the loyalty of Screw fans: “People support us because they know that this is what feeds his family,” he says.

Still, not too many businesses can survive on the strength of charity support. There’s something else going on here.

“Screw’s originality is the key,” says Lil D. “There’s a lot of people that come out and copy. But you can’t duplicate this. A lot of people know it’s the real deal, and they can tell the difference between Screw’s mix and other people’s mix.”

Originality aside, Screwed Up Records & Tapes also finds strength in the support of Screw’s disciples. If you call the store’s answering machine, you’re likely to hear the profound basso of Z-Ro calling out the store’s business hours.

“You done reached Screwed Up Records & Tapes,” recites the Houston rapper. “Our business hours are Monday to Friday…”

Priceless.

Z-Ro, Lil’ Flip, Trae and the countless extended members of the S.U.C. family remain staunch supporters of the landmark shop, not because it’s considered an honor to be affiliated with the S.U.C. They remain supportive because family was Screw’s mantra.

The Guardian, London Remember Screw’s Legacy

Published on November th, 2010

GUARDIAN MAGAZINE (LONDON, UK)
November 2010
“DJ Screw: from cough syrup to full-blown fever”
Jesse Serwer

dj-screw-photo_by_orian_lumpkin

Sometime around 1990, a young hip-hop DJ named Robert Earl Davis, Jr decided music was just too fast for his liking. Using the pitch controls on his turntables, he began slowing records to preternaturally slow speeds, augmenting his mixes with smooth cuts and slurred commentary that sounded as if delivered from beyond the grave. Davis, better known as DJ Screw, wasn’t the first DJ or producer to purposely pitch down music for effect, but he preserved the glacial pace throughout his 100-minute mixtapes, developing a uniquely psychedelic, ethereal sound that would come to be known as chopped and screwed, or, simply, Screw music.

Screw’s emergence in his native Houston, Texas coincided with a surge there in the popularity of drank (otherwise known as “lean,” “syrup” or “barre”), a mixture of prescription-strength cough syrup and soda that can create a feeling of sedated euphoria when taken in large quantities. He and the Screwed Up Click (SUC), the loose-knit collective of Houston rappers who freestyled on his mixtapes, referenced the purple-hued concoction so often that their music and their drug of choice become as closely associated with one another as acid rock and LSD. When Screw, just 29 at the time, died on November 16, 2000, from what medical examiners said was an overdose of codeine – drank’s active ingredient – that connection was forged for good.

“The first thing [people] think of when they hear Screw’s name, or Screw music in general, is the syrup sippin’,” says Cedric “ESG” Hill, a Houston rapper affiliated with the Screwed Up Click. “That’s just the culture down here and a way of life. It’s not that everyone who listened to Screw sipped syrup.”

Davis was confined to regional success in his lifetime, but today his influence has spread more widely. It can be heard in the R&B/hip-hop hybrids of T-Pain (see 2008’s cheeky homage Chopped and Screwed) and Drake (whose Nov 18 is an update of Screw’s June 27 [Freestyle]) and in the arty, haunted sounds of so-called “witch house” acts such as the ascendant Michigan trio Salem. Sweden’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, of the Knife fame, cited chopped-and-screwed mixes as an inspiration for her recent solo project, Fever Ray. Like a G6, a No 1 song in the US by LA pop rappers Far East Movement, contains a reference to “sippin’ sizzurp”.

Despite the growing interest in his music, Davis himself remains something of an enigma. He gave few interviews, and many biographical details – the source of his nickname, for instance – remain sketchy and subject to conflicting accounts. His life began in the appropriately sleepy rural town of Smithville, Texas (or, according to some reports, neighboring Bastrop), two hours west of Houston. After a brief spell living in California, he moved to Houston’s hardscrabble south side to live with his father. There, he encountered Daryl Scott, a local DJ and record store owner who would play uptempo dance records at reduced speed to blend them more seamlessly with hip-hop and R&B’s slower tempos.

“I would take [Laid Back’s] White Horse and [Mantronix’s] Fresh Is the Word – 12in singles that were on 45rpm – and play those at 33rpm, and mix them in with regular songs at regular speed, and it blew a lot of people’s minds,” Scott says. Among those with blown minds were Davis and another young DJ named Michael Price, and the pair soon developed their own music-slowing methods. But Price was stabbed to death shortly thereafter, leaving Screw to explore the sound’s possbilities on his own.

“He had a multitracker, which allowed you to really slow that pitch down,” Scott says. “I thought it was a little bit too much. The first time I popped a tape of his in the deck, I tried to push stop because I thought it was being chewed up.”

Although it is often presumed that Screw music’s slow pace is meant to simulate the drowsing effects of drank, Davis said in a 1995 interview with Rap Pages magazine that it was marijuana, and a desire to hear lyrics more clearly, that inspired his process. “When you smoking weed listening to music, you can’t bob your head to nothing fast,” he explained.

The earliest Screw tapes were made specifically for friends, who would commission him to make mixes for special occasions such as birthdays or funerals. Typically, he remixed new hip-hop tracks – he loved west coast gangster rap such as Too Short and Spice 1 – but he’d also throw in the odd throwback, such as Mama Used to Say, the early 80s hit by UK funk singer Junior, or Love TKO by Teddy Prendergrass. Eventually Screw’s “grey tapes” – they were distributed on grey Maxell cassettes, not CDs – grew to include freestyles by local rappers and, sometimes, whoever happened to be at his studio when he was making a mix. As his legend grew, first in Houston and then neighboring areas of Texas and the Gulf Coast, customers began travelling to his house to purchase their own copies of his tapes, which he sold for $10 apiece.

“We would just ride up to the man’s house, and when the gate would come open, that would mean he’s open for business,” says Screwed Up Click rapper Joseph “Z-Ro” McVey. “You could come get a Screw tape.” (Davis later opened a shop, Screwed Up Records & Tapes, to handle demand; it’s still in business, along with six satellite stores).

Record labels soon came calling. Houston’s Big Tyme rereleased a pair of grey tapes on CD as 3’N tha Mornin’ Pt 1 and Pt 2 in 1995, bringing Screw music into stores across the US for the first time. But working within the traditional music industry never particularly interested Screw. He deflected the attention to SUC rappers such as Lil’ Keke, Big Pokey, Big Moe and the late Fat Pat (Houston’s answer to the Notorious BIG was killed just as his first album, Ghetto Dreams, was due to be released), helping them secure record deals of their own.

Screw appeared on the verge of a major breakthrough at the time of his death in 2000. Three 6 Mafia had just scored a hit with Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp, an homage to Houston’s drug and music culture featuring Screw associates UGK. Online file-sharing services such as Napster were bringing Screw tapes to markets they had never before reached.

Davis’s friends insist it was his restless, workaholic lifestyle – he made as many as 1,000 mixtapes, according to some estimates – and poor health habits that contributed to his heart attack, just as much as drank.

“We lived a hard lifestyle,” says SUC rapper Ore “Lil’ O” Magnus-Lawson. “We were staying up all night, sometimes going three days with no sleep, chain-smoking tobacco and weed. It was a lifestyle that anyone who wasn’t on drank might fall victim to a heart attack because of.”

Screw was not the only member of his coterie to die under similar circumstances. Big Moe, SUC’s answer to Cee Lo with his hybrid of singing and rapping, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 33 in 2007. UGK’s Pimp C, also 33, died in his sleep after consuming large amounts of codeine.

Meanwhile, copycats and acolytes had begun making their own chopped-and-screwed mixtapes. The most notable of these were Michael “5000” Watts and Ronald “OG Ron C” Coleman, DJs from Houston’s north side who decided to make their own slow mixes after hearing SUC rappers diss their part of town on Screw tapes. Their record label Swisha House was the first to release chopped-and-screwed versions of entire albums, and the launching pad for Paul Wall, Slim Thug and Mike Jones, artists who rose to prominence in the mid-noughties with records that layered screwed-up samples over standard-speed beats. “Screw helped everybody in Houston with their career, regardless of if it was hands-on or not,” says Houston rapper Frazier “Trae” Thompson “He was our form of radio. He was responsible for the whole sound our city became known for.”

Drake is an unlikely champion for that sound. The cleancut Canada native’s lyrical themes, mostly about romance and heartbreak, don’t overlap much with the nihilistic car and drug raps found on Screw tape freestyles. But rap’s newest superstar, whose performances in Houston have included tributes to Screw and cameos from SUC’s Z-Ro and Lil Keke, points out that it’s the dream-like feel of Screw’s mixtapes that speaks to him and others from outside their milieu.

“Sometimes I feel guilty for how much I love Screw and the SUC,” Drake says via email. “I feel like Houston must look at me as someone who is just latching on to a movement. But I just can’t express how that shit makes me feel. That brand of music is just everything to me. It’s hip-hop, it’s sexy, it’s relaxing. I live for those emotions.”

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Guardian Magazine article on DJ Screw, “DJ Screw: from cough syrup to full-blown fever” November 2010