It’s the Fall of 1996, and I pop my tape in the cassette player and it’s all about ‘Sippin Codeine’. Not literally y’all, I’m in middle school. I’m talking about jammin’ to DJ Screw’s 3 n’ da Mornin’ (Part Two). Robert Earl Davis Jr., better known as DJ Screw, had such a huge influence on music and Houston, Texas period. He helped to shape a culture and lock in a style that was all our own. Born in my city.
Screw music to Houston is what the Hyphy movement was to the Bay Area. Some won’t understand but in the 90s we were slowin’ music down and choppin’ it up. That was our thing and we did it well. The most famous H-town screw tape heard ’round the world was June 27th (named after Screwed Up Click member D-Moe’s birthday). To this day, we treat this like a Houston holiday where we pay homage to an innovator in the music industry.
The trend of a slowed pitch spread like wildfire through Houston and from South side to North side Screw music was the go to. We didnt just ride slab, we dripped candy paint. You popped in your grill and it was all about the swangin’. I mean, what teenager jammed Botany Boys? That was me and “Thought of Many Ways” and “Forever Botany” will be etched into my musical library of favorites for a lifetime. While Screw music was born in the South side of Houston, the North side created its own special movement with Swishahouse. Heavy hitters like Slim Thug, Chamillionare, Paul Wall, Mike Jones (who? LOL), Lil’ Ron, and Archie Lee were among the members of Swishahouse powered by DJ Michael Watts. To this day, one of my favorite mixtapes was the classic “Northside 11“. From R&B to Rap, we screwed it down for the H-town culture.
Through childhood summers I jammed so much DJ Screw, Big Moe, Pokey, Lil Keke, UGK, Zro and the list goes on and on. Growing up in Third Ward meant so much and made me feel connected to the music even more. DJ Screw passed while I was in highschool, and it impacted the Houston music scene hard. I remember wearing a RIP DJ Screw pin to school despite our uniform guidelines because it was imperative to pay homage to a great in the game. We vowed not to let his legacy fade out and his slowed style continues to be heard in many artists’ songs. Drake’s “November 18” is a special ode to June 27th and Houston’s Screw music. Houston’s own The Chopstars are still releasing dope mixes to vibe to when you want to po’ up and slo’ up. It is one thing to make great music, but it is another to blaze a trail as a musical visionary.
Today is special and will always be for me. It still takes me back to so much nostalgia. That’s what good music does. We lost some greats, but will make sure that Screw music never dies. Know what im talmbout? So turn on your favorite track, relax, and most importantly WATCH YO SCREW.