DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution

DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution

by Lance Scott Walker
DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution

DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution

by Lance Scott Walker


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DJ Screw, a.k.a. Robert Earl Davis Jr., changed rap and hip-hop forever. In the 1990s, in a spare room of his Houston home, he developed a revolutionary mixing technique known as chopped and screwed. Spinning two copies of a record, Screw would “chop” in new rhythms, bring in local rappers to freestyle over the tracks, and slow the recording down on tape. Soon Houstonians were lining up to buy his cassettes—he could sell thousands in a single day. Fans drove around town blasting his music, a sound that came to define the city’s burgeoning and innovative rap culture. June 27 has become an unofficial city holiday, inspired by a legendary mix Screw made on that date.

Lance Scott Walker has interviewed nearly everyone who knew Screw, from childhood friends to collaborators to aficionados who evangelized Screw’s tapes—millions of which made their way around the globe—as well as the New York rap moguls who honored him. Walker brings these voices together with captivating details of Screw’s craft and his world. More than the story of one man, DJ Screw is a history of the Houston scene as it came of age, full of vibrant moments and characters. But none can top Screw himself, a pioneer whose mystique has only grown in the two decades since his death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477325131
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 05/17/2022
Series: American Music Series
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 312,606
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Lance Scott Walker is originally from Texas and is now based in New York. He is the author of Houston Rap Tapes and collaborated on the companion photo book Houston Rap. He has written for the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Red Bull Music Academy, Vice, Wondering Sound, Fader, and The Wire.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Screw York City 1

2 Robert Earl 7

Houston, Texas 9

"Bunnytown" 13

Harris Street 16

Radio 17

The Glove 19

The Hands 21

Z force Crew 24

The Next Episode 26

3 Smithville to Houston 27

Southside 28

Night People 30

MacGregor Park 33

Houston Rap Attack 36

The Meadows 39

Ghetto Boys! Geto Boys! 41

4 10201 44

3-4 Action 46

White Insides 50

Almeda 52

IMG/Nation 54

Blast 56

Gulfgate 59

Screw Tapes 61

Telephone Love 65

Rebel Rap Family 66

Kings 67

5 Broadway 70

Triple Threat 72

Smoke One / Smoke Two 74

Southside Connection 78

Michael Price 85

6 The Wood Room 88

Swangin' and Bangin' 91

Herschelwood 95

Welcome to the Ghetto 98

The Drank Man 100

Screw the World 104

So Real 106

All Screwed Up 108

3 'N the Mornin' 110

June 27th 113

Ridin' Dirty 120

7 Screwed Up Click 123

The Gate 131

Floss Mode 133

Don't Mess with Texas 136

Outlaws 137

Ghetto Dreams 143

8 South Park 149

The Southside Reunion 151

Screwed Up Records & Tapes 155

In God We Trust 156

So Many Ways 159

Screw Dub 161

Dead End Representative 165

9 New Territory 170

It's Gonna Get Better 172

All Work, No Play 173

Uncle Earl 175

99 Live 178

Strawberries 180

The Day Hell Broke Loose 181

The Ring 184

Platinum 188

City of Syrup 189

Four Corners of the World 190

Pitch Control 192

Commerce Park 197

2000 Tears 201

10 The Legend 206

Codeine 210

Southside Still Holding 213

Ida Mae 220

Boys in a Daze 222

The Five-Star General 227

Screw's House 229

University of Houston 231

Screwed Up Headquarters 233

The Slab 235

Bow Down 236

Poppa Screw 242

DJ Screw Day 243

Floyd 244

Screw Luv 246

Acknowledgments 253

Oral History Guide 256

Bibliography 264

Index 270

What People are Saying About This

Shea Serrano

DJ Screw is top-level important in rap, a name to be mentioned alongside the mammoth DJs that are household names. What Lance Scott Walker has done here is put together a tribute befitting Screw's oversized-but-underappreciated historical stature.

Hanif Abdurraqib

It is true that the legacy of DJ Screw can be heard echoing far beyond the regions of his most direct impact, but this is also a book richly steeped in Houston culture, Houston rap, and Houston's impact during an era. It is expansive, impressive, and it keeps a legend here with us, long after he's gone.

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