It's been 15 years since the death of Houston legend and chopped and screwed innovator DJ Screw , who died in his recording studio on Nov. But in that decade and a half, Screw's legacy has grown significantly as Houston's MCs and hip-hop culture have seeped into the mainstream rap world and beyond. Even more broadly, Justin Timberlake and Justin Bieber have both experimented with the chopped and screwed sound in the past few years. But DJ Screw was more than just a musical pioneer to many Houston rappers; he was also a friend, a pillar in the music scene and one of the most important figures in terms of promoting local hip-hop and putting on up-and-coming rappers that Houston has ever had. His own Screwed Up Click featuring rappers like E. To this day, producer OG Ron C carries on Screw's legacy with his own Chopped Not Slopped mixtape series -- as well as a pair of screw-focused radio shows -- taking the style beyond hip-hop by chopping up albums from all genres.
Robert Earl Davis Jr. July 20, — November 16, , better known by his stage name DJ Screw , was an American hip hop DJ based in Houston, Texas , and best known as the creator of the now-famous chopped and screwed DJ technique. Davis released over mixtapes and was recognized as an innovator mostly on a regional level until his death of codeine overdose in Robert Earl Davis, Jr. His father, Robert Earl Davis Sr. His mother Ida May Deary who had a young daughter from a previous marriage , came to the area to be with her mother when her son was born in
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 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, , from what medical examiners said was an overdose of codeine — drank's active ingredient — that connection was forged for good. 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. Sweden's Karin Dreijer Andersson, of the Knife fame, cited chopped-and-screwed mixes as an inspiration for her recent solo project, Fever Ray. 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.