Saturday, December 25, 2010


Still Tippin' changed everything. If it wasn't on the radio the video was on MTV2. If it wasn't on MTV2 your friend was going to pull it up on video on demand and you were inevitably going to make a joke about what Paul Wall's cum face must look like while he made t-rex hands and flossed a grill so mesmerizing it had to be the product of a Vietnamese man with exceedingly small hands. Wiggers who looked like Macaulay Culkin started wearing black Swishahouse tees at school. Dudes who learned everything they needed to know about Houston hip hop from Rick Rubin trivia were talking about UGK in front of record stores the way they used to talk about XTRMNTR. For a brief second everyone gave a fuck about Houston.

The ten year anniversary of DJ Screw's death felt a bit like deja-vu. No matter how much press the man got, it seemed like his imitators were the ones really under examination (if his contributions weren't getting marginalized outright). Screw doesn't need validation from bedroom electronic acts or from the journalists that fawn over them. Motherfucker had dudes lined up around the block waiting for his shit. If I can't download something for free in like ten minutes I probably won't even fucking listen to it. Just like R.I.P histrionics couldn't elevate the innovator to anything above cult status in 2005, memoriam couldn't motivate any real examination of what made Robert Davis's music so compelling and vital. At this rate he's just going to be a foot note in the rock press for influencing "white bisexual heroin addicted art students from the midwest, Sweedish chicks in bird masks and half Jewish Canadian ex-child actors."

Chopped and Screwed music courts dissenters easily. If you don't get it you can sum it up in a sentence. Those with the taste for the stuff will always be daunted. Screw was insanely prolific, staying up days at a time to make music. His acolytes are even more numerous, and while they've elaborated on his technique by manipulating new forms or through adopting new technology, none of them are Screw. Any guide to this stuff is cursory, and if you latch on to one for too long your just going to drown or die of hypothermia trying to catch a glimpse of the bottom of the iceberg that's duder's discography. This one is great though. What's here aspires to mediocrity. Your best bet, really, is just to listen to a tape that you think sounds cool.

I started with All Screwed Up.It's one of the few records that drastically changed what I listened to, valued, and thought about music. The biggest problem with it is that it's not really representative of the Screw sound. The lo fidelity of your average grey tape gives it a sort of warmth All Screwed Up decidedly lacks as an above ground release. All that hiss and crackle is a reminder that grey tapes were tapes. They were best medium at the time for independent distribution and for banging in your ride and then pocketing when the party went elsewhere. All Screwed Up is distinct by design though, it's not just colder because it's less esoteric. This mix tape just isn't celebratory. It's not fun. It's filled with stories of drug deals gone bad, time in the pen, and of glimpses in a rear view mirror that last an eternity. It's paranoid nihilistic thug psychadelica.

Chopped and screwed music is pretty inseparable from it's associations with getting fucked up at this point. Yeah, it's great for partying, but it has a lot of other virtues. All Screwed Up is really remarkable for it's focus on story telling, and illustrates how slowing a track can really serve narrative. All of Robert Davis's manipulation forces a close attention to every-single-fucking-syllable on this record There's great stuff here, and Screw's been kind enough to make it to where you can hear it better. Try not to slur the words when you're lip synching this shit the second go through.

Also, buy it. It's worth it. The next 9 selections are on me.


Iamasyouwillbe said...

what 9 selections?

ALKOLITE said...

we're doing an expose on screw, unfortunately we care so much about it that its taking a little while to get the other 7 parts together. that and ya know, we got jobs 'n' shit.

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