How DJ Screw Hatched His Own Houston Rap Scene

Mar 17, 2022

11:30am – 12:30pm CT

Recording: How DJ Screw Hatched His Own Houston Rap Scene, Mar 17, 2022

On the heels of Rap-A-Lot Records and its flagship act, Geto Boys, launching the Houston rap scene in the late 1980s, Smithville native Robert Earl Davis, Jr. (DJ Screw) was building his own movement in Houston from the homemade mixes he called Screw tapes. Those mixtapes, on which he slowed down the music and “chopped” between two copies of the same record while local artists rapped freestyle over the beats, sounded like nothing else in hip-hop when he first started releasing them in the early ’90s. To Houstonians, though, Screw tapes were the sound of their city, and the artists who appeared on them became known as The Screwed Up Click, developing into local, regional, and then international superstars with real careers. The late DJ Screw’s sister, Michelle Wheeler, Wreckshop Records CEO Derrick "D-Reck" Dixon, and Screwed Up Click rapper E.S.G. talk about the path Screw’s career took before his death in 2000, and the influence of his “chopped & screwed” sound on rap music today. This session is led by writer Lance Scott Walker, whose biography of DJ Screw is scheduled for publication in May.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Derrick Dixon

Wreckshop Records

OG Ron C


Lance Scott Walker

Ojet Studios

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