15 Years After DJ Screw’s Death, Bun B Explains His Influence On “Ridin’ Dirty”
Fifteen years ago today (November 16, 2000), DJ Screw passed away. Before his untimely death, the Houston, Texas turntablist born Robert Earl Davis, Jr. revolutionized a style of music that has influenced much of the 2010s sound. The mixmaster played his records considerably lower than the 33 1/3 RPM standard, along with adding effects and scratches. This archetype tradition has since become a recurring practice, from Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” to A$AP Rocky’s “Purple Swag.” Along the way, Screw ushered in Z-Ro and Trae Tha Truth, two highly active Texas Rap stars in 2015.
A DJ, producer, and record store owner, Screw not only pioneered the “Screwed” sound, he was a critical force in H-Town at a time when the region’s Rap pioneers were still going strong, and a new class of talent was stepping into the spotlight.
The Screwed Up Click founder is not a figure that was able to see the global impact of his style and taste. However, in Houston, the DJ was a legend. Billboard spoke to Bun B, Devin The Dude, Paul Wall, and others about Screw. The guests reflected on the Texas taste-maker (who also loved the West Coast music of C-Bo, Tha Dogg Pound, and Dr. Dre). Bun B’s reflections are especially gripping.
“[DJ] Screw was a very good friend of mine. [UGK would] go by and see him all the time. If you actually look at Ridin’ Dirty, there’s a picture of us in the back room where Screw used to mix at, a picture of me, Pimp C, and DJ Screw. And on the wall there’s a record, and that was actually the test press of ‘Tell Me Something Good.’” said Bun B. The aforementioned album insert is below. Bun said he met Screw in early 1992. “We did the whole photo shoot outside of DJ Screw’s house on the street with the Botany Boys. And Ridin’ Dirty was really a celebration of that lifestyle, everything that was happening in the city of Houston at the time.”
Notably, DJ Screw’s tapes came at a time where H-Town’s sound was growing divided. “The Northside/Southside beef, the rise of the screwed up music and sound, the candy cane car culture and popping trunks, that whole [Ridin’ Dirty] album was basically trying to open up the world to what was happening in Houston at the time,” said Bun. “We just thought it was so amazing what Screw had been able to achieve.” Bun also spoke extensively of DJ Screw’s humble nature, and easygoing way.
Here is the All Screwed Up, Vol. 2 mixtape version of UGK’s “Tell Me Something Good”:
Do you have a favorite Chopped & Screwed mix?