[PLAYLIST] Dallas versus Houston hip-hop.
The importance of DJ Screw from Houston and his unofficial vacation in Dallas, “Screw Done Already Warned Me” at the Texas Theater and a playlist featuring iconic hip-hop artists from both big cities.
There are a few important dates in hip-hop that have been immortalized through monumental musical moments, and Texas hip-hop definitely has its own.
June 27 is a date etched in the minds of fans of the Houston hip-hop legend and creator of the chop and screw technique DJ Screw and his bandmates, the Screwed Up Click. While some informally declare it as “DJ Screw Day”, its meaning stems from a celebration of DeMo’s birthday. DeMo was a friend of DJ Screw who wasn’t trying to be a rap star like the countless others who frequented Screw’s home studio, The Wood Room. The goal was to play with some friends and make a tape for himself in 1996. Featuring the instrumental of “Da Streets Ain’t Right” by Kris Kross, Screw, DeMo, Big Moe, Big Pokey, Yungstar, Key C, Bird and Haircut Joe recorded a 36-minute freestyle session that cemented that night as legendary.
Other hip-hop artists have their own milestone dates in history, but Texas talent is really where it’s at.
During his beef with LL Cool J, Canibus remarked on “Second Round KO” that the “In Da House” star was not the GOAT he proclaimed to be “because the greatest of all time died on March 9”. Since then, the day Christopher Wallace died has been celebrated as an unofficial holiday to play the music of The Notorious BIG and wonder how much better it would have been had he been able to release a third album.
Biggie’s Brooklyn brother Jay-Z made his own birthday an unofficial hip-hop party. The first full song from his latest album, The black album, was “December 4”. Since 2003, the day has been remembered as the birth of a goat. Sadly, in 2007, Jay-Z had to start sharing the day, to commemorate the loss of his “Big Pimpin” collaborator and one of Texas’ most vocal figures, Chad L Butler – AKA Pimp C. Ironically, as Pimp’s verse to “Big Pimpin’, you can’t praise Jay Z without honoring Sweet James Jones. The Port Arthur native was an unabashed Texan in life and death, ensuring his presence and spirit were known and felt.
While DJ Screw has released hundreds of tapes in his short career, ‘June 27th’ is still his most popular release – 22 years after his death. On June 27, DJ Screw fans will have the opportunity to celebrate at the Texas Theater.
June 27 is a special day not just for Houston, but for the entire state of Texas. Yet it is a puzzling fact that the author of DJ Screw’s biography “A Life in Slow Revolution”, Lance Scott Walker, is ending his book tour at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff on this hallowed day.
After his discussion with Magazine D Taylor Crumpton, FrontRow editor at Deep Vellum Books in May, Walker solved the puzzle by pointing to Francisco Santillan, owner of Dallas-based multimedia company DENUHMUG. Santillan’s DJ Screw fandom will culminate in a “Screw Done Already Warned Me” celebration. The evening will include a live podcast recording of ‘The Donnie Houston Podcast’ with the birthday boy himself, DeMo and fellow SUC member Bird, a jam session with DJ Glockedup 225, a Q&A -answers with Walker SUC’S Stick 1 and the documentary premiere, DJ Screw: The Untold Story.
In preparation for a night of appreciating the history of hip-hop from Houston to Dallas, a playlist has been created to showcase the timeline of coinciding movements in the two cities. When Screwed Up Click and Swishahouse ran Houston’s South and North Sides, respectfully, George Lopez steered DSR to national attention. When we were at the tail end of Houston’s mainstream boom, D-Town started booming on YouTube and creating a movement.
Currently, it’s free for all with this era of Texas artists creating new music and movement, but still giving blossom to the living legends of yesteryear and keeping the spirit of the past alive.
Cover photo courtesy of Discogs