The Translator: Screw

Published in the September issue of Exclaim! and at exclaim.ca

WHAT IS IT?
Also know as chopped and screwed, slowed not throwed and chopped not slopped, screw was fathered in late ’80s, early ’90s Houston, TX by now-deceased DJ Screw. It’s a subgenre of hip-hop remixing largely defined by a slowed tempo.

WHY IS IT CALLED THAT?
Delaying BPM and altering records through scratches and beat-skipping, gave Screw’s pioneering experiments a “chopped” up sound.

WHO’S DOING IT?
Once just a Houston thing, it filtered out via rappers like Three 6 Mafia, David Banner and Paul Wall. OG Ron C remixes popular releases, like DJ Khaled’s anthem “I’m On One” and Frank Ocean’s Nostalgia, Ultra.

WHERE SHOULD I START?
One of DJ Screw’s 250 Screw-Tapes (‘1994 to 2000), if you can find them. Swishahouse’s screw of 8Ball & MJG classic, Space Age 4 Eva (2000). Chamillionaire’s The Sound Of Revenge, screwed and chopped by OG RON C (2006).

WHAT’S NEXT?
Emerging artists – from Vancouver’s Babe Rainbow (pictured) to the Weeknd to Harlem rapper ASAP Rocky – all use chopped and screwed techniques.

Listen to the Exclaim! Screw playlist at rdio.