Chopped and screwed

Chopped and screwed
Chopped and screwed
Stylistic origins Southern hip hop, Half speed/33rpm, Codeine effect[1]
Cultural origins Early 1990s, Houston, Texas, United States
Typical instruments Turntables, Mixer, PC
Mainstream popularity Staple of Houston and southern hip hop as a whole. Been on a constant rise since its origins in the early 1990s the more the music spreads.
Regional scenes
Houston - San Antonio - Dallas - Longview
Other topics
Purple drank - Psychedelic music - Codeine

Chopped and screwed (sometimes called screwed and chopped or slowed and throwed) refers to a technique of remixing hip hop music which developed in the Houston hip hop scene in the 1990s. This is accomplished by slowing the tempo down to between 60 - 70 quarter-note beats per minute and applying techniques such as skipping beats, record scratching, stop-time, and affecting portions of the music to make a "chopped-up" version of the original.



Preceding the early 1990s, most Southern hip hop was upbeat and fast, like Miami bass and crunk. In Houston, a different approach of slowing music down, rather than speeding it up, developed. It is unknown when DJ Screw definitively created "chopped and screwed" music: although people around Screw have indicated any time between 1984 to 1991, Screw said he started slowing music down in 1990.[2] There is no debate, however, that DJ Screw invented the music style. "[3] He discovered that dramatically reducing the pitch of a record gave a mellow, heavy sound that emphasized lyrics to the point of almost storytelling. After messing around with the sound for a while Screw started making full length "Screw Tapes". At first the music was only referred to as "Screw music," was limited to the South Side of Houston, and was seen as laid-back driving music. As Screw's tapes started to gain popularity he started selling his tapes for around $10.[4] Screw was known to feature some of Houston's most renowned rappers from the South Side. This eventually led to the formation of the Screwed Up Click.

Between 1991 and 1992, there was a large increase in use of purple drank in Houston.[1] Purple drank has been considered to be a major influence in the making of and listening to chopped and screwed music due to its perceived effect of slowing the brain down, giving slow, mellow music its appeal. DJ Screw, however, repeatedly denounced the claim that one has to use purple drank to enjoy chopped and screwed music. Screw, a known user of purple drank, said he came up with chopped and screwed music when high on marijuana.[2]

In the mid-1990s, chopped and screwed music started to move to the North Side of Houston and to such people as DJ Michael "5000" Watts.[1] and OG RON CIt wasn't long until a rivalry between north and south Houston started over who were the "originators" and who were the "adopters". Michael "5000" Watts always gave credit to DJ Screw as the originator of chopped and screwed music. It is also believed that Michael "5000" Watts came up with the term "chopped and screwed". As time passed and a younger generation got into the style, there became less worry over who was an originator of the style and who was an adopter. In the late 1990s, with the help of P2P groups such as Napster, chopped and screwed music spread to a much wider audience.

In 1999, PSK-13, an associate of DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click (also a member of the South Park Coalition), released a screwed version of his album Pay Like You Weigh 5000 [5] which was one of the earliest examples of a full length album being given the treatment.

On November 16, 2000 DJ Screw died from a lethal combination of codeine and alcohol. Shortly after the passing of Screw, chopped and screwed music spread all over the southern United States.[citation needed] Later in 2000, the Memphis based group Three 6 Mafia came out with their song "Sippin' on Some Syrup". The song at first was just a minor hit but later became one of Three 6 Mafia's most popular songs.

In 2001, 8Ball & MJG released a screwed version of their album Space Age 4 Eva (2000). The mixing was handled by Michael "5000" Watts of the famed Swishahouse, being the first chopped and screwed release on a major label.

In 2003, David Banner released a chopped and screwed version of his album Mississippi: The Album, being a first by an artist from Mississippi.

In 2005, the first chopped and screwed albums were added to the iTunes shop catalog.

In 2006 Chamillionaire's The Sound of Revenge (Screwed & Chopped) by OG Ron C became the most successful chopped and screwed album to date.

In 2011,University of Houston Libraries acquired over 1,000 albums owned by DJ Screw.Some of the albums will be part of an exhibit in early 2012 and the rest available for research in 2013.[6]

Today it is still common to see chopped and screwed versions of mixtapes and albums released alongside the regular speed versions, sometimes in a double disc format with one disc screwed and the other regular speed. There are many DJS today who "Screw" music. The Top DJs are below

In 2011, DJ bloo, a Reggae and Dubstep DJ, began releasing mixes of reggae and dub music that had been 'chopped and screwed' (i.e. had the classic elements of the remixing technique applied), perhaps signalling an expanding interest in the style beyond its hip-hop origins.

Top Screw Genre DJs

  • Robert Earl "DJ Screw" Davis - Creator of the now-famous Chopped and Screwed DJ technique
  • Michael '5000' Watts-Swishahouse Records Co-Founder and Current CEO
  • OG RON C Swishahouse Records Co-Founder, Former DJ for Chamillionaire,current DJ for Slim Thug
  • DJ Candlestick - Official DJ for the niceguyys & known for Drake's Thank Me Later (Houston Can Thank Me Later)
  • DJ Lil Steve - Has been a protege of OG Ron C, well known for his 10 tapes N 10 nights mixtape series; which contains chopped & screwed hard,metal,& alternative rock songs.
  • DJ Rucker - official DJ of BYOBE (Be Your Own Boss Entertainment)creators of "Shawt Bus Shawty"


Chopped and screwed music was created by DJ Screw in the early 1990s. Part of the chopped & screwed music scene is a beverage known as purple drank (the active ingredients being codeine and promethazine[1]); the color purple, which is usually present as a dye in the "drank," has also become a symbolic color or motif to identify chopped and screwed versions of songs or whole albums. The 2007 documentary film Screwed In Houston produced by VBS/Vice Magazine details the history of the Houston rap scene and the influence of the Chopped and Screwed sub-culture on Houston hip-hop.


  1. ^ a b c d "Chopped & Screwed: A History: [Page 2]", "Of course, it wasn't just the slower pace of Southern life that was simpatico with chopped and screwed music. It was also the drug culture springing up in Houston at the time — specifically, the one centering on the consumption of the prescription cough syrup Promethazine, which includes codeine. The elixir goes by a number of names — syrup, drank, Texas tea — and its depressant qualities were the catalyst to an illicit subculture built around its abuse and the lethargic beats of chopped and screwed."
  2. ^ a b "Givin It To Ya Slow: DJ Screw interview from RapPages (1995)", Press Rewind If I Haven't.
  3. ^ "Music", Freize magazine, Archive, Issue 135 November–December 2010.
  4. ^ "Chopped & Screwed: A History: [Page 1]",
  5. ^ "Pay Like You Weigh 5000: Screwed", [No product info.]
  6. ^ ""

External links

[[Category:R&BSoul Classics

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