University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Guide to the DJ Screw Papers



Overview of the Collection

Creator DJ Screw, 1971-2000
Collection Title DJ Screw Papers
Dates 1975-2006
Identification 06/2010-023
Physical Description 4.00 linear feet
Language of Materials English
Repository University of Houston Libraries M.D. Anderson Library 4333 University Drive Houston, TX, 77204-2000 URL: http://info.lib.uh.edu/ Email: rmrichardson@uh.edu Phone: 713-743-9229

Biographical Information:

DJ Screw was born Robert Earl Davis, Jr. on July 20, 1971, and he began DJing and making mixtapes as a teenager while living on the Southside of Houston. By the early 1990s, Davis began to develop his innovative “chopped and screwed” technique of using recording technology to repeat phrases (a process known as chopping) and slow a song’s tempo (known as screwing). Davis became known as DJ Screw and distributed “screw tapes” featuring his technique.

As the popularity of the “chopped and screwed” technique grew, DJ Screw began to receive requests to make tapes tailored for friends and local rappers, often to celebrate an event such as a birthday. These tapes would include a selection of slowed down tracks, shoutouts by DJ Screw, and freestyles by rappers over the beats at the beginning and end of the tapes. To create the “chopped and screwed” effect on these tapes, DJ Screw simultaneously played two copies of the same record on a turntable and slowed each down using the turntable’s pitch control function. He then used the crossfader to switch between the records to repeat beats, words, and phrases. This process would create a master cassette. DJ Screw would then slow the tempo further by using a four-track’s pitch control function to manipulate the master cassettes and produce the final tape. He began selling copies of these “screw tapes” or “grey tapes” (so called because of their color) from his home.

The screw tapes helped to develop the careers of numerous local rappers, who would subsequently become known as the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.). Prominent members of the S.U.C. included the Botany Boys, Fat Pat, HAWK, Lil’ Keke, E.S.G., Big Pokey, Big Moe, Lil’ O, Al-D, Yungstar, and Lil’ Flip. The music of the S.U.C. often addressed local culture, particularly the city’s custom car culture and the use of recreational drugs, especially marijuana and codeine.

DJ Screw achieved broader popularity in the mid-1990s, and he continued to sell tapes while releasing four studio albums on Bigtyme Recordz: “All Screwed Up,” “3 'N The Mornin' (Part One),” “3 'N The Mornin' (Part Two),” and “I Wanna Get High with Da Blanksta.” As a member of Dead End Alliance (D.E.A.) with Fat Pat, HAWK and Kay-K, he also appeared on the album “Screwed for Life.” In 1998, DJ Screw opened the store Screwed Up Records and Tapes in order to meet demand for his mixtapes.

On November 16, 2000, DJ Screw was found dead in his recording studio at the age of 29. His death was ruled an overdose of codeine and other drugs. The “chopped and screwed” genre that he created continues to influence recording artists, both locally and nationally, and his legacy is honored by fans around the world.

Sources:

DJ Screw: The Untold Story. Double Platinum - Come Fly With Me, 2006. DVD.

DJ Screw Photographs & Memorabilia Digital Collection description. University of Houston Digital Library. 20 March 2013. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/djscrew


Scope and Contents

Personal papers, photographs, creative material and technology, sound recordings, and promotional material comprise the DJ Screw Papers. DJ Screw’s activities as a DJ and mixtape creator are the focus of the papers, and materials documenting these activities include lists for his screw tapes, sound recordings, production materials, including recording equipment, business documents, and photographs. All materials were owned by DJ Screw and donated by his father, Robert Earl Davis, Sr., unless otherwise noted.

This collection includes materials containing personal, financial, and contact information for DJ Screw and his associates. Access to these original materials is restricted in order to protect privacy, but some materials have publicly-available surrogates filed in place of the originals.


Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research. Some materials have been restricted for privacy reasons. Where possible, surrogates with sensitive information removed have been filed in place of the originals.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.

Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

Due to the fragility of the original screw tapes, they cannot be played directly. Digital copies of screw tapes 1-5 can be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room by advance request. These materials may require up to one week to access. Contact Julie Grob (jgrob@uh.edu) for more information.


Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Corporate Name:
Screwed Up Click (Musical group)
Genre/Form of Material:
Audiocassettes
Ephemera
Financial records
Personal papers
Posters
Personal Name:
DJ Screw, 1971-2000
Topical Term:
Disc jockeys -- Texas -- Houston
Hip-hop -- Texas -- Houston
Hip-hop -- United States
Rap (Music) -- Texas -- Houston
Rap musicians -- Texas -- Houston

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

DJ Screw Papers. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.


Detailed List of Contents

Personal Papers

Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence and Funeral 1999-2000, undated
1 Funeral service programs November 24, 2000
Obituary (memorial service program) for DJ Screw
1 Greeting card to Nikki [Williams] undated
1 Greeting card to Screw from Nikki [Williams] undated
1 Letter from Meledy Mathis to DJ Screw stating that they are cousins May 24 1999
1 Greeting card to Nikki [Williams] from LaWanda undated
Financial Documents 1998-2000
Box Folder
1 2 Tuxedo receipt for Stick 1’s wedding April 30, 1999
2 Personal financial documents [RESTRICTED] 1998-2000
Contact Information and Notes undated
Box Folder
1 3 Pocket memo notebooks containing phone numbers and notes with lyrics [original notebooks RESTRICTED; surrogates of notes available in collection] undated
3 Post-it note regarding Kazy D’s request for DJ Screw to make a mix [RESTRICTED; surrogate available] undated
3 Black Entertainment Television, Inc. business card undated
3 FUBU business card undated
3 Goodfellas Entertainment Co. business card undated
3 Addition figures note totaling 129.75 undated
3 Slips of paper with personal phone numbers [RESTRICTED] undated



Photographs

Box Folder
1 4 DJ Screw playing baseball for the Pirates, [Smithville, Texas?] approximately 1975
DJ Screw in baseball uniform
4 DJ Screw (front left) and teammates playing baseball for the Pirates, [Smithville, Texas?] approximately 1975
DJ Screw in baseball team group photo
4 DJ Screw with his mother, Ida Mae Davis, his grandmother, his sister, Michelle Williams, and his niece Shameka [Gift of Nikki Williams] June 1986
DJ Screw with his mother, Ida Mae Deary Davis, his grandmother, sister Michelle Williams, and niece Shameka
4 DJ Screw with unidentified rap duo, for whom he DJ’d approximately 1989
DJ Screw with rap duo
4 DJ Screw and DJ Chill behind their turntables at a middle school dance at Gregory Lincoln Education Center [Gift of DJ Chill] approximately 1992
DJ Screw and DJ Chill behind the turntables
4 Maestro at Samplified Digital Recording Studio in Missouri City during the recording of “3 ‘n the Mornin’” [Gift of DeMo] February 22, 1996
Maestro in his studio, Samplified Digital Recording Studio in Missouri City
4 DJ Screw at Samplified Digital Recording Studio during the recording of “3 ‘n the Mornin’” [Gift of DeMo] February 22, 1996
DJ Screw at Samplified Digital Recording Studio during the recording of 3 N tha Mornin' in 1996
4 Rappers Al-D and DeMo at DJ Screw’s house on Greenstone [Gift of DeMo] February 23, 1996
Al-D and DeMo
4 DJ Screw on the mixer and turntables in the recording room in his house on Greenstone [Gift of DeMo] February 24, 1996
DJ Screw on the mixer and turntables
4 DJ Screw’s remains at his funeral, Houston November 24, 2000
4 DJ Screw’s car restored with his portrait on the hood during a Screwfest event, Pasadena Convention Center and Fairgrounds July 22, 2006
DJ Screw's car
4 DJ Screw and friends with a platinum record [Gift of Nikki Williams] undated
4 Shanian, daughter of Shetoria (Tori) from “9 Months Later” tape undated
4 Unidentified woman undated



Music - Screwed Up Click

Scope and Contents
Digital access copies of the original screw tapes 1-5 can be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room. Contact Julie Grob (jgrob@uh.edu) for more information.
Screw Tape Lists [1999-2000?], undated
Box Folder
1 5 Screw tape list for Lil’ Keke [RESTRICTED; surrogate available] [1999?]
Screw tape list for Lil Keke
5 Screw tape list for Steve [Big Steve of Woss Ness?] [RESTRICTED; surrogate available] [1999?]
Screw tape list for Steve
5 Screw tape list for Soc, with DJ Screw’s tick marks next to songs, indicating that he had recorded them [2000?]
Screw tape list for Soc
5 Screw tape list undated
Partial song list for a screw tape
Lyrics undated
Box Folder
1 6 Rap lyrics by Shunny Pooh written during a visit to DJ Screw’s house undated
Rap lyrics by Shunny Pooh
6 Unidentified rap lyrics undated
6 Unidentified rap lyrics undated
Business Documents 1996-1999, undated
Box Folder
1 7 Mix Wiz Disc Jockey Association feedback form filled out by DJ Screw February 19, 1996
7 Budget for DJ Screw, D.E.A., and Southside Playaz appearance at Sixth Street Fat Tuesdays (2 copies) April 11, 1999
7 Request for five tapes with money order and envelope August 31, 1999
7 Another Screwed Up Productions shipping envelope from Dirty Harry Productions undated
7 “State and Federal Posting Requirements for All Texas Employees” order form for Screwed Up Records and Tapes undated
Financial Documents 1994, 1996, 2000
Box Folder
1 8 Soundwaves receipt for $5.40 June 12, 1994
8 Soundwaves receipt for $121.14 June 26, 1996
8 Packing list receipt for WEA Manufacturing for Lump of On the Level Promotions January 19, 2000
8 Soundwaves receipt for $211.39 March 12, 2000
Sound Recordings
Digital access copies of the original screw tapes 1-5 can be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room. Contact Julie Grob (jgrob@uh.edu) for more information.
Screw Tapes Belonging to Others
Item 1 is a screw tape that was created by DJ Screw for Lil' Randy, and distributed directly to Lil' Randy.
Box Item
2 1 99 Live screw tape made for Lil’ Randy [cassette tape] [Gift of Lil' Randy] [CANNOT BE PLAYED] 1999
99 Live screw tape
Screw Tapes Belonging to DJ Screw
Items 2-5 are thought to be original cassette tapes (master screw tapes) from the live recording sessions, prior to being slowed down during the audiocassette duplication process used to produce the final screw tape. They were donated by DJ Screw's longtime girlfriend Nikki Williams. Items 5-14 may be a mix of master screw tapes and dubs. They were acquired from Screwed Up Records & Tapes.
Box Item
2 2 “Da Freestyle King’s” tape made for Lil’ Flip [Gift of Nikki Williams] [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
3 “Da Return” tape made for Lil’ Keke (songs on tape match track list for "P's and Q's" [Gift of Nikki Williams] [CANNOT BE PLAYED] 1996
4 “Leanin on a Switch” tape made for Big Pokey [Gift of Nikki Williams] [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
5 “Sittin on Chrome” tape made for Slick Rick [Gift of Nikki Williams] [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
6 "3 Years Later" tape [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
7 "Facin Time" tape made for Mark [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
8 "Ghetto Fabulous" tape made for Big Steve [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
9 "Hurricane Duck" tape [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
10 "Killuminati" tape [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
11 "Making Cash Forever" [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
12 "Ohh Wee Man" [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
13 "Platinum Shit" [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
14 "Shit Don't Stop" [CANNOT BE PLAYED] undated
Recording Equipment undated
Box Folder
1 9 Maxell tape label, blank
9 Superscope Technologies, Inc. feedback form for CDR device, blank
9 Addendum instructions to CD recorder
9 User guide to Marantz stereo double cassette deck
OVS_Item
1 Realistic portable amplified speaker used by DJ Screw during the mixing and recording process
Box Item
3 1 Stanton stylus
Promotional Material 1996-2002
Box Folder
1 10 Big Mello promotional photograph to accompany the release of his 1996 album “Southside Story” on N-Terrorgation Records 1996
Big Mello promotional photograph
10 Tire & Wheel Connection II and Car Tek Audio presents its 4th Annual Car & Truck Show and Concert flyer, featuring Houston rap groups and artists 20-2-Life, 380, Criminal Element, Woss Ness, Big Love, Lil' Keke, and "D" of Trinity Garden Cartel, Texas Southern University August 10, 1997
Tire & Wheel Connection II and Car Tek Audio presents its 4th Annual Car & Truck Show and Concert flyer
10 Juneteenth Rap Explosion concert flyer featuring D.E.A., Southside Playaz, and Straight Profit Records, Vernon L. Richards Riverbend Park, Smithville, Texas June 19, 1999
Juneteenth Rap Explosion featuring Screwed Up Click's D.E.A., Southside Playaz, Straight Profit Records
10 On Da Grind Records presents Big DeMo June 27 Birthday Jam All Access Pass for the third anniversary of DJ Screw’s most famous screw tape June 27, 1999
On Da Grind Records presents Big DeMo June 27 Birthday Jam All Access Pass
10 Flyer for "New Album Release Party featuring Lil Flip, Sucka Free Records, & Botany Boys, Big Shot Records” February 19, 2000
Flyer for 'New Album Release Party featuring Lil Flip, Sucka Free Records, & Botany Boys, Big Shot Records, Sat. Feb. 19th'
10 DJ Screw “Sentimental Value” handbill approximately 2002
Box Item
3 2 Southside Playaz, You Gottus Fuxxed Up sticker approximately 1998
3 Lil’ Keke, The Commission, poster flat approximately 1998
4 South Park Mexican, Hustle Town approximately 1998
Mix Tapes Song List approximately 2001
Box Item
5 1 Hanger with track listing for the 713-390-5979 BOXX radio request line [Postdates DJ Screw] approximately 2001



Music - Non-Screwed Up Click

Promotional Material 1995-2001, undated
Box Folder
1 11 BMC Distribution packing list promo enclosure undated
11 Brian McKnight “Mercury Times” flyer, for Mercury Records, with envelope 1998
11 Chubb Rock, “Beef,” flyer [1997]
11 Dark Sun Riders, “Dark Sun Riders,” flyer [1996]
11 “The Devil in the Mirror” audio film, flyer undated
11 Evil Minds, “Thank You Adam,” sticker [1998]
11 Ghetto Mafia “In Decatur” remix, flyer [1998?]
11 J’Roll, “Vibin On The Hood,” flyer [1997?]
11 Legal Substanz, “One Nation Under a Game,” flyer [1998]
11 Mass 187, “Real Trues Paying Dues,” sticker (3 copies) [1995]
11 Master P (Colonel), “No Limit Soldiers compilation,” sticker [1998]
11 Milk Promotions, flyer undated
11 Mr. D.O.G. “Ghetto Politics,” handbill [2001]
11 Mr. Quikk, the South’s #1 D.J., Dirty Harry Productions, handbill (2 copies) undated
11 Shot Callers, “Ya Only Live Once,” handbill [1999]
11 Speed Knot Mobsters, “In Your World,” flyer with envelope 1998
11 Spragga Benz, “Good Day” remixed by KRS 1, flyer undated
11 Too Short, “Cocktails,” promotional bullet [1995]
11 Trick Daddy, “www.thug.com,” postcard [1998]
Box Item
3 5 Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, The Art of War, poster flat [1997]
6 G-Ride, “Comin atta Black Pitch,” poster flat [2000]
7 Geto Boys, “The World is a Ghetto,” poster flat (2 copies) [1996]
8 Ruffhouse Records, note to Rose “to hit retail with upcoming LP” undated
Print publications
Box Folder
1 12 Ebony magazine, Vol. 53, No. 4 1998
12 Murder Dog magazine, Vol. 6, No. 3 1999
13 Murder Dog magazine, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2 copies) 1999
13 Right On! magazine, Vol. 26, No. 10 1996
14 What It Dew magazine, Issue 6 [2000?]
14 XXL magazine, Vol. 2 No. 4 1998
Audiovisual Material
DJ Screw's Audiovisual Material
Box Folder
1 16 Southsyde Connxshun featuring La Sno and Stylz, Raise Da Roof – Push It Up (Call It What U Want) VHS tape undated
Box Item
2 6 Big Ron Da Don, “Chillin’ Finna Make a Million,” unlabeled cassette tape
7 E-40, “Federal,” cassette tape
8 Midwest Syndicate, “The Compilation,” cassette tape
9 Bumbino, “The Story of a Young Socrates,” cassette tape
Promotional albums sent to DJ Screw
Box Item
4 1 Christyle, “Land of Milk and Honey” 1998
2 Fiend, “Talk It Like I Bring It,” from “Street Life” (2 copies) 1999
3 Fredro Starr, “Dat B Dem”; Haystack, “Reckon” (2 copies); Majic Juan, “Te Jodiste” (2 copies) 2000



Personal Ephemera

Box Folder
1 15 Black & Mild cigar wrapper
15 Dickies advertisement, undated (2 copies)
15 Radius car promotional flyer undated
15 English homework of Doug Jones, with references to DJ Screw undated
15 Houston 3 Parole office Black History Month programs (2 copies) February 23, 1999
15 WAR event calendar March 1999
15 Funeral service program for Clifford Mapp February 4, 1994
Box Item
3 9 Crown Royal bag