This event brings together scholars, rappers, DJs, and others to tell the story of DJ Screw and the evolution of Houston hip hop through short presentations and panel discussions.
10:30 – 11:00 am
Welcome & Introduction
Coordinator of Digital Projects & Instruction, Special Collections University of Houston Libraries
11:00 am – 12:15 pm
The Origins of Houston Hip Hop
Moderator: Maco L. Faniel Graduate student in History Texas Southern University
Homegrown label Rap-A-Lot Records, hard-edged groups like the Geto Boys and Street Military, and the diverse artists of rap collective South Park Coalition gave Houston a hip hop scene that was independent and uncompromising. Emerging scholar Maco Faniel talks about the nature of Houston rap and why Houston is a significant center of hip hop in its own right. Panelists including K-Rino of SPC and Willie D of the Geto Boys discuss the emergence of Houston on the musical map in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Panelists: K-RinoWillie DSteve FournierJukeboxRicky Royal
12:15 – 1:45 pm
DJ Screw & the Screwed Up Click
Moderator: Lance Scott Walker Author (w/ photographer Peter Beste) Houston Rap
In the 1990s, Houstonians began jamming a new sound – the "chopped and screwed" music of DJ Screw (Robert Earl Davis, Jr.). The innovative DJ released tapes on which he slowed down and manipulated records. The tapes also featured raw freestyles (improvised raps) by a group of friends and local rappers who became known as the Screwed Up Click. Writer Lance Scott Walker introduces the pioneering style of DJ Screw, and original members of the SUC describe the process of making screw tapes, their legendary freestyles, and their memories of DJ Screw.
Panelists: Big Pokey ESG Meshah Hawkins Lil' Keke
1:45 – 2:45 pm
2:45 – 4:00 pm
Slabs & Syrup
Houston is known not only for its innovative rap music, but for its distinctive hip hop culture. Many of the freestyles on screw tapes described riding in "slabs" and sipping "syrup." Slabs are customized cars with fancy rims, candy paint, and elaborate sound systems. Syrup is a mixture of the prescription drug codeine promethazine with a soft drink for recreational use. Emerging scholar Langston Collin Wilkins describes slab culture, and Dr. Ron Peters provides context on codeine promethazine and its use. Each talk is followed by discussion with members of the hip hop community.
SlabsLangston Collin Wilkins
Graduate Student in Folklore and Ethnomusicology Indiana University
SyrupDr. Ronald J. Peters
Associate Professor, School of Public Health The University of Texas Health Science Center
4:00 – 4:30 pm
4:30 – 6:00 pm
The Legacy of DJ Screw
Moderator: Matt Sonzala Music Festival Programmer SXSW
DJ Screw had a major impact on the hip hop scene in Houston and beyond. He launched the careers of rappers in the Screwed Up Click and inspired the DJs and MCs of the Swishahouse label. More than a decade after his death, DJ Screw's style continues to be heard in the production of major hip hop albums. Blogger and radio DJ Matt Sonzala explores the legacy of DJ Screw, and leads a discussion among a group of prominent Houston rappers about how DJ Screw influenced them personally and further developed Houston's musical identity.
Panelists:Chingo BlingPaul Wall Z-RoTrae
6:00 – 6:30 pm
Dr. Anthony B. Pinn
Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies Rice University
Coordinator of Digital Projects & Instruction Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries