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Chopped and screwed

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Chopped and screwed

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Chopped and screwed, or screwed and chopped, or just plain screw, is a term that refers to a certain technique of remixing hip hop music by slowing the tempo and applying various DJ techniques such as skipping beats, record scratching, stop-time, and sending portions of the music through stand-alone effects to make a "chopped-up" version of the original song. Though currently "Chopped and Screwed" is the most widely used term, "Screw" or "Screwed and Chopped" were also used to refer to the style.

The style was developed in and around Houston, Texas, which remains the undisputed capital of the style.

The late DJ Screw, a South Houston DJ, is credited with the creation and early experimentation of the genre. DJ Screw started making screw tapes (also known as gray tapes because Screw would always release them on gray Maxell tapes) in the early nineties, after spending a year perfecting the mixing technique. Originally, this process involved two copies of the same record, slowed down either on the turntables themselves using pitch shift or with an after-mixer device. Phasing and echo effects were originally the result of the two records being played at millisecond intervals, i.e. very close to the exact same time.

The genre was heavily associated with the use of "syrup", the abuse of prescription cough syrups containing codeine and Dextromethorphan, and marijuana, which have been credited for the genre's psychedelic style. DJ Screw went on to make countless mixes (purported to be in the thousands) that usually had a theme and often provided a significant outlet for MCs in the South-Houston area, such as Lil' Flip, E.S.G, UGK, Short Dawg, Lil' Keke and Z-Ro. Early tapes were often Screwed and Chopped versions of instrumentals over which rappers would freestyle (e.g. DJ Screw's "Who Next Wid Da Plex", Lil' Flip's "Freestyle Kings"), later tapes were mostly vocal tracks with occasional toasting or freestyle intermissions. By the end of the 90's, rivalry had developed between North and South Side DJ "Clicks". By the time of Screw's death in 2000, the genre had become widely used throughout the South.

Mississippi rapper David Banner released a Screwed and Chopped Version of his "Mississippi: The Album" in 2003, which would mark one of the first successful efforts by a major recording label to exploit the success of the genre. Other Southern recording artists had had similar success beforehand, such as Eightball and MJG, The Geto Boys, Three 6 Mafia and Chicago's Do or Die.

Currently, the style is exemplified in the music of North-Side Swishahouse DJs such as OG Ron C and Michael 5000 Watts. Arguably maintaining a stranglehold on the remixing platform, their work helped establish current rappers Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Mike Jones and cliques, Chamillitary-- Paul Wall and Chamillionaire. Their mixes saw an expansion of the usual roster of artists that are screwed and chopped, as more major recording labels embraced the genre that often sold more units than the usual version of a rapper's albums. It is rumored that Swishahouse originally labelled their tapes Chopped and Screwed to differentiate their mixes from South-Side crews that operated out of DJ Screw's style or tutelage.

Success in 2005 established Paul Wall as somewhat of a public face for the commercialization of S&C. It also popularized a production technique that moves away from turntables to the use of software programs such as Sony's ACID. Paul Wall was invited onto the digital cable channel MTV Jams during the summer of 2005 to host a block of Screwed & Chopped music videos and to talk about the remix technique that he uses. Since April 2005 Screwed and Chopped music can now be bought at the iTunes Music Store.

Marķa Isabel is also known in her work in the field.

During the spring and summer of 2005, several popular urban music videos were released in a screwed and chopped remix form in addition to their original. These include:

"Still Tippin'" by Mike Jones
"You Gonna Luv Me" by Da Back Wudz
"Na-Na-Na-Na" by Nelly
"Wait (The Whisper Song)" by Ying Yang Twins
"Dem Boyz" by Boyz N Da Hood
"What U Gon' Do" by Lil' Jon
"Some Cut" by Trillville
"You Don't Know Me" by T.I.
"Smile" by Scarface [originally released in 1997, but released in the summer of 2005 as a Screwed & Chopped remix video]
"Game Over" by Lil' Flip

The genre has occasionally lended itself to music other than hip hop; Paul Wall remixed The Transplants album Haunted Cities in 2005, a punk group featuring Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, and Black Eyed Peas 2005 album Monkey Business which is technically pop music. The Saturday Club, an Australian act, screws and chops rock music tracks, posting the results to the mp3 blog Screw Rock 'n' Roll.

Important DJ Screw albums:

  • "3 N' the Mornin' Pt. 2"
  • "Greatest Hits"
  • "As the World Turns Slow"
  • "11.16.00" (the date of his death)
  • "June 27th"


"Hip hop records are literally slowed down to a molasses-like pace, and beats and lyrics ooze lazily out of the speakers. The result is a heavy, drowsy groove that, over the last 14 years, has exerted a major influence on Southern hip hop culture." -MTV.COM

Music Samples

  • They Don't Know (sample)
    • A sample of They Don't Know by Paul Wall ft. Bun B; first in the original version, then in a chopped and screwed remix by Swishahouse DJ Michael 5000 Watts.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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