It’s probably safe to say that there is no figure more important to the Houston rap scene than DJ Screw. Active throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Screw is best known as the creator of H-Town’s signature chopped-and-screwed sound (it’s literally named after him) and the Screwed-Up Click, a collection of local rappers that included pioneers of the city’s scene like Big Hawk, Big Moe, Fat Pat, and Z-Ro. Even George Floyd was a member for a bit, rhyming on one of Screw’s many, many mixes.
Unfortunately, he was just as well known for embracing lean as his drug of choice, leading to an overdose in November of 2000 (it’ll be exactly 22 years tomorrow, November 16). His legacy lives on in the popularity of the style he created, which has since expanded and been adopted by the wider rap world, including such artists as the ASAP Mob, Rick Ross, and more. Of course, he’s still most beloved in Houston thanks to his influence on Texas stars like Paul Wall, UGK, and Travis Scott.
The latter is making his appreciation for Screw even more concrete. According to Deadline, Travis Scott is executive-producing a biopic about DJ Screw for Columbia Pictures. Director Isaac Yowman, who shot Travis’ Look Mom I Can Fly documentary, explained how the collaboration came together in a statement. “There’s been so much work done over the last year,” he said. “The studio and I, alongside Travis’s team, have been connecting with writers — identifying the best way to tell this story on paper. Screw is a music icon, in the South he’s like a God, so there’s a level of delicacy when tapping into his story. That noted I’m grateful as hell to have his sister Michelle and brother Charles in my corner as a support system. I don’t know everything, and there’s so much information out there, so being able to talk to legends like Lil’ Keke, Bun B, and D-Reck and get unbiased perspectives has been helpful with me navigating through the process.”