According to social media, white TikTok teens are now discovering the “chopped and screwed” production style created and popularized by late deejay, DJ Screw.
However, they’re not properly attributing it to the Houston legend and—surprise surprise—they’re calling it “slowed + reverb.”
*Insert heavy Black sigh*
The “new” trend is being called out because of a viral video of a white girl talking about “why we love slowed and reverb so much.” In the video, she mentions songs that use the edit in altered YouTube remixes: Frank Ocean’s “In My Room” and “Luv Is Rage 2” from Lil Uzi Vert. While any song can get the chopped and screwed treatment, the Gen Z-ness of it all is giving me heartburn.
“[The] Slowed and Reverb phenomenon refers to the remixing style where you slow down a song anywhere between 80 and 90 percent speed and manipulate the acoustic environment of the audio,” she says. A 2001 article from the Houston Press notes that the chopped and screwed technique slows down songs to a BPM between 60 and 70. The girl also credits the production style to a producer named Slater, and says that this production style capitalizes on a “personal sense of sadness.”
The Screwed Up Click leader, who died in 2000 after a lethal combo of codeine, marijuana and alcohol, created the style in the early ’90s. He started releasing mixtapes featuring chopped and screwed versions of songs, and by the time of his death at the age of 29, he’d released over 350 “chapters,” per a 2017 report from the New York Times. The chopped and screwed style has become central to Houston, and popular hip-hop and rap songs through the years have utilized the style, such as E.S.G.’s “Swangin’ and Bangin’,” Outkast and UGK’s “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You),” and Beyoncé’s “I Been On.”
Social media caught wind of Gen Z’s disrespect and got DJ Screw trending on Twitter while applauding his contributions to hip-hop and Houston culture. Although his life was short, his legacy lives on.
“Love that is called ‘chopped and screwed’ and it was popularized by BLACK Houstonian rapper DJ Screw in the 90s before any of y’all we’re even born,” one viral tweet read.
Even Slater, who is mentioned by this poor girl as the “creator” of the sound commented, stating that he will “pay [her] $3,000 to have this scrubbed from the internet.”
“For the record, I am and what I created are 10000% inspired and influenced by dj screw because that’s what I grew up on,” he continues.
In other news: In years from now, I expect that Generation X Æ A-12 will attribute the concept of “WAP” to singer Margot Price, and not to Cardi B, nor to biology. Price was a guest on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah Thursday night and sang a folk-style acoustic version of Cardi and Megan Thee Stallion’s viral song, which we didn’t need. What we DO need, however, is for people to leave hip-hop alone for a while. It just turned 47 on Aug. 11; please let it enjoy its birthday week without gentrifiers and cultural erasure.
Although we stray further from God’s radiant light every day, it’s nice that people can band together to call out cultural theft and wrongdoing whenever possible during the Digital Age. Instances like this show me that social media, even amid chaos, can actually be a great place.
Rest in peace, Screw.
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