UH exhibit reveals hip-hop history
“DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop,” the exhibit now on display on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, documents the late DJ Screw’s work as well as the beginning careers of other local rappers.
Screw, aka Robert Earl Davis Jr., passed away nearly 12 years ago.
Many successful rappers who call Houston their home owe their start to Screw’s infamous mixed tapes and do their best to honor the disc jockey’s legacy.
Along with photos of Screw’s musical brigade the Screwed Up Click, the exhibit also features dated vinyl copies of records once owned by the late DJ which were donated by his father.
Among the interesting pieces on display are track lists written by Screw for some of his customers who wanted his signature slowed-down sound known as “Chopped and Screwed” as well as promotional flyers for concerts and parties.
One interesting piece is a notebook once owned by original SUC member and late rapper H.A.W.K.
Another is a vinyl copy of the Scarface record “Mr. Scarface Is Back.”
Coordinator of Digital Projects and Instruction at the Special Collections of the UH Libraries Julie Grob is responsible for the collection.
Grob said she began collecting for the exhibit two years ago and has had positive reactions from those she reached out to, including many local rappers and their family members.
She also said that the total collection of 1,500 recordings and the memorabilia would eventually be open for visitors.
The exhibit also takes into account some of the memorabilia from the Rap-A-Lot Records and Swishahouse labels that have featured rappers Mike Jones, Paul Wall and Slim Thug.
DJ Michael “5,000” Watts built his sound around Screw, much like how the rappers associated with Swishahouse built their foundation around the original members of the Screwed Up Click.
The music of DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click have a special place in Houston considering the locality of the musical movement.
Screwed Up Records & Tapes, the official shop of SUC, used to be located on Cullen.
The hip-hop exhibit will remain open to faculty, staff and students to view until Sep. 12.