On August 8, 1999, DJ Screw sat down with Daika Bray for an interview in which he spoke on everything from how his signature Chopped and Screwed style started, to what he thought of the Y2K blackout fears of the late 90’s, and also what his “next move” would be in the coming 2000’s. Check out the full interview transcript here:
Daika Bray: When did Fat Pat, Hawk, C-Note and the rest of the Screwed Up Click start rappin at your house? After you already had started doin Screw tapes?
Screw: After I started doin Screw tapes. I was already doin ‘em, they was just listenin to me. They’d hear me, I’d give shout outs to different people in the neighborhoods, cause I had kicked it with everybody from every neighborhood. I’d make personal tapes. I might make a tape for a couple of my partners. Sometimes I’d just be makin a tape, come to the house, kick it. Some of my partners that are locked up right now, they’d come to the house and kick it, watch me make a tape. Might get on the mic, give shout outs. We’d ride around, listen to that in the car. It’s like you’re listenin to the radio, hear your own voice, ridin in the car, start rappin. We got some feedback on it, people were likin it. Everybody was takin it serious.
DB: I want you to clear up some of the rumors about Fat Pat. I’ve heard that he was in the dope game, he was doing terrible things to people, and what happened to him was just comin back onto him from stuff he’d done in the past.
Screw: Ain’t none of that’s true. Fat Pat, we went to school together. Sterling High School. In the dope game, tryin to feed our families. But it ain’t like what people think, out there robbin, jackin. We weren’t with that. Just hustlin, tryin to make ends meet, feed our families. Studio time. Get our cards together. To help out each other and the Clique. What happened to Fat Pat was just getting caught up with a shysty promoter. We were doin a show down in Austin, Texas. Come to find out the dude who we done the show with named Weasel video taped and audio taped the show without tellin us. I found out about it, asked him about, he tried to deny it. A while later he wanted us to come back and do another show. We were like, fuck that, we ain’t gonna go back there. First, he disrespected by tapin the show and sellin it, sellin it on the street and everything. Tryin to deny it. That was when Pat’s album was comin out and he wanted to promote it, he wanted to go back down there. I’m like don’t mess with that cat, we got plenty more shows we can do. But he wanted to promote himself, he went down there. And the dude, they were kicking it, he was a flashy dude, liked to flash what he got. Some kinda way he got robbed or something, he thought Fat Pat had something to do with it. He called Pat over to give him some money for comin back and doin the show. Basically, because he thought Fat Pat had something to do with him getting robbed, he shot Pat. He killed him. He gonna get what’s comin to him. Pat, that’s a real cool dude.
DB: You seem to be real particular about who you hang with. Why is that?
Screw: Cause really, a lotta my friends, most of ‘em dead or most of ‘em in jail. I deal with all typa people. People be high, do drugs…everybody do drugs, get high, but some of these cats try to be something they’re not. Some people hang around just to see what you got. Some people be around cause they got love for you. It’s cool to have friends, but too many friends, some of ‘em ain’t your friends. Kinda hard to pick your friends, you gotta see a person’s heart. When I look at a person I study them hard. I kick it with anybody, I ain’t scared of nobody. Just like they put their pants on, shoes on, same way I do. Ain’t no different. I’m really just a people person. I like hearin the conversation, see how they carry themselves. Be you, be yourself. You don’t get with one person, act this way, then you get with another group, act that way. That ain’t cool. Just be yourself, that’s my whole thing. It goes deep, it goes real deep for real.
DB: All this success and all this fame, it hasn’t changed the way you do things? Just made you more focused do you think?
Screw: It made me more focused I think. I’m just bein me. Lotta people look at me like I’m a star or something. I don’t see that. I’m just a regular person, it’s just a lotta people know my name. I don’t consider myself no superstar or nothing. I’m just a regular DJ, man. I like to kick it, play music people can ride to. Something to inspire ‘em, make ‘em get up every day, wanna go do something. I’m just tryin to give people something positive to listen to while they do what they doin. Workin at a job or in the streets, whatever, I’m tryin to give ‘em something, something good in their head. Let ‘em know it ain’t always bad.
DB: Speakin of it being always bad, you know how everybody’s talkin about how in 2000 there’s going to be a major catastrophe, all the computers are gonna crash and all that. What kind of changes do you think will happen?
Screw: I think it’s gonna go on as it has been. They say the world gonna come to an end. I think the world gonna come to an end for the people that’s been doin bad stuff. Their world gonna come to an end. That’s how I look at it. The world ain’t gonna stop. All the people that done messed over our generation, they world gonna come to an end, for all the bad stuff they done to us. And the success and all that, the talent I got, I ain’t never gonna let that go to my head. It’s like the Man gave me the talent, I’m just tryin to stick with it. We’re all here on this earth for a purpose. I’m tryin to reach people through my music. Keep the faith. Believe in yourself. Keep it real with the ones that’s real with you, take care of your family…..you be alright.
DB: What was the first record that you Screwed? Do you remember?
Screw: Damn, I forgot……it’s been so many. Started DJing when I was 13, now I’m 28. I can’t remember what the first record was, but I got it though. I got so many records, I keep up with all my records. I got all my kinfolks, Shorty Mac, back in the day when I was first DJing. Like records I didn’t like, I thought was bullshit, I’d take a Screw off of it. Anything, I’d scratch the record up. They’d come to me, Man nigga who you think you is? DJ Screw or something? That kinda stuck to me. Most people think I got the name Screw cause I screw a lot, but that’s how I got the name Screw, DJ Screw.
DB: You heard about Def Jam South setting up in Houston, making Scarface president. How do you think that will change the industry in Houston?
Screw: It’s cool. It’s a good idea and all. I think it’ll help a lotta people, cause we got a lotta talent down here. It ain’t just really got no big record companies down here. Everybody I know, we doin this independent. Like me, I’m independent. I ain’t never signed with no label. I done work for Jam Down, done work for Big Tyme, I’ve done work with a lotta labels, but I ain’t never signed no contract with no label. Def Jam in the South, that’ll be cool, cause that’ll bring some of the East, the West, another eye on us. If y’all ain’t knowin by now, we the shit, we been the shit, we just ain’t got that recognition. Like East Coast, they got a lotta studios, radio stations, TV stations, but we down here, all we got one Rap station. Really two–we got 97.9 The Box and we got the radio station SCREW. It’s cool, we all come together, put something together, blow it up like it’s supposed to. That’s what I’m tryin to do. I try to help everybody. Shit you don’t hear on the radio, what you hear on my tapes might never hit the radio. People that ain’t never put out an album but got talent. I make beats, take them instrumentals, we’ll take that and make it like our song. Def Jam South is cool, but we got Rap-A-Lot, Suave House, Wreckshop, Screwed Up Entertainment, Jam Down, Big Shot, Big Tyme, Short Stop. We got a lotta record companies down here.
DB: Define some terms for our readers. I already know, because I’m from Houston and I live on the Southside, but define some of the slang that we use down here like “bopper”, “body rock” “throwed in the game”.
Screw: “Throwed in the game” is like back when everybody used to say “that shit’s dope, that shit’s def.” “Throwed in the game” is like damn that’s some throwed shit, that’s some good shit. The slang is like that. Then “bopper”, that’s like with bitches, some females are like “hey bop what you got.” You got a clean car, you got a name, you got money. Like jockin, it’s boppin, it’s just another term. “Body rock”, that’s the Southside thing that we do. It really ain’t no dance, it’s like a body movement we do. We really don’t dance down here, we bob our heads. We body rock.
DB: We talked about Fat Pat. Tell me about Big Steve and what happened with him.
Screw: Big Steve–up and comin ghetto superstar, just got caught up. Wrong place the wrong time. Some people were doin bad shit on the streets. Steve just happened to be in the same place when the shit was gonna go down. He got caught up in it. It’s like Steve got it just by bein with the dude. The dude was just messin people over in the streets. Business, wasn’t takin care of business the way it’s supposed to been done. Hustlin. You know how you hustle–you owe people money, steal from them, do all typa stuff like that. Niggaz ain’t gonna put up with that, just can’t keep takin ‘em. Sooner or later it’s gonna go down. Niggaz comin back, get revenge on this cat. You with him–everybody gotta go. How you gonna just shoot this dude and not shoot this dude. That’s a witness, and you sure don’t wanna be in trouble, so you’ve gotta kill two birds…that’s how that happened. It’s fucked up. I miss my potna. He had a bright future in the Rap game. I’m gonna miss him. But he’s always gonna be here. We’re gonna keep him alive. I love you, man, I miss you. You’re always gonna be around, sho’ nuff. “Rap it, scratch it.” That’s Big Steve talkin to us.
DB: What are future plans for the Screwed Up Click?
Screw: Everybody in Screwed Up Click, we all got dreams of what we wanna be and what we wanna do, what we wanna accomplish in life. Business, home, record shops, lawyers, businessmen, whatever. Everybody got their ghetto dreams. My plan is do the best I can do. Everybody wanna help theyself. If they got their heart into it they really gonna do something. I know I got my heart into it. I live and die for this shit, every day. I’ll do the best I can, try to keep my name up high. For my family, the ones that’s with us, upcoming generations. The young BG’s, they see us rappin, they really like that. I’m tryna pave the way so they can shine too. Cause the sun will shine on everybody. Everybody will get their time to shine. It don’t happen overnight though. Gotta be dedicated. Gotta be real about it, can’t just do it cause everybody else doin it. You really wanna do it, you just gotta put your heart into it. Be true to you, be true to the ones around you, your loved ones. Cause I ain’t gonna fuck with nobody who don’t love me. Get real with me I’m getting real with you. For real. I appreciate you doin this interview with me. Y’all be on the lookout for Screwed Up Entertainment. I got my own lil’ record shop, Screwed Up Records and Tapes. Screwed up Texas, that’s what’s we call this. Down South, Third Coast. It’s in your face, for real. Showin up, pourin up, growin up.
DB: I wonder what your next step will be?
Screw: Like I said in 1990, I’m gonna screw the world up. It’s screwed up, but it ain’t finished. I’m gonna keep on squaggin, go to Japan, Tokyo. A lotta people don’t know this underground, it’s really worldwide. I have people from all over the world comin, getting these tapes. Somebody come down from Dallas, get a tape, take it back. They got a cousin from Tennessee, dub that tape, take it there, they got a cousin…..it just go on and on and on. Stay up stay real, and we’ll be screwed for life.
Is there anything else that nobody has ever asked you in an interview before, that you’d want to say?
Yeah. Don’t believe all these rumors. Cause I play my music slow, people think you gotta get high, get fucked up, do drugs, just to listen to my music. It ain’t like that at all. Or that I just do drugs all day, that’s why my music’s slow. It ain’t all about that. I stopped smokin weed a while back. Back in the game I was young, so I was smokin weed, but you get burnt out on that. You don’t gotta get high to listen to my music. It ain’t no worship the devil music. So people think you worshippin the devil when the music drags. It ain’t about that. I’m just bringin it to you in a different style where you can hear everything and feel everything. Give you something to ride to. I’d like to thank all the people that support me. Without the people supportin me I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.
DB: Do you think you’ll ever put out a record of you rapping yourself?
Screw: Yeah. It’s in the makin. I rapped on DMD’s album, rapped on C-Note’s album. On Keke’s album, I did something on. PSK-13, Point Blank, my brother (Al D)….I’m gonna drop my album, Screwed Up Click album. I’ma shock ‘em. I got a lot to say, I been through a lot. I’m gonna put something out there as well as I do with the turntables. Y’all look forward to it. It ain’t gonna stop till the casket drop.