Chopped and screwed refers to a technique of remixing hip hop music which developed in the Houston hip hop scene in the 1990s. This is accomplished by slowing the tempo and applying techniques such as skipping beats, record scratching, stop-time, and effecting portions of the music to make a "chopped-up" version of the original.
The style was developed in Houston, Texas by DJ Screw, The late DJ Screw, a South Houston DJ, is credited with the creation of and early experimentation with the genre. DJ Screw began making mixtapes of Houston rappers' slowed-down music in the early 1990s. Originally, this process involved mixing two copies of the same record, slowed down either on the turntables using pitch shift or, later, through use of an after-mixer device. Phasing, Flanging and echo effects were originally the result of the two records being played at millisecond intervals.
Some Houston-area artists (e.g. Ganksta N-I-P and Willie D) began to incorporate the slowed tempo into rap songs. Willie D's Die, from the album I'm Goin' Out Lika Soldier, featured a slowed-down sample of Scarface's line "Balls and my word" (from the feature film) well before chopped and screwed gained more mainstream acceptance.
DJ Screw made a significant number of mixtapes (purported to be in the thousands), usually with a theme. This provided a significant outlet for MCs in the south Houston area, and helped local rappers such as Lil' Flip, E.S.G., UGK, Lil' Keke, and Z-Ro gain regional and sometimes national prominence. Early tapes were often screwed and chopped versions of instrumentals over which rappers would later freestyle, but later tapes were mostly vocal tracks with occasional toasting or freestyle intermissions. By the time of Screw's death in 2000, the genre had become widely known throughout the southern United States.
Mississippi rapper David Banner released a chopped and screwed version of his Mississippi: The Album in 2003, marking one of the first efforts by a Mississippi artist. Other southern recording artists, including Eightball and MJG, Lil' Troy, The Geto Boys, MC Breed, and Three 6 Mafia, as well as Chicago's Do or Die, had similar success.
Currently, the style is exemplified in the music of Swishahouse DJs such as OG Ron C and Michael 5000 Watts. Their work has helped establish current rappers Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, and Mike Jones, and rap groups such as The Color Changin' Click and the Screwed Up Click. More major recording labels have embraced the genre, and chopped and screwed albums occasionally outsell their unmixed counterparts. The practice has even reached overseas, as evident by a remix version of "Kamikaze 108," a track off the debut album of the J-hip hop supergroup Teriyaki Boyz.
Paul Wall's commercial success in 2005 has made him the most prominent artist working within the genre. It also marked a movement in production technique from turntables to the use of Vinyl Emulation Software. Paul Wall appeared on MTV Jams during the summer of 2005 to host a block of chopped and screwed music videos and to talk about the remix technique he uses. In April 2005 the first albums from the genre were made available at the iTunes Music Store.
Screwed & Chopped was created by Robert Earl Davis, Jr. AKA DJ Screw in the early 1990s. Part of the chopped & screwed music scene is a beverage known as purple drank (the active ingredients being codeine and promethazine); the color purple, which is usually present as a haze in the "drank," has also become a symbolic color or motif to identify chopped and screwed versions of songs or whole albums. The 2007 documentary film Screwed In Houston produced by VBS/Vice Magazine details the history of the Houston rap scene and the influence of the Chopped and Screwed sub-culture on Houston hip-hop.
There are also a lot of albums with a screwed & chopped version:
- Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - Greatest Hits
- T.I. - Urban Legend
- Twista - The Day After
- 8Ball & MJG - Space Age 4 Eva ,Livin' Legends
- Three 6 Mafia - Da Unbreakables, Most Known Unknown
- Big Tymers - Big Money Heavyweight
- Lil Wayne - Tha Carter, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter III
- Mike Jones - Who Is Mike Jones?
- Paul Wall - Chick Magnet, The Peoples Champ, Get Money Stay True
- Slim Thug - Already Platinum
- E.S.G. - Ocean of Funk, Sailin' Da South, City Under Siege
- Lil Keke - Don't Mess Wit Texas, Peepin In My Window, Platinum In Da Ghetto, Birds Fly South, The Big Unit, Wreckin' 2004, Undaground All Stars: The Texas Line Up
- Big Moe - City of Syrup, Moe Life, Best of Big Moe
- Chamillionaire - Get Ya Mind Correct, Controversy Sells, The Sound of Revenge
- UGK - Jive Records Presents: UGK
- Lil Troy - Back To Ballin'
- Botany Boys - Forever Botany
- Scarface - Mr. Scarface Is Back, The World Is Yours, The Diary, The Untouchable, My Homies, The Last of a Dying Breed, The Fix, Balls & My Word, My Homies Part 2, Made
- Lil' Flip - U Gotta Feel Me, I Need Mine
- Z-Ro - Look What You Did to Me, Z-Ro vs. The World, King of da Ghetto, Z-Ro, Screwed Up Click Representa, Z-Ro Tolerance, The Life of Joseph W. McVey, Let the Truth Be Told, I'm Still Livin', Power
- Bun B - Trill, II Trill
- Geto Boys - We Can't Be Stopped, Till Death Do Us Part, The Resurrection, Da Good Da Bad & Da Ugly, The Foundation, Greatest Hits
- Young Jeezy - Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101
- B.G. - The Best of the Heart Of The Streetz
- Fat Pat - Greatest Hits
- Pimp C - Sweet James Jones Stories, Pimpalation
- Trae - Losing Composure, Same Thing Different Day, Restless, Life Goes On
- DJ DMD - Thirty-Three: Live From Hiroshima
- Yungstar - Throwed Yung Playa
- Big Hawk - Under Hawk's Wings
- Juvenile - Juve The Great
- Big Pokey - Hardest Pit in the Litter, D-Game 2000
- Dead End Alliance - Screwed For Life
- U.T.P. - Beginning Of The End
- David Banner - Mississippi: The Album
- Lil B - Bitch Mob: Respect tha Bitch