DIARY OF THE IMITATOR
(What's the Damn Deal?)
It's been 10 years since Robert Earl Davis Jr., pka DJ Screw, left this planet.His legacy is still with us though, a living, driving force.So what did this man do that was important?Without a doubt it is far more than the obvious fact that he pitched his music down to syrup sweet tempos.Hardcore turnatablists have been quick to point out his shortcomings.His cuts were often sloppy, his chops just a tad off beat, his transitions abrupt and jarring at times.Still, anyone who has ever experienced the magic of a gray cassette knows exactly what that proverbial damn deal is.No other mixtape DJ has ever conveyed such a feeling of passion. Screw's personality and passion filled every minute of his tapes.Just ask the hundreds of people that used to line up outside his apartment to get their hands on every mix he made.
Those tapes were later dubbed and sold in every flea market on the third coast.Listeners disregarded the questionable quality of 4th and 5th generation dubs, instead concentrating on the information carried within the little plastic shell.Screw's tapes were equal parts mixtape and town hall meeting.Fans on the Southside were treated to freestyles delivered by the mechanic on the corner, the guy next door who walked home from his crappy sales job; only to spend the entire night in the Lab for the chance to grab the mic for five minutes.The community spirit seeps through Screw's mixes... the majority of which were recorded during these all night sessions.People come and go, their arrivals announced, their departues noted.Some dying to flex their lyrical muscles, others just dropping by to wish a loved one a happy birthday.Robert E. Davis, ghetto Garrison Keillor.
On a personal level, Screw's technique and music has touched me more than most.Like many, I was first exposed to it in the later 90's, during the Napster revolution.Although immediately attracted to the more polished sound of Swishahouse and Beltway 8, Screw's mixes started to dominate my ears.My first copies of "Southside Still Holding" and "Dancing Candy" were barely listenable, but listen I did.The slow pitch immediately sounded organic to me, and I quickly forgot that the music was even slowed.Unlike Swishahouse and later DJs - Screw's mixage does not concentrate on the chop.Instead, he lets the music speak for itself... only adding chops and scratches to accentuate what is being said.If he liked a line, he'd bring it back a few times... if he like a drum sound he'd chop it up. Rather than concentrate on perfect execution, Screw seemed to care more about how the music felt - as if he was looking at the big picture, rather than the minute details.The result is like an amazing Polaroid picture... blurry, yet beautiful.
For this mix, I honestly attempted to recreate a real Screw mix.If you want to hear pristine versions of these songs, they are available to you.Instead, I tried hard as hell to create a "live" mix that captures at least some of Mr. Davis' essence.To do this, I found it necessary to muck it up a bit... but hopefully in a good way.
A Screw Way!
DAVIS by Nattymari2
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