23Jun/1114

The Origins Of Screwed Music … According To Galvatron

 

“That shit is annoying they’re just slowing down a song!!!!

Like it or not you’ve heard a “screwed” song either you loved it or you hated it, personally it took me a while to get used to it. I’ve gone through heated debates on boards that discussed early southern hiphop and not to toot my own horn but as far as the Florida and Ga early scene i know my shit. The subject at hand was “Who started “Screwed” mixes?” And my first reply would be “Disco Dave” and niggaz would be like “who?” and they thought i was about as wrong as two boys holding hands but it got heated to the point where DJ Spice from Jam Pony Express and Dj Fury verified my statements. It’s all opinion though and I’m just here to explain what i saw over the years as far as who created this form of mixing.

Dragged or Screwed?

In the mid to late 90′s Robert “DJ Screw” Davis had a great thing going all through Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana and other surrounding areas. I won’t even go into the details because I’m pretty sure you all know of the origins of “Screwed” mixes….or do you? Back in in 2000 we had a discussion about this era of southern music and folks swore up and down that Screw was the first to do it, this is not the case. DJ Screw was the first one to bring it to everyone’s attention and make it on a worldwide scale but he wasn’t the first to put the effect on a Nationwide selling record. No disrespect to the pioneers I’m just describing the scene from my point of view……..now here we go.

For the record before “Screwing” a song even existed there were “Drag Mixes”. This was popularized in South Florida/Miami/Ft. Lauderdale by DJ Disco Dave in 1984 and then by Jam Pony within the same time frame. To me those two DJ’s were the first to create the effect. It was simple, they heard a tape and evetually over time the tape would deterioate and drag and in some people’s opinions the song sounded better and for most folks in the south there was an added bonus…….because of the slowed down song there was more low end the bass hit 10 times as hard! Florida was known for slowing down or speeding up tracks significantly. the first time i ever heard a slowed down or “Dragged Mix” was when Disco Dave dragged Strafe’s classic “Set it Off”. Jam Pony Express DJ’s also followed with this by slowing down songs like Barry White’s “Look At Her” and “Cybotron’s “Cosmic Cars” and most importantly the anthem of 86′ which was 2 Live Crew’s “Throw the Dick”.

 

Nationwide Courtesy of Kid Fury

From a nationwide recording standpoint the first cat to put a “Drag Mix” on a record that sold fairly well was Dj Fury of Bass Patrol/D.M.P. the track was called “Twenty 15′s”. originally the song was the tempo of a Luke song on cocaine but Fury slowed it down to about 75BPM and the bass notes became thicker and the kicks were a Hell of a lot harder. In the liner notes of their debut album Fury labeled the song “Drag Mix”. I normally use that song as an end to the arguement of “who did it first”. Of course time went by and “Chopped an Screwed” mixes came along but in this discussion i wanted to get to the straight up origins of a big piece of southern history. Peace to all of the pioneers like Jam Pony Express DJ’s, Bass Style Express, Disco Dave, Sugarhill Dj’s (Uncle Al R.I.P.), Bass Party Express, Dj Screw, Swisha House and many others.

Bottom Line

- Slowed Down Disco Dave and Jam Pony Mixes = 1984

- Dj Fury Drag Mixes “twenty 15′s” on Debut Album = 1992

- Dj Screw “3 in The Mornin’” = 1995

Here’s Disco Dave slowing down “Electric Kingdom”

Jam Pony Express (1994) “30′s and Vogues”

Bass Patrol “Twenty 15′s” **turn your speakers down**

DJ Fury “Got that knock” (our discussion back on the message boards made him go back and re-create a classic with a style he helped pioneer)

Jam Pony Express “Set it off” Slowed down (86′-ish re-done in 99′)

On a sidenote here’s another example from 1993 from a Tampa group called Quad Squad, it’s a perfect example of Drag Mixes used to augment bass notes……plus if you didn’t know by now the slowed up rendition of Set it Off is a key element in early Florida music you’ll hear it in this song also. Oh and for those that ask “where’s the bass”….it might be too low to register on cheap speakers but for those with a decent sound system it could crack something.

“Fosgate turned up/Fuck around get your new amp burned up!”

[b]Quad Squad “Slow Funk Drag Mix”[/b]

As a disclaimer also this is just my view of the scene. — Galvatron

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18 Responses to “The Origins Of Screwed Music … According To Galvatron”

  1. done says:

    Whoa I was not aware of any of this, you’ve given me a lot to hunt down thanks. Im a fairly big Screw fan too, good work cutty.

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  2. M says:

    Galvy rules.

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  3. Hamza 21 says:

    I remember hearing that Jam Pony Express Throw the Dick slowed down version back in the day. I totally forgot all about until now.

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  4. Droopy says:

    “It was simple, they heard a tape and evetually over time the tape would deterioate and drag and in some people’s opinions the song sounded better and for most folks in the south there was an added bonus…….”

    So was Robert Earl Davis Jr. the first to intentionanlly screw music? Its important to remember that Screw music involves “chopping” as well. It seems like DJ Screw was the first to chop and screw music?

    Also, DJ Screw was doing his thing in the early nineties, not just mid to late.

    Excuse my defensiveness, Im a down south playa. But still thanks for this, very informative and interesting take.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Blast says:

    Earliest Screw stuff is pretty much 90/91. I’ve always given most of the credit for the first drag stuff to Tampa guys like Rock-It-Rod and Money B…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Brandan E. says:

    very good article, good reading
    down here in houston, DJ screw owns it down here.
    its a way of life down here cause Screw is the main thing people jam down here.
    down here everything is slow.

    great stuff tho!

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  7. Me says:

    Have a DL link for that quad squad song?

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    • bonezmccoy says:

      I know I’m getting into this one late, but this is great shit– I’m from houston and this is completely new information to me, so thanks for that! A DL link for that Quad Squad song would be amazing!! Such a great track I had never heard before. Thanks!

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  8. DannyBoy says:

    http://tampahiphop.com/wordpress/archives/216

    Awesome article!!! I just want to send you this for a little supplemental info. I’m really glad you mentioned Jam Pony. My favorite mix tape DJs of all time. Anyway, in summary, this is DJ Kramtronix of Tampa area interviewing a Tampa legend, DJ Rock It Rod. Rock It Rod is known for doing slowed down tapes as far back as ’89. And even he himself says he got the concept from another local DJ, Money B, who had been doing it for years already. Who knows where the chain stops! lol Slick Vic from Jam Pony Express is quoted as saying he first heard the slowed down tapes when he went to Tampa in 1989. Me, not being from Tampa, I heard my first taste of slowed down music in 1991 by a local DJ out of Marianna Florida, DJ Kel Kel. I even remember the song. It was Danny D, That’s The Way I Like It, and Kelly just slowed down the last part of the song where it’s just a minute or so of the beat. Which is one of the biggest things I miss about Southern music, by the way. It was common to let the beat “ride out” for a while at the end of the song, and sometimes even jazz it up a bit with some samples and cuts. Hell, if you knew you had a tight beat, why not let it ride… Anyway, thanks again for an awesome article. Hope this link is helpful to you. Where can I read more articles from you?

    http://tampahiphop.com/wordpress/archives/216

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  9. signalgen says:

    Thing is, just slowing down a record was such a simple concept. Practically everyone who has had turntables has accidentally played a record at the wrong speed and thought “cool.” And being able to turn the table off while it’s still going is a standard DJ trick for everyone using vinyl and that’s part of why DJs insisted on Technics 1200s for so long.

    The DJs doing drag mixes had their own style – and it’s important to note that slowing down Miami Bass and Electro (uptempo dance oriented music) has a very different feeling than slowing down already slow hip-hop and R&B like they do in Texas. The DJ Screw style involves a particular combination of slowing, chopping, and flanging. It’s not just that it hits harder, it puts you in this doped up psychedelic headspace.

    I don’t believe Screw stole it and in my opinion it doesn’t matter who “did it first.” When it comes to slowing a hip-hop record down on purpose, some 8 year old probably “did it first” on his older brother’s Sugarhill Gang record. So what I’m saying is, both styles deserve recognition and props. They aren’t the same thing, they both have different cultures around them, and they’re both dope.

    For the record I’m 32 and from Florida so I grew up thick in Miami Bass and car culture and all that so I’m not just being defensive about DJ Screw.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  10. ShenaniTims says:

    This is awesome. I can remember hearing the Jam Pony Express when my buddy got a job at the local record store. He marveled at these Jam Pony tapes that would fly out of the store as soon as a shipment was delivered. We could never figure out the appeal of it. Fast forward 10-15 years and everyone’s talking about it.

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