June 27 just passed- but the legacy of DJ Screw lives on each and everyday in the city of Houston. We’ve seen rap cliques come and go, but very few actually touch the impact of Screwed Up Click.
This somewhat because there were so many members. At some point in time, there were about 30 people who were considered apart of and affiliated with S.U.C. Screwed Up Click was an assortment of rappers and friends from the Southside of Houston, Texas.
Of course, the central figure of S.U.C., was none other than DJ Screw. We know him for his trademark of the slowed down sound of his music, hence the term “chopped and screwed.” During the early ’90s, he invited some of Houston’s most renowned rappers from the southside of the city to flow on his Screw tapes. This eventually led to the formation of the Screwed Up Click.
The original members of the S.U.C. include DJ Screw himself, Kay-K, Lil’ Keke, Fat Pat, Big Hawk, Big Pokey, Botany Boyz ( C-Note, Will-Lean, B.G. Gator, & D-Red ), Big Jut, Big Moe, Z-Ro, Lil’ O, Trae, Dat Boy Grace, Southside Playaz ( Mike D, Clay Doe, & Mr. 3-2 ), Lil’ Head, Lil’ 3rd, C-Ward and E.S.G.
The tapes Screw put together included freestyles from all of these artists. Because the freestyles were so popular, the demand for the tapes increased. For a period of five or six years, DJ Screw’s homemade “screw tapes” or “gray tapes” (named for the color of the Maxell cassettes he used) basically replaced radio on the south side as the source for hearing new music. Houston, Texas is had alway been a major cultural hub for hip-hop artists that rather take the independent route, vs. the major label route.
The trends that the SUC freestyled about—wearing diamonds on their teeth, driving colorful custom cars called “slabs” and drinking the codeine promethazine, what we know as drank, became permanently associated with DJ Screw and the S.U.C.
The collective of Houston artists would go on to have great success. Lil Flip would go on to have national recognition with his music, Lil Keke, who’s regarded as the S.U.C. captain, helps to keep the legacy of DJ Screw and S.U.C. alive.
In 1998 the murder of SUC member Fat Pat happened, shortly before the release of his first album, cutting off a promising career. Death would continue to leave a shadow around the S.U.C.; DJ Screw passed in 2000, HAWK was murdered in 2006, Big Moe died in 2007, and affiliate artist Pimp C died in 2007 as well.
Despite the deaths of several members and the incarceration of others, members of S.U.C. continue to produce music.Two of the younger members of the Screwed Up Click, Z-Ro and Trae, achieved new levels of popularity with well-received projects like Z-Ro’s bluesy The Life of Joseph McVey and Trae’s Restless.
Since the release of those albums, both Z-Ro and Trae and other artists have continued to make music, and support the city of Houston. Outside of the music, Trae has done some remarkable work within the city of Houston including multiple philanthropic projects. His annual Trae Day is coming up this month at Bayou Park here in the city of Houston.