Monday, November 19, 2007

Slowed and Thowed: Pharmacomusical Meditation

Michael Veal traces dub's influence on other forms of music in different geographic locations at the end of his book Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae. While he quickly glosses over the well-documented emergence of the hip-hop scene in New York, it is important to note that many of dub's production techniques and cultural production happen in other African diasporas. The South has contributed to the development of American music by injecting the blues, jazz, gospel and other styles produced by African-American communities. Of specific interest to me is screwed and chopped music, which has evolved out of Houston Texas, which has corollaries in memory, fragmentation, pharmacology, and consumption. In my examination, I take a look at “Servin a duce” by DJ Screw, “Still Tippin'” featuring Mike Jones, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall, “Cadillac on 22's (screwed and chopped)” by David Banner, “Love and Happiness (Al Green screwed and chopped),” and Kid606's “Robitussin Motherfucker (DJ Screw RIP).” I conclude by noting screwed and chopped's ability through pharmaceuticals and production methods to create a meditation space for resolving some issues I have with Southern rap culture.

Here's a YouTube playlist for a sampling of some screw videos and videos of DJ Screw and DJ Kralos producing screw tracks:

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