Draped Up & Dripped Out: How Bigtyme Recordz brought DJ Screw to the mainstream



Bigtyme Recordz
In 1989, Russell Washington and his then-wife opened a small tape stand called Musical Concepts out of King’s Flea Market in Houston’s South Park neighborhood. In 1991, inspired by K-Rino’s South Park Coalition, Russell began looking to turn his small business into a full-fledged label, Bigtyme Recordz. After posting flyers around King’s advertising his music production services, it didn’t take long for Russell to recruit local talent UGK. Other acts such as Point Blank, 20-2-Life & PSK-13 signed on shortly after. By the time Bigtyme had five releases under their belt, Russell felt it would be beneficial to release a compilation album. Bigtyme Vol I: Still Afloat was released in 1994, featuring songs from each of Bigtyme’s previous releases. The compilation also included a track from Point Blank’s little brother, .38, who was murdered before the project’s release. I Wanna Fuck was recorded over collect call while .38 was previously incarcerated.



Screwtapes
Elsewhere in the Southside, DJ Screw was making a name for himself in the early 90s by making personalized tapes for his friends. His “chopped & screwed” method initially caused people to think their tapes were broken, but the style quickly caught on as it made perfect music for swangin and bangin in the blistering summer heat.. These tapes became known as Gray Tapes (the colour of the Maxwell cassette that Screw used) or Screwtapes which he’d sell for ten dollars apiece. Screw often recruited his friends and associates to freestyle over the tapes, and they called themselves the Screwed Up Click. The core of the group consisted of Screw, Fat Pat, Pat’s older brother Hawk, Kay-K, Mike D, Big Moe & Lil’ Keke, but there were dozens more such as Big Pokey, E.S.G., LOS, Dat Boy Grace & Lil Randy. Even George Floyd had a handful of freestyles on screwtapes. Screw would often mix all day long, “open” his house for business at 8pm, and then get right back to mixing into the early hours of the morning, often skipping days worth of sleep at a time.

4e5e16_21ca43dafca449beab8588666521e1fb~mv2.png

All Screwed Up
The popularity of Gray Tapes led to DJ Screw selling them on street corners, at shows, and eventually out of his house. People were showing up to Russell Washington’s Musical Concepts, among other stores, desperate to get their hands on a screwtape. However, being an underground artist, Screw never sold out of stores and if he caught wind of his tapes in a record shop, he’d show up and personally confiscate them. Nevertheless, Russell realized the massive potential of teaming with Screw to have him remix some Bigtyme tracks. Bigtyme Recordz was going through a slow spell, with none of their artists currently recording. They had already released the ‘greatest hits’ compilation Still Afloat in order to fill some space, but Russell was looking to put out a new record quickly and for cheap. This had him wondering, “How much would it cost me to have Screw screw my greatest hits?” Screw and Russell had already been briefly acquainted nearly a decade prior when Russell’s mom was in a relationship with Screw’s dad. Russell reached out to Charles Washington, a record promoter who was the closest thing to a manager for Screw. Russell had no direct relation to Charles, but the two attended the same university program earlier. Charles and Screw decided on a price of $400 and 2% royalties. Screw’s price was great news to Russell, who was basically getting his own personal, mass-produced screwtape that he could sell to his customers to meet their demand for some Screw. However, all of Bigtyme’s releases were exclusively cassette or CD, which posed a problem for Screw who used turntables to mix. In order to get Screw a copy of the songs to mix, Russell had to put down $800 for a vinyl test pressing. Once the playlist was pressed up on wax, mixing sessions began at Samplified Digital Recording Studio. Some of Bigtyme’s artists were also present during sessions, with Point Blank at one point copulating with a female in-studio so Screw could mix her moans onto the record (not sure if this ended up on the final product, but I haven’t found it.) Screw utilized multiple turntables, resulting in some absolutely incredible mixes such as; Point Black's My Mind Went Blank with Aaliyah's At Your Best, and UGK's Tell Me Something Good with Art of Noise's Moments in Love. Russell loved Screw’s mix, and before the album was even released, he floated the idea of Screw doing another album with his own choice of songs. Bigtyme Vol. II: All Screwed Up released in late summer of 1995 and proved to be a massive success, selling 65,000+ units.


4e5e16_c791a6e4dac549509292ad2b0feec7ed~mv2.png

3 ‘N The Mornin’
For his second Bigtyme album, a double-CD, DJ Screw had all the creative control. For the first disc, Screw mixed together a sequence of tracks he had already used nearly two-years earlier on a gray tape titled 3 ‘N The Mornin’. The second disc was a brand new mix featuring many of the same West Coast artists. The result was a massive two-and-a-half hours of chopped-up and slowed-down bliss. During the months it took to compile, Bigtyme began to promote the project as a double-disc titled 3 ‘N The Morning: Pt. I & II. An employee named Shakur got ads printed in magazines like Rap Pages and Murder Dog, and even produced a radio ad featuring Screw stashing a body in the back of his trunk. Charles Washington played a major role in the promotion of the project, traveling from state-to-state putting up flyers. He also saw the potential of Screw’s least favourite track, Lil’ Keke’s Pimpin’ the Pen freestyle, as a massive hit. Keke’s freestyle is also the reason Fat Pat had no interest in appearing on the album, as the two were in an escalated rivalry for the title of freestyle king. After sending out promotional one-sheets and receiving nearly 100,000 pre-orders, Bigtyme pumped the brakes on the project after meeting with lawyers and learning that they would be sued into oblivion if they release two discs full of uncleared songs from Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac & LL Cool J. The demand was so immense that they couldn’t simply give up. Instead, Screw started from scratch, retaining some songs from the planned second disc and mixing them with other songs from local artists that would be much easier to clear. Mack-10 was the only West Coast artist they got clearance for to remain on the the final album, thanks to a deal struck between Bigtyme and Priority. Upon its release in late March of 1996, 3 N’ the Mornin’ Pt. 2 [Blue] was a bigger success than Bigtyme ever could have imagined. Within a month, it had made it to #52 of the Billboard Top 200. Houston music store Soundwaves had never seen an album sell out so quickly. Soundwaves’ management contacted Russell and offered to put down the money necessary to press up the original planned version of 3 N’ the Mornin’ Pt. I & II and sell it by mail order exclusively so as not to attract any attention from copyright. If it hadn’t been for this under the table deal, we may have never heard 3 N’ the Mornin’ the way it was meant to be heard by Screw.



What Next?
After the release of 3 ‘N the Mornin’, Screw and Charles had a falling out over the earnings. Having handled the bulk of the record’s promotion, Charles felt short changed when Screw only paid him $2000, a far cry from the 20% he was promised. Screw went right back to mixing gray tapes to sell out of his house and, over the next year, released dozens of mixes every month. During this time, he recorded some of his most acclaimed tapes such as June 27, Endonesia, The Final Chapter, among others. By mid-1997, the unforeseen success of All Screwed Up and 3 ‘N the Mornin’ had helped bring Bigtyme Recordz back from the verge of bankruptcy. Eager to start on a third project, Russell Washington came to Screw again, this time with $10,000 up-front and open access to Priority Records’ catalog. Screw agreed but, due to his busy schedule, the project never came to fruition. Screw was occupied with trying to meet the soaring demand for his tapes. Screwtapes were already a hot commodity but, with the release of Screw’s Bigtyme projects, the demand increased tenfold. Having hundreds of customers lining up outside Screw’s home daily, he caught the unwanted attention of law enforcement, who believed he was selling narcotics. Since Screw was adamant about keeping his tapes out of local record shops, preferring to handle the business himself, the only course of action was starting a shop of his own. Screwed Up Records and Tapes officially opened on February 2, 1998, one day before Fat Pat was tragically murdered by a skeezy record promoter named Weasel, who had owed Pat money. Despite everything happening in his life, Screw never really seemed to slow down in his output. Before his own death of codeine overdose in 2000, he did eventually record another above-ground project for Jam Down Records, but that’s a story for another time. DJ Screw’s influence today is widespread and largely recognized, inspiring major artists such as Travis Scott and Drake. There is no shortage of chopped-and-screwed mixes on Youtube and Soundcloud trying to emulate Screw’s style. All Screwed Up and 3 N’ the Mornin’ stand as hip-hop monuments that helped shape Screw’s identity and bring him more mainstream recognition. All these years later, these projects stand out among the absolute best of DJ Screw’s tapes.

 
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Bigtyme Recordz
In 1989, Russell Washington and his then-wife opened a small tape stand called Musical Concepts out of King’s Flea Market in Houston’s South Park neighborhood. In 1991, inspired by K-Rino’s South Park Coalition, Russell began looking to turn his small business into a full-fledged label, Bigtyme Recordz. After posting flyers around King’s advertising his music production services, it didn’t take long for Russell to recruit local talent UGK. Other acts such as Point Blank, 20-2-Life & PSK-13 signed on shortly after. By the time Bigtyme had five releases under their belt, Russell felt it would be beneficial to release a compilation album. Bigtyme Vol I: Still Afloat was released in 1994, featuring songs from each of Bigtyme’s previous releases. The compilation also included a track from Point Blank’s little brother, .38, who was murdered before the project’s release. I Wanna Fuck was recorded over collect call while .38 was previously incarcerated.



Screwtapes
Elsewhere in the Southside, DJ Screw was making a name for himself in the early 90s by making personalized tapes for his friends. His “chopped & screwed” method initially caused people to think their tapes were broken, but the style quickly caught on as it made perfect music for swangin and bangin in the blistering summer heat.. These tapes became known as Gray Tapes (the colour of the Maxwell cassette that Screw used) or Screwtapes which he’d sell for ten dollars apiece. Screw often recruited his friends and associates to freestyle over the tapes, and they called themselves the Screwed Up Click. The core of the group consisted of Screw, Fat Pat, Pat’s older brother Hawk, Kay-K, Mike D, Big Moe & Lil’ Keke, but there were dozens more such as Big Pokey, E.S.G., LOS, Dat Boy Grace & Lil Randy. Even George Floyd had a handful of freestyles on screwtapes. Screw would often mix all day long, “open” his house for business at 8pm, and then get right back to mixing into the early hours of the morning, often skipping days worth of sleep at a time.

View attachment 28827

All Screwed Up
The popularity of Gray Tapes led to DJ Screw selling them on street corners, at shows, and eventually out of his house. People were showing up to Russell Washington’s Musical Concepts, among other stores, desperate to get their hands on a screwtape. However, being an underground artist, Screw never sold out of stores and if he caught wind of his tapes in a record shop, he’d show up and personally confiscate them. Nevertheless, Russell realized the massive potential of teaming with Screw to have him remix some Bigtyme tracks. Bigtyme Recordz was going through a slow spell, with none of their artists currently recording. They had already released the ‘greatest hits’ compilation Still Afloat in order to fill some space, but Russell was looking to put out a new record quickly and for cheap. This had him wondering, “How much would it cost me to have Screw screw my greatest hits?” Screw and Russell had already been briefly acquainted nearly a decade prior when Russell’s mom was in a relationship with Screw’s dad. Russell reached out to Charles Washington, a record promoter who was the closest thing to a manager for Screw. Russell had no direct relation to Charles, but the two attended the same university program earlier. Charles and Screw decided on a price of $400 and 2% royalties. Screw’s price was great news to Russell, who was basically getting his own personal, mass-produced screwtape that he could sell to his customers to meet their demand for some Screw. However, all of Bigtyme’s releases were exclusively cassette or CD, which posed a problem for Screw who used turntables to mix. In order to get Screw a copy of the songs to mix, Russell had to put down $800 for a vinyl test pressing. Once the playlist was pressed up on wax, mixing sessions began at Samplified Digital Recording Studio. Some of Bigtyme’s artists were also present during sessions, with Point Blank at one point copulating with a female in-studio so Screw could mix her moans onto the record (not sure if this ended up on the final product, but I haven’t found it.) Screw utilized multiple turntables, resulting in some absolutely incredible mixes such as; Point Black's My Mind Went Blank with Aaliyah's At Your Best, and UGK's Tell Me Something Good with Art of Noise's Moments in Love. Russell loved Screw’s mix, and before the album was even released, he floated the idea of Screw doing another album with his own choice of songs. Bigtyme Vol. II: All Screwed Up released in late summer of 1995 and proved to be a massive success, selling 65,000+ units.


View attachment 28828

3 ‘N The Mornin’
For his second Bigtyme album, a double-CD, DJ Screw had all the creative control. For the first disc, Screw mixed together a sequence of tracks he had already used nearly two-years earlier on a gray tape titled 3 ‘N The Mornin’. The second disc was a brand new mix featuring many of the same West Coast artists. The result was a massive two-and-a-half hours of chopped-up and slowed-down bliss. During the months it took to compile, Bigtyme began to promote the project as a double-disc titled 3 ‘N The Morning: Pt. I & II. An employee named Shakur got ads printed in magazines like Rap Pages and Murder Dog, and even produced a radio ad featuring Screw stashing a body in the back of his trunk. Charles Washington played a major role in the promotion of the project, traveling from state-to-state putting up flyers. He also saw the potential of Screw’s least favourite track, Lil’ Keke’s Pimpin’ the Pen freestyle, as a massive hit. Keke’s freestyle is also the reason Fat Pat had no interest in appearing on the album, as the two were in an escalated rivalry for the title of freestyle king. After sending out promotional one-sheets and receiving nearly 100,000 pre-orders, Bigtyme pumped the brakes on the project after meeting with lawyers and learning that they would be sued into oblivion if they release two discs full of uncleared songs from Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac & LL Cool J. The demand was so immense that they couldn’t simply give up. Instead, Screw started from scratch, retaining some songs from the planned second disc and mixing them with other songs from local artists that would be much easier to clear. Mack-10 was the only West Coast artist they got clearance for to remain on the the final album, thanks to a deal struck between Bigtyme and Priority. Upon its release in late March of 1996, 3 N’ the Mornin’ Pt. 2 [Blue] was a bigger success than Bigtyme ever could have imagined. Within a month, it had made it to #52 of the Billboard Top 200. Houston music store Soundwaves had never seen an album sell out so quickly. Soundwaves’ management contacted Russell and offered to put down the money necessary to press up the original planned version of 3 N’ the Mornin’ Pt. I & II and sell it by mail order exclusively so as not to attract any attention from copyright. If it hadn’t been for this under the table deal, we may have never heard 3 N’ the Mornin’ the way it was meant to be heard by Screw.



What Next?
After the release of 3 ‘N the Mornin’, Screw and Charles had a falling out over the earnings. Having handled the bulk of the record’s promotion, Charles felt short changed when Screw only paid him $2000, a far cry from the 20% he was promised. Screw went right back to mixing gray tapes to sell out of his house and, over the next year, released dozens of mixes every month. During this time, he recorded some of his most acclaimed tapes such as June 27, Endonesia, The Final Chapter, among others. By mid-1997, the unforeseen success of All Screwed Up and 3 ‘N the Mornin’ had helped bring Bigtyme Recordz back from the verge of bankruptcy. Eager to start on a third project, Russell Washington came to Screw again, this time with $10,000 up-front and open access to Priority Records’ catalog. Screw agreed but, due to his busy schedule, the project never came to fruition. Screw was occupied with trying to meet the soaring demand for his tapes. Screwtapes were already a hot commodity but, with the release of Screw’s Bigtyme projects, the demand increased tenfold. Having hundreds of customers lining up outside Screw’s home daily, he caught the unwanted attention of law enforcement, who believed he was selling narcotics. Since Screw was adamant about keeping his tapes out of local record shops, preferring to handle the business himself, the only course of action was starting a shop of his own. Screwed Up Records and Tapes officially opened on February 2, 1998, one day before Fat Pat was tragically murdered by a skeezy record promoter named Weasel, who had owed Pat money. Despite everything happening in his life, Screw never really seemed to slow down in his output. Before his own death of codeine overdose in 2000, he did eventually record another above-ground project for Jam Down Records, but that’s a story for another time. DJ Screw’s influence today is widespread and largely recognized, inspiring major artists such as Travis Scott and Drake. There is no shortage of chopped-and-screwed mixes on Youtube and Soundcloud trying to emulate Screw’s style. All Screwed Up and 3 N’ the Mornin’ stand as hip-hop monuments that helped shape Screw’s identity and bring him more mainstream recognition. All these years later, these projects stand out among the absolute best of DJ Screw’s tapes.

Bro who the fuck is dj screw never heard of him till this
 
great shit as always dude, you're probably the best author on the site right now. june 27's beat has been stuck in my head for over 10 years, that whole freestyle is basically lightning in a bottle. it's surprising how little people will mention screw when it comes to the best rap producers.

always looking forward to reading your shit since you actually go in depth and usually post hard to find information, i followed the DOOMSTARKS hype as i grew up and was super surprised to find info i've never seen before. i was really looking forward to the wu-tang article for this reason. is it still coming out?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zonark000 and MTTL
great shit as always dude, you're probably the best author on the site right now. june 27's beat has been stuck in my head for over 10 years, that whole freestyle is basically lightning in a bottle. it's surprising how little people will mention screw when it comes to the best rap producers.

always looking forward to reading your shit since you actually go in depth and usually post hard to find information, i followed the DOOMSTARKS hype as i grew up and was super surprised to find info i've never seen before. i was really looking forward to the wu-tang article for this reason. is it still coming out?
Still coming! just going, very, very slowly. I was originally going to cover the original 5-year Wu run, but now it's evolved into a full on wu-tang retrospective which i'll be covering in multiple parts. I've been super busy with school and work lately, but I promise it's still coming.
 
  • Like
Reactions: telephone
Still coming! just going, very, very slowly. I was originally going to cover the original 5-year Wu run, but now it's evolved into a full on wu-tang retrospective which i'll be covering in multiple parts. I've been super busy with school and work lately, but I promise it's still coming.
no worries and hell yeah man! super glad to hear that it's evolved past the 5 year plan, those articles are going to be huge lol. i think people would be really surprised to find out that there was still a ton of interesting shit going on after wu-tang forever, honestly can't wait to read it and find new info on what happened with shit like 8 diagrams
 
man these cover arts are so legendary, great article about one of the figures of southern rap, rip dj screw
 


Bigtyme Recordz
In 1989, Russell Washington and his then-wife opened a small tape stand called Musical Concepts out of King’s Flea Market in Houston’s South Park neighborhood. In 1991, inspired by K-Rino’s South Park Coalition, Russell began looking to turn his small business into a full-fledged label, Bigtyme Recordz. After posting flyers around King’s advertising his music production services, it didn’t take long for Russell to recruit local talent UGK. Other acts such as Point Blank, 20-2-Life & PSK-13 signed on shortly after. By the time Bigtyme had five releases under their belt, Russell felt it would be beneficial to release a compilation album. Bigtyme Vol I: Still Afloat was released in 1994, featuring songs from each of Bigtyme’s previous releases. The compilation also included a track from Point Blank’s little brother, .38, who was murdered before the project’s release. I Wanna Fuck was recorded over collect call while .38 was previously incarcerated.



Screwtapes
Elsewhere in the Southside, DJ Screw was making a name for himself in the early 90s by making personalized tapes for his friends. His “chopped & screwed” method initially caused people to think their tapes were broken, but the style quickly caught on as it made perfect music for swangin and bangin in the blistering summer heat.. These tapes became known as Gray Tapes (the colour of the Maxwell cassette that Screw used) or Screwtapes which he’d sell for ten dollars apiece. Screw often recruited his friends and associates to freestyle over the tapes, and they called themselves the Screwed Up Click. The core of the group consisted of Screw, Fat Pat, Pat’s older brother Hawk, Kay-K, Mike D, Big Moe & Lil’ Keke, but there were dozens more such as Big Pokey, E.S.G., LOS, Dat Boy Grace & Lil Randy. Even George Floyd had a handful of freestyles on screwtapes. Screw would often mix all day long, “open” his house for business at 8pm, and then get right back to mixing into the early hours of the morning, often skipping days worth of sleep at a time.

View attachment 28827

All Screwed Up
The popularity of Gray Tapes led to DJ Screw selling them on street corners, at shows, and eventually out of his house. People were showing up to Russell Washington’s Musical Concepts, among other stores, desperate to get their hands on a screwtape. However, being an underground artist, Screw never sold out of stores and if he caught wind of his tapes in a record shop, he’d show up and personally confiscate them. Nevertheless, Russell realized the massive potential of teaming with Screw to have him remix some Bigtyme tracks. Bigtyme Recordz was going through a slow spell, with none of their artists currently recording. They had already released the ‘greatest hits’ compilation Still Afloat in order to fill some space, but Russell was looking to put out a new record quickly and for cheap. This had him wondering, “How much would it cost me to have Screw screw my greatest hits?” Screw and Russell had already been briefly acquainted nearly a decade prior when Russell’s mom was in a relationship with Screw’s dad. Russell reached out to Charles Washington, a record promoter who was the closest thing to a manager for Screw. Russell had no direct relation to Charles, but the two attended the same university program earlier. Charles and Screw decided on a price of $400 and 2% royalties. Screw’s price was great news to Russell, who was basically getting his own personal, mass-produced screwtape that he could sell to his customers to meet their demand for some Screw. However, all of Bigtyme’s releases were exclusively cassette or CD, which posed a problem for Screw who used turntables to mix. In order to get Screw a copy of the songs to mix, Russell had to put down $800 for a vinyl test pressing. Once the playlist was pressed up on wax, mixing sessions began at Samplified Digital Recording Studio. Some of Bigtyme’s artists were also present during sessions, with Point Blank at one point copulating with a female in-studio so Screw could mix her moans onto the record (not sure if this ended up on the final product, but I haven’t found it.) Screw utilized multiple turntables, resulting in some absolutely incredible mixes such as; Point Black's My Mind Went Blank with Aaliyah's At Your Best, and UGK's Tell Me Something Good with Art of Noise's Moments in Love. Russell loved Screw’s mix, and before the album was even released, he floated the idea of Screw doing another album with his own choice of songs. Bigtyme Vol. II: All Screwed Up released in late summer of 1995 and proved to be a massive success, selling 65,000+ units.


View attachment 28828

3 ‘N The Mornin’
For his second Bigtyme album, a double-CD, DJ Screw had all the creative control. For the first disc, Screw mixed together a sequence of tracks he had already used nearly two-years earlier on a gray tape titled 3 ‘N The Mornin’. The second disc was a brand new mix featuring many of the same West Coast artists. The result was a massive two-and-a-half hours of chopped-up and slowed-down bliss. During the months it took to compile, Bigtyme began to promote the project as a double-disc titled 3 ‘N The Morning: Pt. I & II. An employee named Shakur got ads printed in magazines like Rap Pages and Murder Dog, and even produced a radio ad featuring Screw stashing a body in the back of his trunk. Charles Washington played a major role in the promotion of the project, traveling from state-to-state putting up flyers. He also saw the potential of Screw’s least favourite track, Lil’ Keke’s Pimpin’ the Pen freestyle, as a massive hit. Keke’s freestyle is also the reason Fat Pat had no interest in appearing on the album, as the two were in an escalated rivalry for the title of freestyle king. After sending out promotional one-sheets and receiving nearly 100,000 pre-orders, Bigtyme pumped the brakes on the project after meeting with lawyers and learning that they would be sued into oblivion if they release two discs full of uncleared songs from Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac & LL Cool J. The demand was so immense that they couldn’t simply give up. Instead, Screw started from scratch, retaining some songs from the planned second disc and mixing them with other songs from local artists that would be much easier to clear. Mack-10 was the only West Coast artist they got clearance for to remain on the the final album, thanks to a deal struck between Bigtyme and Priority. Upon its release in late March of 1996, 3 N’ the Mornin’ Pt. 2 [Blue] was a bigger success than Bigtyme ever could have imagined. Within a month, it had made it to #52 of the Billboard Top 200. Houston music store Soundwaves had never seen an album sell out so quickly. Soundwaves’ management contacted Russell and offered to put down the money necessary to press up the original planned version of 3 N’ the Mornin’ Pt. I & II and sell it by mail order exclusively so as not to attract any attention from copyright. If it hadn’t been for this under the table deal, we may have never heard 3 N’ the Mornin’ the way it was meant to be heard by Screw.



What Next?
After the release of 3 ‘N the Mornin’, Screw and Charles had a falling out over the earnings. Having handled the bulk of the record’s promotion, Charles felt short changed when Screw only paid him $2000, a far cry from the 20% he was promised. Screw went right back to mixing gray tapes to sell out of his house and, over the next year, released dozens of mixes every month. During this time, he recorded some of his most acclaimed tapes such as June 27, Endonesia, The Final Chapter, among others. By mid-1997, the unforeseen success of All Screwed Up and 3 ‘N the Mornin’ had helped bring Bigtyme Recordz back from the verge of bankruptcy. Eager to start on a third project, Russell Washington came to Screw again, this time with $10,000 up-front and open access to Priority Records’ catalog. Screw agreed but, due to his busy schedule, the project never came to fruition. Screw was occupied with trying to meet the soaring demand for his tapes. Screwtapes were already a hot commodity but, with the release of Screw’s Bigtyme projects, the demand increased tenfold. Having hundreds of customers lining up outside Screw’s home daily, he caught the unwanted attention of law enforcement, who believed he was selling narcotics. Since Screw was adamant about keeping his tapes out of local record shops, preferring to handle the business himself, the only course of action was starting a shop of his own. Screwed Up Records and Tapes officially opened on February 2, 1998, one day before Fat Pat was tragically murdered by a skeezy record promoter named Weasel, who had owed Pat money. Despite everything happening in his life, Screw never really seemed to slow down in his output. Before his own death of codeine overdose in 2000, he did eventually record another above-ground project for Jam Down Records, but that’s a story for another time. DJ Screw’s influence today is widespread and largely recognized, inspiring major artists such as Travis Scott and Drake. There is no shortage of chopped-and-screwed mixes on Youtube and Soundcloud trying to emulate Screw’s style. All Screwed Up and 3 N’ the Mornin’ stand as hip-hop monuments that helped shape Screw’s identity and bring him more mainstream recognition. All these years later, these projects stand out among the absolute best of DJ Screw’s tapes.


 
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