From Coast to Coast: A Tour of DJ Screw's Record Collection



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Hip-hop is a regional genre with unique sounds and subcultures emerging from different places. Robert Earl Davis Jr., professionally known as DJ Screw, combined records from different geographical locations and genres to create his famous mixtapes known as "screw tapes." UH Libraries Special Collections houses over 1600 of DJ Screw's personal albums and singles in the DJ Screw Sound Recordings collection. Showcasing them by location reveals the types of artists DJ Screw included in his mixtapes, and how place influenced his work. Geographical location is a defining feature and marker of authenticity for hip-hop. The music is a form of story-telling which emphasizes the lived experiences of growing up in urban neighborhoods, with artists turning the local into the universal by rapping about their lives. DJ Screw highlighted his home base of Houston through the Screwed Up Click, a rap collective, and featured local artists on tapes. Screw also highlighted the work of artists in other regions through his use of his record collection to make tapes, borrowing sounds from artists across the United States. DJ Screw found his place within the local Houston hip-hop scene by manipulating physical records to create Screw tapes, which combined slowed down recordings of songs with verses freestyled by local rappers and friends. DJ Screw's record collection reveals valuable insights about the importance of place within hip-hop and the unique subcultures in different parts of the country.



Political science, University of Houston Special Collections