Chopping Neoliberalism, Screwing the Industry: DJ Screw, the Dirty South, and the Temporal Politics of Resistance
Sinnreich, A. & Dols, S. (2022). Chopping Neoliberalism, Screwing the Industry: DJ Screw, the Dirty South, and the Temporal Politics of Resistance. In R. Christopher (Ed.), Boogie down predictions: Hip-Hop, Time, and Afrofuturism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
12 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2022
Date Written: October 1, 2022
DJ Screw, born Robert Earl Davis, died too young to see the music that he invented (and to which he gave his name) become the globally celebrated musical genre it is today. Chopped and screwed music, which began as a local Houston hip-hop subculture, distributed physically via mixtapes at parties and local brick-and-mortar retail establishments, has now become a widely recognized genre embraced and emulated by pop stars and promoted by major record labels. While DJ Screw and his creative partners in Houston’s Screwed Up Click are now far more widely known than they were before his death at the turn of the century, their legacy has a monodimensional and even pejorative aspect to it — one in which the music has become a sonic marker of drug abuse, and a symbol of the degradation and decadence of the “Dirty South.” In this article, we aim to broaden Screw’s legacy, and to valorize the politically resistant aspects of chopped and screwed music, by illuminating the articulation between hip-hop as a political art form and the rise of the “slow media” as a global counterhegemonic movement.
Keywords: hip hop, music, neoliberalism, slow media, political resistance
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