When it comes to the world of hip-hop in 2021, it’s hard to downplay the importance of Houston, Texas. For one thing, it’s the hometown of Megan Thee Stallion, who is one of the most influential, and certainly the most resilient, rapper doing it right now. Don’t even get Texans started on the impact of Beyonce — we’ll be here all night. But even deeper than that, the influence of early ’90s pioneer DJ Screw is felt everywhere. A new documentary from Texan filmmaker Isaac Yowman attempts to pin down just how important Screw and his chopped and screwed style was for the evolution of modern rap music.
The feature length film is scheduled to come out at the end of this year, though distributors and streaming partners are still being determined. Along with Yowman, the film was executive produced by Joseph Litzinger, of Life Below Zero, and includes Bruce Kalmick and Darby Wheeler and Rodrigo Bascunan, the producers of Netflix’s Peabody and Emmy-winning show Hip Hop Evolution. Additionally, Michelle Wheeler, the sister of DJ Screw, was a consulting producer on the project.
Along with Screw’ impact on the music industry, the film also addresses his issues with police brutality and racism. Considering Screw was friends with George Floyd, who was a member of his Screwed Up Click, the connection with those issues runs deep. His story is told through first person interviews with people who were close to him and artists that cite his work as an influence. The film will explore his rise, the impact of his sound, and his death in 2000.
“The idea of telling the story of DJ Screw is just as important today as it was during the time of his passing in 2000,” Yowman told Billboard in an official statement. “A tale of overcoming the odds, racial injustice and inspiration to many. This film will show the power of a man that prevailed over the adversities that blanketed his community and used his experiences to create a legacy that lives on today. Screw’s impact on southern culture is no secret, but his influence on music globally is a story untold.”
Check out the trailer above.