In case you missed the memo, it’s Black Music Month; which means all throughout the United States of Repealed Abortion Rights, Black singers, musicians, hip-hop legends, and omnipresent mumble rappers have been getting showered with social media challenges, a little extra love from this very publication, and a complimentary side of very much-deserved flowers.
In Houston, they’ve made it a point to keep that same energy, as evidenced by legendary DJ OG Ron C; musical director Dr. Anne Lundy, the first Black woman to conduct the Scott Joplin Houston Orchestra; and Jill Scott’s favorite whisky, Crown Royal; combining superpowers to celebrate the life and legacy of the original chopped and screwed innovator, DJ Screw, on Monday night during their DJ Screw Day celebration. Prior to the festivities, OG Ron C chopped it up with The Root to discuss DJ Screw’s importance to Houston, how his influence still resonates throughout the music industry in the decades since his passing, and why Crown Royal Aged 18 Year was the perfect partner to help facilitate a luxurious night of music, art and H-Town culture.
“DJ Screw Day means a lot to the city because Screw helped cultivate the culture of H-Town slowed down music,” OG Ron C said. “He helped to just bring that culture to the world. This day was actually [rapper] DeMo’s birthday, so it was a celebration already.”
That celebration would take form with the release of Screw’s magnum opus, “June 27”, a 35-minute freestyle that featured Big Moe, Yungstar, Key-C, Big Pokey, and others pledging allegiance to their H-Town soil over—of all things—a slowed-down instrumental break of Kris Kross’ “The Street’s Ain’t Right”.
Yet despite the reverence that Texas and other regions throughout the world have for Screw’s contributions, OG Ron C makes it abundantly clear that Screw deserves his flowers not for creating slowed-down music—which the Swishahouse co-founder insists actually originated in Florida—but for popularizing the genre by sprinkling his own seasoning on it.
“DJ Screw was at the forefront; he was the leader and the pioneer of making it cool,” he said. ”That’s the reason why we honor and respect DJ screw. For making it cool. DJ Screw never said, ‘I’m the first person to slow down records.’ He never said that either. He said, ‘I do what I do. I’m DJ Screw.”
Prior to his death on November 16, 2000, Screw churned out over 300 mixtapes from his modest home studio and left an indelible mark on the soul and sound of the city that’s still felt to this day. That’s why OG Ron C’s decision to partner with Crown Royal 18 Year Old in order to combine the chopped and screwed sound with elements of spoken word, dance, and live orchestration—courtesy of Dr. Anne Lundy and the Scott Joplin Houston Orchestra—is such an astonishing feat.
It also doesn’t hurt that this one-of-a-kind experience was infused with surprise performances from Houston rap legends like Lil’ Keke, Paul Wall, and Slim Thug, as well as tributes to hometown heroes like UGK, Lil’ Troy, and Fat Pat.
“We’ve been doing this stuff for a long time,” OG Ron C said of his decision to join forces with Crown Royal. “I’m happy for this partnership with Crown Royal because they’ve always been community-driven and supportive of [our] community.”
As part of that partnership, aside from honoring DJ Screw on Monday night, OG Ron C has curated a Spotify playlist, “Extra Rare: Chopped & Screwed”. Over the next 18 days, Crown Royal 18 Year Old will donate $1 to the Community Music Center of Houston—a non-profit organization whose mission is the preservation, appreciation and performance of music that reflects black music traditions—for every like or stream the playlist receives in order to help allow Houston’s rich history of music and culture to thrive.
So run those streams up, and for those interested in learning more about OG Ron C and his partnership with Crown Royal, hit up their website.