On June 27, 1996, DJ Screw threw a birthday party for his friend, rapper Big DeMo, where he played a version of Kriss Kross’ “Da Streets Ain’t Right,” only Screw added his own spin to the track.
The style would eventually come to be known as chopped and screwed – a phrase almost synonymous with Houston’s musical identity.
At the party more than 20 years ago, Screw, along with DeMo, Big Moe, Key-C, Youngstar, Big Pokey, Haircut Joe and Kay-Luv dropped freestyle verses on the slowed-down song, all off the top of their head.
The final result that is this impromptu Houston masterpiece ends in total with seven rappers, running well over 30 minutes.
The track, titled “June 27,” became a fixture of the Houston hip-hop scene.
It was also the biggest-selling mixtape out of the more-than-300 Screw made during his career.
DeMo and number of the other rappers featured on the track became part of a Houston rap group known as the “Screwed-Up Click,” or “SUC,” named after their partnership with DJ Screw.
They would go on to be some of the founding fathers of the modern Houston and nationwide hip-hop scene, with many Houstonians and rappers alike crediting DJ Screw and the SUC for getting them into the rap game.
Houston rapper Lil Flip told an interviewer he still uses “June 27” in his shows:
“I end every show freestyling to that beat,’” Flip said. “It’s a soundtrack to the Houston streets.”
“June 27” has become so ingrained in Houston popular culture, many local high school marching bands play the song at Friday night football games.
Sadly, DJ Screw passed away on November 16, 2000, at the age of 29.
The coroner’s report showed the stolen icon died of a codeine overdose, in addition to a mixture of Valium and PCP.
Despite never having a major record deal, DJ Screw became a pioneer in hip-hop, both in Houston and around the world, and the legacy of June 27 lives on forever.