There would be no chopped-and-screwed mix without the legend that is DJ Screw… but did you know he was also quite the entrepreneur?
Wednesday (Nov. 16) marks 22 years since the world lost the legend that is DJ Screw. Yet, his legacy lives on forever. Not only did the musician, whose real name was Robert Earl Davis Jr., come in and completely change the game by literally altering the way we listen to music, but DJ Screw was also quite the entrepreneur and it started with a few friends paying him $10 to record slowed-down versions of mixtapes, Texas Monthly reports.
DJ Screw would sell $15,000 worth of mixtapes a day. He made seven-figures a year selling tapes out of his house, his car trunk, and at car shows.
One of my favorite hip-hop entrepreneurs. RIP.
— Dan Runcie (@RuncieDan) October 11, 2022
How It All Started
His first manager, Charles Washington, revealed that at first, he was a bit skeptical of the request.
“Screw thought the guy was crazy,” he shared. “But he did it, and the next day Screw’s friend came back with a couple of friends who also wanted slowed-down tapes.”
Prior to his untimely death at the age of 29, DJ Screw was selling approximately $15,000 worth of mixtapers per day, sometimes out of his whip, at car shows, and where it all started from home.
DJ Screw... The Ultimate Hip Hop Entrepreneur
Taking the Maxwell chrome tapes purchased in bulk from Sams Club- known to people as grays, DJ Screw would place slowed down versions of his bass-heavy mixes and record them over the cassettes, which all donned names specifically curated by the hip hop legend.
At the time, DJ Screw did not use fancy cover art to promote his music, nor were the names of the songs listed for people to view ahead of time. Instead, the cassette tapes featured a label with titles like “From South Side Still Holding, “Syrup and Soda,” and a plethora of others, as well as his pager number so people knew how to get in touch with him to collab.
It wasn’t long before he began to sell so many tapes that the pages stopped being answered.
“He was all about slowing down, chilling out, smoking a little weed,” Washington explained. “No more hating. Screw became a part of life.”
DJ Screw's Legacy Continues
DJ Screw was light years ahead of his time. Today, he continues to influence the next generation of artists like fellow Texas natives, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Trae the Truth, and more.
In fact, Houston native Travis Scott, who has been outspoken about the influence that DJ Screw has had on him as an artist, will serve as an executive producer in the upcoming biopic that will honor the late Screwed Up Click leader’s legacy.