When Hip-Hop meets tech, you get late Houston legend DJ Screw who innovated recording technology in a way that birthed a chopped and screwed movement that still exists today.
In an effort to carry on Screw’s music legacy, Houston music authority OG Ron C founded The Chopstars — a Houston-based collective of DJs and turntablists — to preserve the chopped and screwed technique.
The Chopstars — which consists of members like DJ Candlestick, DJ Lil Steve, DJ Hollygrove, and others — all adopted this special technique and have managed to maintain its momentum in the music industry for nearly two decades.
“Chopping and screwing, in essence, is turntablism/DJing,” The Chopstars’ DJ Slim K shared. “What makes it innovative is the fact that it’s one of, if not, the only DJ technique [that exists] in 2020 where you still have to use turntable skills.”
Unlike today’s class of DJs who heavily rely on recording technology to do most of the work for them, The Chopstars make use of their skills to manipulate and remix popular songs and projects.
“Nowadays the average DJ has the controls that basically make the effects for you,” DJ Slim K said. “Us chopping and screwing, we have the effects on hand but The Chopstars for the most part do the turntablism where we still use our hands.”
DJ Slim K — who currently uses a Pioneer DDJ-1000SRT turntable — describes the collective’s methods as old school, revealing that many of their tactics utilize different DJ techniques like breaks, scratches, and flangers.
In order to keep the chopped and screwed movement pushing forward, The Chopstars stay in tune with the current music scene and always keep an eye out for new prospects to recruit.
“[The Chopstars] always bring in new talent because DJing and Hip-Hop kind of go hand in hand,” DJ Slim K said. “Hip-Hop is always about giving a voice to the youth.”
According to him, there’s been many DJs who have joined The Chopstars within the last two years as the group continues to grow and expand.
“We bring them in and see the ones that are upholding the culture and we move them up the ranks,” he continued. “Then we always look out for people who are showing new innovative ways to push the culture forward and we bring them on.”
Similar to the collective’s composition, The Chopstar’s motto, “keeping DJ Screw alive since 2001,” is also demonstrated in every major music release that gets its chopped not slopped treatment — including Metro Boomin & 21 Savage’s most recent release, “Savage Mode 2.”
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“They started a new thing now that’s probably going to become a trend in the future,” DJ Slim K declared. “You already have your cohesive project, then instead of watering [it] down with songs you may not have released beforehand, you can just release a remixed version and still bring extra revenue in.”
According to a report from Billboard, deluxe albums have been a tactic used in the music industry to prolong an album’s shelf-life. However, the trend has become much more popular this year now that coronavirus has shut the live industry down.
“For a lot of these deluxe projects, artists are only doing that because they’re trying to bring extra money in due to the times that we’re in with COVID,” DJ Slim K shared.
While instant deluxe albums have raised concerns among fans during the streaming era, the hyped up marketing tool may be here to stay until in-person concerts can resume. This is why artists should explore new ways of packaging and releasing their music that doesn’t involve adding additional songs to an already released album.
“With a remixed project, it’s bringing a brand new sound to a song and pushing your music to other audiences that might not have checked it out before,” DJ Slim K concluded.
He also shared that many Texas natives exclusively listen to chopped not slopped music — an untapped market for many artists that could potentially increase their visibility among new audiences.
In order to propel the chopped and screwed sound and escape this trend that’s currently dominating the industry, DJ Slim K suggests that artists release songs or projects that are only available as chopped not slopped remixes.
The Chopstars hope for the chopped and screwed movement is to continue making waves in the industry so the next generation can carry the torch for the late DJ Screw.
For more information about The Chopstars, click here.