It’s a new year, but the chopped and screwed movement hasn’t gone anywhere. Developed on the Houston hip-hop scene in the early 90s, the widespread growth of the chopped and screwed technique has led artists all over America to pay homage, shining a recurring spotlight on the big city once again. DJ Screw, a well known and highly respected Houstonian, innovatively utilized his keen ear for music and talent on the turntables to create a musical movement that would continue for years to come. Though he passed away in 2000, his name lives on as the sound he founded steadily gains attention outside of the Houston city limits and is undoubtedly loved and appreciated by Space City natives.
This form of remixing music is as old as the children of the 90’s! Approximately 20+ years of perfecting the art of slowing and scratching music has led to a movement of the new era, coined Chopped Not Slopped (Chop Not Slop).
“OG Ron C started Chop Stars around ‘07 or ‘08. He had been saying ‘chopped up not slopped up’ starting out as a joke; then it turned into a trend.” said Chop Star DJ, Omar Barton, also known as DJ Candlestick. In 5 years, the Chop Stars have earned a reputation of producing the best chopped and screwed mixes, referring to other DJs’ work as a job sloppily done.
Taking over the new generation’s chopped and screwed music, this dynamic group of DJs have applied their scratching skills to numerous musical projects. The Chop Stars were granted the opportunity to work with artists such as Rick Ross, Dom Kennedy, Casey Veggies, Kendrick Lamar, and Nipsey Hussle.
Chopnotslop.com offers a variety of free tapes, and mixed work to be purchased. They also have merchandise, including shirts, “kupz” and lighters that read “She likes it Chop not Slop” or “I stay Chopped-up, not Slopped-up”.
Gold grills, purple stuff, slab lines, and chop and screw. Houston’s culture is reaching a mainstream audience as outsiders adopt it’s mechanisms to entice different crowds. People from places all over America hear the slowed-down, melodious sound, followed by chopped beats and phrases, and automatically attribute this to the city of Houston. Houstonians are almost expected to listen to it. However, this culture has expanded beyond the South, as the Chop Stars now consist of DJs outside of the greater Houston area: Dallas and Austin, TX; Memphis, TN; Los Angeles, CA; Cleveland, OH; Washington D.C., and various cities in Louisiana. DJ Slim K of Atlanta is well known amongst chop and screw fans, as he collaborated with Houston’s OG Ron C and Candlestick to remix big projects such as Drake’s latest album. “All of my chopped and screwed music comes from OG Ron C and Slim K”, said 22 year-old Diamond Ford of Houston, TX.
There is no confusion between the group of DJ’s as they tackle the hottest music in the streets, independent of a higher decision-maker. “Everybody does their own thing. There’s an understanding, I guess”, admitted Candlestick.
The Chop Star DJs have the freedom to brand themselves as they apply the same scratching skills to different genres of music, giving their personal fan base a variety of chopped and screwed music to vibe to. OG Ron C hosts an F-Action series, where he chops and screws slow jams. “He let me create alternative and reggae F- Action though; I call it Rock it Up and Rasta Love”, explained DJ Candlestick.
The Chop Stars aren’t carrying out DJ Screw’s movement alone as 97.9 The Box, Houston’s original hip hop radio station, hosts a tribute to the Houston culture every Sunday evening with DJ Michael Watts. 93.7 The Beat granted OG Ron C his very own platform every Sunday. Chopped and screwed music flows through thousands of speakers as local artists, old and new-school, are magically mixed generating a riding vibe Houston calls it’s own.
**Originally published to The Young Houston Magazine in 2014**