DJ Screw’s story is set to hit the big screen.
Sony Pictures announced on Friday (December 18) they were developing a biopic on the legendary Houston musician and producer based upon Isaac Yowman’s All Screwed Up visual tribute, which premiered on November 16. Yowman will serve as executive producer of the film.
All Screwed Up was done with the blessing of Screw’s family along with Screwed Up Click luminaries such as Lil Keke. It was released in conjunction with The Incubation Lab, a program headed by Jeron Smith meant to “identify and develop feature projects from nontraditional storytellers and underrepresented talent.”
“Jeron and Maia (Eyre) have been extremely helpful and transparent in navigating me through this process,” Yowman said in a statement. “They’ve committed to making sure my voice as a black filmmaker is heard and the team we’re building is super solid. I can tell Sony genuinely wants to see me grow as a creative, and that means a lot. The family is happy and so am I.”
Screw, born Robert Earl Davis Jr, rose to prominence in the mid to late 1990s in Houston with “chopped and screwed,” a DJ technique of purposefully slowing down records to create a hazy, almost intoxicating sound. His popularity grew to the point of having to create a storefront where he would sell his legendary Screw tapes such as Chapter 182: Ridin’ Dirty and Southside Still’ Holdin. He died in 2000 of a codeine overdose at the age of 29.
The legacy of Screw’s sound has endured over 20 years after his death. Even as chopped and screwed music has gone mainstream thanks to Screw disciples such as OG Ron C and The Chopstars, DJ Michael Watts, DJ Slim K, DJ Candlestick and records from Travis Scott, Drake, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin and more, those who grew up on the sound are educating those who didn’t.
In August, a TikTok user highlighted how another Screw-like remix style “slow and reverb” had become popular by a DJ named Slater, not attributing credit to the esteemed Houston DJ. Fans of Screw, such as comedian KevOnStage and journalist Donnie Houston quickly chose to explain why without Screw, the “slow and reverb phenomenon” wouldn’t exist.
“White people, y’all don’t know what y’all be talking about but you be confidently loud and wrong!” KevOnStage began. “You really tried to gentrify chopped and screwed. I know you don’t know who DJ Screw is, but I guarantee you Slater is not the inventor of ‘slowed and reverb.’ This is called chopped and screwed. DJ Screw – Houston, Texas rest in peace – is the one who is the originator of this. You talk about originator? This was originated before you were born! I don’t know who Slater is but he is not DJ Screw.”