Chopped and screwed refers to a technique of remixing hip hop music which developed in the Houston hip hop scene in the early 1990s. This is accomplished by slowing the tempo down and applying techniques such as skipping beats, record scratching, stop-time, and affecting portions of the music to make a “chopped-up” version of the original. In 2006, Chamillionaire‘s The Sound of Revenge (Screwed & Chopped) by OG Ron C became one of the most successful screwed and chopped albums to date. This technique has also been used by many other successful hip-hop artists, including Meek Mill and Kanye West.
Now freshly chopped and screwed, onto the scene comes Dj Slowtunes with his 15-track mixtape entitled “Swangin Down”, which is conceptually fascinating and occasionally hits on something really compelling and fresh, but is also only sporadically engaging. Of course, even when things feel aimless, it’s still intriguing to hear Dj Slowtunes working through his ideas.
Expect to hear molasses-thick male voices drawling about candy paint over slow beat claps here, as Dj Slowtunes drags the likes of Fat Pat, Lucky Luciano, Big Pokey, Big Moe, Trae, SPM, DEA, ZRO and Herschelwood Hardheadz through the mix. Many of these rappers were original members of the Screwed Up Click.
The crawl of “Swangin Down” is immaculate as well as earth-and-skull-shattering. Hip-hop has always been a genre of quiet innovations, and it makes sense that something as simple as slowing things down would prove to magnify the effect of its most instantly affecting component– that bass.
It’s a general consensus here that Dj Slowtunes is best when chopping some stuff from the south, preferably stuff from Houston. But, as this mixtape so effortlessly demonstrates, he is great at screwing pretty much anything with some bass and a beat. From a sonic standpoint, honed ears will note the practically flawless mixing and transitioning that takes place throughout the entire runtime, showing that Dj Slowtunes knows what music to use when honing his skills at differing facets of DJ skill sets.
The vibes coming off the tape are very positive and enjoyable, and it’s overall a blast to listen to. In all, Dj Slowtunes’ foray into finding some legendary rapper’s music, makes this a truly essential chopped and screwed mixtape in 2016.
Musically, this mixtape just oozes from your speakers. “Syrupy” is a word people throw around a lot, as a description of the Houston sound, atmosphere, and aesthetic. This is the album that holds the standard to what “syrupy” really is, at least in my eyes. All of the tracks are incredible, and pretty much perfect.
The atmosphere is constantly changing, with the a few songs actually being kind of scary. Mostly, though, the tracks are smooth, laid back, easy to listen to, and generally flowing with good vibes. If you love the chopped and screwed type of hip-hop, or just want to know what “syrupy” actually is, listen to this record as soon as possible. “Swangin Down” is perfecto.