DJ Screw (Robert Earl Davis Jr. that is) is arguably one of the most influential figures in modern music, inventing the chopped and screwed DJ technique, which started out as a regional craze, but has since grown to the point where one can’t really imagine there not being music built from slowed down, syrupy rhythms.
A ridiculously prolific artist, with over 200 tapes to his name alone (we can also perhaps thank him for making mixtapes such a vital force), this documentary talks you through his life up until his early death in 2000 at the age of 29, and includes interviews with those close to him – including members of his Screwed Up Click – and footage of the man himself both at work and rest.
Can You Really Become Addicted To Drank?
Sippin on syrup, lean, purple drank – whatever you call it, drinking codeine and promethazine containing cough syrup will get you high, but it’s also dangerous and since codeine is a narcotic, it’s pretty addictive. Addictive enough, in fact, that if you sip enough of that syrup, you could end up going through a heroin withdrawal like period of detox.
Made famous through southern screwed and chopped hip hop music, and centralized out of Houston, syrup killed rap artist Pimp C last year, and Lil Wayne has admitted to a serious addiction to the drug.
Sippin syrup will get you feeling pretty good. Codeine is an opiate, similar to other notable opiates like heroin, morphine,percocet, oxycontin or vicodin. Codeine happens to work well as a cough suppressant, but like all other opiates, it also works to control pain, and notably, to make you feel very good.
Codeine, when taken in larger than recommended doses will create feelings of contentment, euphoria, relaxation, sleepiness and well being.
Promethazine is an antihistamine, and also a CNS depressant. Promethazine works to increase the potency of the codeine. Promethazine mixed with codeine gets you higher.
Users generally mix a small amount of the cough syrup together with sprite, soda or fruit juice, and often a hard candy like a jolly rancher as well. The drink is slowly sipped leading to a sense of contentment, and well being. In larger doses, euphoria and un-coordination can result. The drink is sometimes called lean because of the way people on syrup tend to walk.
Medications That Don’t Mix With Sizzurp
- Other narcotic pain medications, such as hydrocodone, tramadol, morphine, fentanyl, methadone, heroin and many others.
- Antihistamine (chlorpheniramine – azatadine – brompheniramine and others)
- Sedatives (seconal, Solfoton, Luminal, Amytal etc.)
- Anti depressants
- Any medications that warn of drowsiness or sleepiness.
- Many others
What is it?
Certain brands of prescription cough suppressant work through two active medicinal ingredients – codeine and promethazine.
Codeine is a derivative of morphine, and an opiate, and promethazine is an antihistamine. When the two drugs are taken in large quantities, both medicinal ingredients interact with one another to increase the potency of the high. As both are CNS depressants, taking the drug in large enough quantities can lead to respiratory depression, a slowing of breathing, and in severe cases, a stoppage of breathing and an overdose death. (The cough syrup is not dangerous when taken as directed, although because of its CNS depressant qualities, it should not be taken with alcohol or other CNS depressing medications.)
Codeine, like all opiates, is very addictive, both psychologically, and physically. If you use codeine and promethazine cough syrup for a couple of weeks, every day, you will become physically dependent on the drug. If you become physically dependent on the drug, you will need to take it every day, or more than once a day, just to keep the sickness of codeine withdrawal and detox at bay.
Although codeine is not as potent or addictive as heroin, the addiction and withdrawal symptoms share many similarities to a heroin addiction and withdrawal.
If you abuse codeine and promethazine cough syrup too regularly, you will get addicted, and getting addicted to opiates is no fun at all.
In large doses, you can die.
If you take it recreationally with certain other medications, you also risk an overdose.
If you use it recreationally, and you suffer from certain medical conditions, you could suffer a fatal overdose.
Opiates are central nervous system depressants. Promethazine is also a central nervous system depressant. They both slow you down, which is part of why people enjoy taking the drugs, but also why they can be quite dangerous.
These medications will slow down your breathing. If you take them in high enough doses, your breathing can slow down so much that you die from it.
If you take these medications with other CNS depressant medications (like other prescription pain killers, alcohol, certain anti depressants etc.) the addictive and cumulative effects of the medications can result in an overdose. And an overdose can result in death. Abusing codeine and promethazine recreationally is dangerous, but abusing it recreationally while taking other medications is very risky.
Pimp C died in his sleep after taking codeine and promethazine. He had sleep apnea which interfered with his breathing, and when combined with the respiratory depressive effects of the medication, killed him.
Regular users of the drug will develop a tolerance and need to take ever greater doses to get high. As you take greater doses of the CNS depressing medication, your risk of overdose increases.
- DJ Screw
- Pimp C
- Big Moe
If you play for too long with codeine and promethazine, you will pay the price of a very uncomfortable detox and withdrawal period when you try to stop.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Restless legs
- Muscle aches
Withdrawal pains will last from a few days to a week, and can be very tough to overcome without some help.
Cough syrup doesn’t seem as scary or serious as heroin or even oxycontin but the withdrawal period is rough, and you will probably need some help to get off.
To get off, you can
- Go cold turkey
- Wean yourself off
- Get into an opiate substitution program – like methadone or Suboxone.
A cold turkey detox is fastest, but toughest.
Weaning yourself off the medication can work, and if you have the discipline, and are in no real rush, can be a reasonably effective way to get off the drug. The key to weaning down off of codeine and promethazine is not to hurry. Try going down by 10-20%. Reduce your daily dosage by 10-20% and wait until that feels ok before attempting to again reduce the dosage.
A good tip is to have a trusted friend or family member control your access to the medication, to ensure that you actually stay on course with your daily dosage reductions. Have a friend (preferably a sober friend) mix the drinks for a while.
The last option is to participate in an opiate substitution program, like methadone or suboxone (buprenorphine). These are medications that you take instead of the cough syrup. They will keep you from feeling sick, but will not get you high. You will gradually need to reduce your dosage off of these medications.
Opiates are fun. They feel good and they are seductive, and it’s so easy to get sucked into an addiction.
It doesn’t take long at all, and before you know it – you’re a junky, and once you are, getting off is tough.
If you’re not yet addicted, make sure you stay that way. If you plan on continuing to use codeine and promethazine recreationally, make sure you don’t get high every day. The more often you get high, the greater your risk of addiction.
If you’re thinking about experimenting with a little purple drank – wondering what all the fuss is about – make sure you understand the risks, and think hard about whether or not it’s worth it.
Marcus Lakee Edwards (born March 29, 1976), better known by his stage name Lil’ Keke, is a rapper from Houston, Texas and an original member of the Screwed Up Click.
Lil Keke gained national underground love with his track “Southside” from his 1998 release “Don’t Mess Wit Texas”. In 2005, Lil’ Keke signed to Swishahouse Records. In an interview with HitQuarters at the time, label president and A&R T. Farris said, “He is a legend here in Houston. He plays a big role in the whole style of rap that we make down here.” Lil’ Keke started out working alongside DJ Screw doing mixtapes.
- 1997: Don’t Mess wit Texas
- 1998: The Commission
- 2001: Platinum In Da Ghetto
- 2008: Loved by Few, Hated by Many
- 2012: Heart Of A Hustla
- 2006: Minor Setback for a Major Comeback (Hosted by DJ Drama)
- 2006: The Album B4 the Album
- 2007: Greatest Verses (Hosted by DJ LL)
- 2007: Drank Epidemic 10 & 10.2 (Hosted by DJ Storm)
- 2007: The Cost Of Living (with Yung Redd)
- 2008: Only The Strong Survive (Hosted by DJ Bigga Rankin)
- 2008: Seven-1-3 Hustlaz, Vol. 1: The Movement
- 2008: South Side Still Holding (Hosted by DJ Mac Boo)
- 2009: Seven-1-3 Vol.2 Small Thangs 2 A Giant
- 2009: Universal Ghetto Pass (The Mixtape)
- 2010: Addicted 2 Fame
- 2010: Seven-1-3 Vol.4
- 2010: The Trilogy
- 2011: Peepin In My Window 2K11
- 2011: C.O.D. (Cash On Delivery) Seven-1-3 Vol. 5
- 2011: Fish Grease
- 2012: Album Before The Album 2
- 2012: Da Leak
Chopped and Screwed (sometimes called screwed and chopped or slowed and throwed) refers to a technique of remixing hip hop music which developed in the Houston hip hop scene in the 1990s. This is accomplished by slowing the tempo down to between 60 – 70 quarter-note beats per minute 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.
Preceding the early 1990s, most Southern hip hop was upbeat and fast, like Miami bass and crunk. In Houston, a different approach of slowing music down, rather than speeding it up, developed. It is unknown when DJ Screw definitively created “screwed and chopped” music: although people around Screw have indicated any time between 1984 to 1991, Screw said he started slowing music down in 1990 and also in Tulsa Oklahoma Dj Dinero And Dj Z-Nasty helped popularize Chopped And Screwed music in the Mid South. There is no debate, however, that DJ Screw invented the music style.” He discovered that dramatically reducing the pitch of a record gave a mellow, heavy sound that emphasized lyrics to the point of almost storytelling. After messing around with the sound for a while Screw started making full length “Screw Tapes”. At first the music was only referred to as “Screw music”, was limited to the South Side of Houston, and was seen as laid-back driving music. As Screw’s tapes started to gain popularity he started selling his tapes for around $10. Screw was known to feature some of Houston’s most renowned rappers from the South Side. This eventually led to the formation of the Screwed Up Click.
Between 1991 and 1992, there was a large increase in use of purple drank in Houston. Purple drank has been considered to be a major influence in the making of and listening to chopped and screwed music due to its perceived effect of slowing the brain down, giving slow, mellow music its appeal. DJ Screw, however, repeatedly denounced the claim that one has to use purple drank to enjoy screwed and chopped music. Screw, a known user of purple drank, said he came up with chopped and screwed music when high on marijuana.
In the mid-1990s, chopped and screwed music started to move to the North Side of Houston and to such people as DJ Michael “5000” Watts and OG RON C. It wasn’t long until a rivalry between north and south Houston started over who were the “originators” and who were the “adopters”. Michael “5000” Watts always gave credit to DJ Screw as the originator of chopped and screwed music. It is also believed that Michael “5000” Watts came up with the term “screwed and chopped”. As time passed and a younger generation got into the style, there became less worry over who was an originator of the style and who was an adopter. In the late 1990s, with the help of P2P groups such as Napster, chopped and screwed music spread to a much wider audience.
In 1999, PSK-13, an associate of DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click (also a member of the South Park Coalition), released a screwed version of his album Pay Like You Weigh 5000  which was one of the earliest examples of a full length album being given the treatment.
On November 16, 2000 DJ Screw died from a lethal combination of codeine and alcohol. Shortly after the passing of Screw, screwed and chopped music spread all over the southern United States. Later in 2000, the Memphis based group Three 6 Mafia came out with their song “Sippin’ on Some Syrup”. The song at first was just a minor hit but later became one of Three 6 Mafia’s most popular songs.
In 2001, 8Ball & MJG released a screwed version of their album Space Age 4 Eva (2000). The mixing was handled by Michael “5000” Watts of the famed Swishahouse, being the first screwed and chopped release on a major label.
In 2003, David Banner released a screwed and chopped version of his album Mississippi: The Album, being a first by an artist from Mississippi.
In 2005, the first screwed and chopped albums were added to the iTunes shop catalog.
In 2006 Chamillionaire’s The Sound of Revenge (Screwed & Chopped) by OG Ron C became the most successful screwed and chopped album to date.
In 2010 a Chopped n Screwed app was released for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chopped-n-screwed/id396656782?mt=8
In 2011,University of Houston Libraries acquired over 1,000 albums owned by DJ Screw.Some of the albums will be part of an exhibit in early 2012 and the rest available for research in 2013.
Today it is still common to see screwed and chopped versions of mixtapes and albums released alongside the regular speed versions, sometimes in a double disc format with one disc screwed and the other regular speed.
Chopped and screwed music was created by DJ Screw in the early 1990s. Part of the chopped & screwed music scene is a beverage known as purple drank (the active ingredients being codeine and promethazine; the color purple, which is usually present as a dye in the “drank,” has also become a symbolic color or motif to identify chopped and screwed versions of songs or whole albums. The 2007 documentary film Screwed In Houston produced by VBS/Vice Magazine details the history of the Houston rap scene and the influence of the Chopped and Screwed sub-culture on Houston hip-hop.
*Article Published By Mississippi Sipp Of Kandy Paint Content on behalf of Wiki and the Chopped & Screwed Culture.
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