281 Boyz, Chopped And Screwed 2003

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Screwston hip-hop at its wobbliest and most surreal.

One of the most bizarre musical movements ever to happen anywhere, "screw" music grew up around Houston, Texas, where the late DJ Screw slowed tracks down to slurry speeds suitable for hip-hop heads drowsy and wasted on codeine cough syrup. Screw remixes don't always sound anything more than slooooooow, but occasional dub splices and echoes qualify as "chopped." Houston group 281 Boyz get a heavy dose of both effects here, on an album that sounds invariably woozy and weird. DJ Screw himself ("seen me on the scene, drinkin 'codeine") shows up in "So Real," a glitzy ballad that sounds smushed and smeared by slow-motion windshield wipers. Certain tracks don't take to the screw style especially interestingly, but others turn into something altogether different: the languid bass line and heavily chopped vocals in "White Horse" are literally dizzying, while the atmospheric trills in "Make the Ladies Say" sound both haunted and high.