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New Items Added to the DJ Screw Digital Collection

Digitization, Houston Hip Hop

Screw tape list for Steve, circa 1999

Approximately two dozen items have been added to the DJ Screw Photographs & Memorabilia digital collection in the UH Digital Library.

Many of these newly-added items were featured in the library exhibition DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop and have now been made available online. These include several tape lists and a variety of lyrics, along with photographs of DJ Screw as a child and an adult.

DJ Screw in baseball uniform, 1970s

The collection includes photographs, handwritten rap lyrics and song lists for “screw tapes,” along with flyers related to DJ Screw and his rap collective the Screwed Up Click. It also includes memorial service programs for DJ Screw, who died in 2000, and rappers Fat Pat and HAWK.

The DJ Screw Papers are currently being processed in Special Collections and will be available to the public once that process is complete. In the meantime, be sure to visit the digital collection to take a look at these items and others related to Houston’s hip hop history, and take a look at previous blog coverage of this digital collection, DJ Screw, and the related exhibit and conference.

New Exhibit Coming Soon

Department News, Exhibits

The DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop exhibit has come down and Special Collections is busy prepping for the next exhibit, also related to music but from a completely different time and place.

The next exhibit, Sacra et Profana: Music in Medieval Manuscriptsencompasses the sacred music of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic peoples as well as the profane, or secular, music. It also considers manuscripts’ physical nature, their production by hand and development to print. It is scheduled to open on October 10.

The exhibit was produced in the context of a seminar taught by Dr. Judith Steinhoff entitled “Art Exhibition: Music in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts,” which engaged the students in all aspects of the creation of an art exhibit.

For more information about the exhibit and the class’ work, visit the exhibit page. And if you missed the DJ Screw exhibit, you can still learn about it or take a look at some of the featured items in the UH Digital Library collection, DJ Screw Photographs & Memorabilia.

Watch the blog for more information about Sacra et Profana: Music in Medieval Manuscripts as October 10 approaches!

Samplified Studios Mini-Exhibit Opens

Department News, Houston Hip Hop

Fans of Houston hip hop who have enjoyed the Library’s main floor exhibit DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop will want to check out our new mini-exhibit Samplified Studios: Capturing the Sound of Houston Hip Hop. This small exhibit is on the 2nd floor of M.D. Anderson Library right next to Special Collections, and contains rare memorabilia from one of Houston’s noted independent recording studios. The exhibit runs through September 21, 2012.

Engineer Keenan “Maestro” Mosley, originally from Philadelphia, was born in 1958. He first started a recording studio in Philly, then relocated with his three brothers to Houston. He reopened Samplified Digital Recording Studios in Missouri City around 1990. There he recorded artists such as DJ Screw, K-Rino, Point Blank, BAM, the Terrorists, Klondike Kat, Big 50, and more for over a decade. He also wrote his own music, produced, and kept a detailed audio diary of his life. Mosley, who went by the professional name Keenan Lyles, died in 2010 at the age of fifty-two.

This exhibit celebrates the recent acquisition by the Library of the Samplified Digital Recording Studios Records, a collection of master tapes, business documents, photographs, and posters donated by Mosley’s son, Kendall Mosley. For more on Keenan Mosley and his son Kendall, who raps under the name Chane, check out the following articles.

Chane: Rapper Confronts Dad’s Death in Wrenching Video, Houston Press

Chane: Rapper’s Late Father Was Partner, Mentor, “Maestro”, Houston Press

Chane Drops Samplified Successor, 29-29/Houston Chronicle


A Screwed Up History Video Now Online

Events, Houston Hip Hop

Rapper Bun B telling a story at A Screwed Up History event

In March, the UH Libraries copresented a day-long conference event called A Screwed Up History during which rap legends like K-Rino, Willie D, Lil’ Keke, ESG, Bun B and more spoke in-depth about the history and culture of Houston hip hop. For those who were not able to attend Awready! The Houston Hip Hop Conference, or those who would like to re-watch the enlightening presentations and frank and funny panel discussions, the UH Libraries has uploaded six hours of footage from the event. The videos are available on the conference web site, on YouTube, and on the DJ Screw… exhibit web page.

A Screwed Up History web page with embedded videos

Julie Grob with Meshah Hawkins & ESG
Maco L. Faniel (speaker/moderator), K-Rino, Steve Fournier, Willie D, Ricky Royal
Lance Scott Walker (speaker/moderator), Meshah Hawkins, Lil’ Keke, Shorty Mac, ESG, Big Pokey
Slabs & Syrup (YouTube)
Langston Collin Wilkins (speaker/moderator), Eddie Kennedy (3rd Coast Customs), ESG, Lil’ Randy
Dr. Ronald J. Peters (speaker/moderator), Julie Grob (moderator), ESG, Lil’ Randy
Matt Sonzala (speaker/moderator), Chingo Bling, Paul Wall, Bun B, OG Ron C
Dr. Anthony B. Pinn, Julie Grob

Guest Post: African American Studies Intern Lanetta Dickens Reviews Hip Hop Conference

Events, Guest Posts, Houston Hip Hop

Lanetta Dickens is majoring in English and minoring in African American Studies. She served as an intern in Special Collections during Spring 2012, working on preservation of the DJ Screw Sound Recordings and assisting with the exhibition DJ Screw and the Rise of Houston Hip Hop.

Awready! The Houston Hip Hop Conference, presented by the University of Houston Libraries, the HERE Project at Rice University, African American Studies at UH, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at UH, was a recent set of events honoring DJ Screw. I attended the Grafitti, B-Boy and B-Girl Exhibition opening, and the panels/presentations of A Screwed Up History. The art show showcased local Houston artists and their artwork in original display. The event was a success, with free food and fun entertainment.

The panelists involved in the conference were knowledgeably aware of DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.).  Participants on the panels included rappers, artists, writers and scholars who informed the audience about the history and culture of Hip Hop in Houston. One of the scholars, Dr. Ronald J. Peters, Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center, managed a discussion on the effects of syrup with rapper ESG and DJ Lil’ Randy of the S.U.C. The topic was first introduced with a definition of the drug, how rappers and individuals were using it, and the results of using the drug.

“Syrup” is a recreational drink based on prescription cough syrup made with codeine promethazine. Both S.U.C. members considered syrup an addictive drug, the use of which was a secretive act initially. However, due to the spread and popularity of syrup, consequences soon emerged, and law enforcement began investigating the drug. Lil’ Randy and ESG expressed their feelings and reactions, saying that they were somewhat surprised by the spread of its popularity. This type of information about the evolving culture of hip hop is important for understanding the African American community and the individuals who have shaped that community.

The Hip Hop conference was an experience that I will remember for a lifetime. I was enlightened by the conversations and discussions that were associated with the growing music empire.  As a minor in African American Studies, I have learned to appreciate and acknowledge the Hip Hop culture that has extended throughout the world. Hip Hop has made a contribution to our society as a means of expressing and documenting the truth about ourselves.

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