Houston rapper E.S.G. has a vision for a large-scale festival to honor Houston's revolutionary DJ Screw. He says he would call it Screwstock. It would include musicians and artists from all over who represent the culture of Screw.
And for his part, E.S.G. is doing everything he can to honor his late music collaborator, and that includes a pair of celebrations, one in Austin called DJ Screw Summer Fest, and another in Houston simply called Screw Fest to mark what some consider an undeclared holiday in this city.
How would you describe DJ Screw culture?
It’s just a way of life out here. It’s more than just music. So many people may have tattoos. Some people may be selling Screw pins. I saw a guy the other day with the real Screw on this whole back head, in his haircut. The Screw culture is everything at once. You look at Swishahouse, that’s Michael Watts, that’s still Screw culture.
What part did DJ Screw play in your music career?
My journey began with music way before I ever met Screw. My journey began with music at the age of 10. When I met Screw, "Swangin' and Bangin'" was done but it wasn’t going to be official to me until I let DJ Screw touch it.
It was a vibe, it was different. Lil Keke had never put out music before he went to Screw. Fat Pat, the list goes on. Big Hawk didn’t even want to do music for real, he was just happy doing it at Screw’s house. Big Pokey, he was playing football at the time, then bam, the list goes on and on. There were so many people who were there.
At that time whatever the festivities were, whether they were Kappa beach parties, anything that was going on, you heard people banging Screw. If an artist came out with a new album, people didn’t buy the album first, they would say, “I’m waiting for Screw to Screw it.”
It's such an important date in Houston rap culture, but what does June 27 mean to you?
Name-wise, it’s going to always make me think that everybody gets it mixed up and says, "Happy Birthday Screw." It’s not Screw’s birthday, it’s Big DeMo's birthday. And another thing I trip out with is Big Moe. Big Moe’s birthday is actually August 20, but to me it seems like June 27 is almost a Big Moe day. Because, on that day you think of one color: purple. You think of the whole city being slowed down on that day. The sky turns purple to me.
Screw Fest takes place June 27, 8 p.m. Tickets from $25. Engine Room, 1515 Pease St. More info at eventbrite.com.