Back in 2017, a new show from heavyweight podcasting network Gimlet Media dropped to instant acclaim. Season 1 of Mogul told the story of hip hop super-manager Chris Lighty, from his childhood in the Bronx until his tragic death by apparent suicide in 2012. The six-part series was impeccably produced, cinematically scored, and featured first-hand accounts from the likes of Fat Joe, Russell Simmons, and more.
The first highly produced narrative podcast about hip hop, Mogul proved listeners were hungry for documentary-style storytelling centered around hip-hop culture.
After a pandemic-related production halt in 2020, the third season of Mogul has dropped with a surprising twist. Local fans were likely shocked and delighted to discover the focus of the new season is none other than the late, great Houston rap icon, DJ Screw.
Once little-more than a regional cult hero, Robert Earl Davis Jr.’s impact on hip hop and the greater music industry has continued to grow since his death on November 16, 2000. In fact, the Mogul Season 3 reveal came on the heels of two other DJ Screw-related projects currently in production. A film about Screw and the Screwed Up Click, produced by San Antonio-based ZoomTV Network, is currently filming, while a Screw biopic by Houston director Isaac “Chill” Yowman has been acquired by Sony Pictures.
The new season, though only two episodes in, follows in the podcast’s already well-acclaimed record with an outstanding original score interlaced with original DJ Screw music and cinematic sound engineering. Host Brandon Jenkins delivers his signature on-mic charm and unfiltered takes as he interviews some of Screw’s closest friends and family, as well as the chopped and screwed movement’s most iconic stars; names like Lil Flip, Bun B, and Big Pokey are just a few of the season’s stellar guest interviews.
Also true to the show’s reputation, this season of Mogul dives deep, deeper than any previous exploration of Screw’s legacy or retelling of his story. In only the first episode, Jenkins explores Screw’s childhood in Smithville and his earliest days as a house party DJ in excruciating detail. In fact, the show does more than highlight Screw’s musical legacy or explore the chopped-and-screwed style he coined and invented. It also acknowledges the urban legends around Screw while going deeper than anyone has, giving a fuller picture of the man behind the myth.
While a Houston icon and hip hop legend, Screw’s life has remained a mystery to many—even to those who knew him. His borderline-compulsive obsession with music, his vision for “screwing the world,” and his untimely death by overdose are all elements of a largely unexplored personal life that Mogul tactfully and respectfully examines.
Fans of Screw, Houston hip hop, or simply of narrative audio storytelling should tune in for what is sure to be an award-worthy and masterfully produced season.