By Isis Nicole
There’s something spellbinding about slow lo-fidelity, thumps, and blemishes over an ill beat. Maybe it’s the pills? Maybe it’s the codeine? Whatever it is, the overload of ‘trillsetters’ rising from the internet who continue beat making in the name of love for Houston’s chopped-and-screwed origins sprouts beyond the dirty sprite and deep voices. Not bad for opulent G’s very concerned with fashion, respect, and well…southern space dub.
“A lot of the trend in slow and deep songs comes from the image that Houston’s chopped-and-codeine filled music brings,” says producer Junior Dutch (Jordan Dutch), from South London. “The deep and slow style comes from wanting to fully express melodies and create ambiance, leaving music on repeat for hours where you can just chill and enjoy the sound. I always thought ‘if I can make something this slow and people can still enjoy it’, that would be a big deal for me.”
Junior Dutch earned a bit of his buzz in the US after producing “Golden Streets” for upcoming rapper Riff Raff. He continues to work with ‘trap’ acts such as Jelz Much of California and local artists in his hometown of London.
“Apart from the style of music the image is trending too like gold fronts and drugs, bringing back old school feelings of things. A good friend of mine got permanent gold fronts just a few days ago. I don’t remember the image being this popular since the 90’s!” says Junior Dutch whose history with slowed dubbed versions of music came from what he refers to as “Space Dub”.
“Space Dub comes from listening to old school Reggae-Dub, Dubstep, and chopped-and-screwed music. I’d known about chopped and screwed music for awhile but it
wasn’t until a few years ago I decided to research and figure it out,” says Junior Dutch. “The sound instantly got me hooked and I understood it.”
When Junior Dutch decided to make music, his production came to him naturally. “I didn’t try to mimic or fit a particular sound, it just happened and people noticed. I had a love for slow, rough and bass filled music whenever I could find it. Slowing music down sometimes gives a really emotional feel to it which I like. From there I was on a mission to push the limit on everything I found addictive in slowed music,” says Junior Dutch.
His main influences have come from the likes of anyone pushing chopped and-screwed music as well as the artists he works with.
“Sometimes I have to adjust the sound slightly to fit certain artists who might not be fully in tune with the sound,” says Junior Dutch. But overall the 20-something-year-old is lucky enough to collaborate with rappers who have a ‘so-what’ attitude, eager to hop on the next unpolished track to fit the scene.
“Music in general is usually polished to perfection before it reaches everybody it’s supposed to reach. Slowed music a lot of the time has a real rough edge to it, but that’s not always a bad thing. With the attitude of today’s young people I’d say unusually slow, deep and sometimes unpolished music fits the scene at the moment. It’s like, that song sounds kind of wrong but so what, I like it, kind of mentality,” says Junior Dutch.
Tashan Watson of IRY Music Group (see project Allmoe- Trillmatic) admits to his experience with the slowed virus spreading beyond the States. “More production sounds southern even if [the artist is] from Canada. Trill wave is like a culture. Once people are connected to the music they want to see what the life is about,” says Watson.
According to a report by MTV News.com, DJ Screw was the creator of the slowing down and chopping up of beats and the most respected DJ in Houston.
“I like the music but it could also be a bad influence on society to start drinking lean, also a dangerous drug that have taken the lives of people,” says rapper Millie Yon of The YES Life.
DJ Screw died November 16, 2000 but his influence still lives in the production of newer acts like A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Purity Ring, and Clams Casino just to name a few. It’s not exactly that each style mimics the H-Town down to a stammering T, but their take on the slowing down of pace, pitch, and emotion outstrips its recognized origins on a genre crossing scale.
“Being from the Detroit area I got up on all of it when I saw Mike Jones on MTV2,” says Bruiser Skywlkr (Skylar Tait), a 22-year-old producer/DJ of Bruiser Brigade who fuses elements from cloud rap, Rock, Jazz, New Wave and earned buzz after producing tracks on XXX by Danny Brown. “I thought it was annoying how he kept repeating lines at first then quickly started to like it honestly. I downloaded a ton of songs then got introduced to DJ Screw and Michael “5000” Watts and I fell in love with chopped-and-screwed s***. All my friends thought I was tripping. I think I was drawn in because I’m a music dude. That’s why I make beats, and I just think it sounds super cool, trippy, and adds a whole other element to the music.”
Watts, Swisha House producer/ DJ from the North Side of Houston, became the ambassador of the chopped-and-screwed sound after the death of DJ Screw. According to a report by MTV News.com, rapper David Banner’s Mississippi: The Screwed and Chopped Album chopped-and-screwed by Watts and released in 2003, sold roughly 50,000 copies throughout the South, as well as cities outside the south including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Following his footsteps rappers like T.I., UGK and Mystikal released official chopped-and-screwed remixes of their albums which later opened a whole new fan base outside of its home in Texas.
“Fast forward to now, the rap game is super trendy and there are kids like me young enough to have been influenced by the whole chopped-and-screwed scene and it reflects in our production and music,” says Bruiser Skywlkr. “It’s really our generation of rap right now. As far as my style of production, I’m just a hybrid of everything I’ve liked musically and I come from a band background.”
At the start of his attraction to music, Bruiser Skywlkr was into rock and played in a metal band at the age of 14. “I didn’t just get a laptop and start making beats. I knew how to play live instruments and record myself before I was [ever] familiar with any beat making program,” says Bruiser Skywlkr.
He soon after got introduced to different styles of Hip-Hop and began experimenting with his beat making productions. “I just love the slow, trippy, bassy sound and it definitely came from the whole chopped-and-screwed [era]. I remember my junior year of high school I bought a Three Six Mafia album chopped-and-screwed and the bass just slapped like 5 times harder and the beats had a mad scarier sound,” says Bruiser Skywlkr. “I was memorized by it, so I can’t help but bring that vibe to some of my work.”
Hip-Hop will always make room for something cool. And what’s cool right now is the rawness and grit of imperfect beats nestled in the candy-coated purple sound wave syrup that keep Hip-Hop aficionados coming back for more. Gold mouth pieces included.
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