In about a month, certain parts of Houston and the world will remember the birthday of DJ Screw, and November marks the 10th Anniversary of his death.
Austin Surreal properly informed me recently about the latest DJ Screw spin-off, “Screwed Anthologies“. Think Nortec, but improvising over plodding bass lines and drooping renditions of popular rap songs. Go here, for an audio sample. The Houston-based musicians should be stopping in Ithica and Boston this week
In Mexico, there´s a reminder of Screw. It´s not in the super slow-paced way you handle bank transactions here, or the syrupy slow wait in the line at Wal-Mart Mexico. I´m talking about the wound down accordian-jamming sound of cumbias rebajadas. Rebajada, means to bring it down, as in the pitch.
The realm of digital cumbia isn´t complete without a walk in this slow dimension. There´s a certain gangster quality to listening to cumbia this way. Not unlike those guys in Texas who have Screw blasting out of their cars.
I´m interested in getting a good story together on the subject. People on both sides of the border are discovering the music again, and again. But no clear answers as to what connects Screw to rebajadas, or if there´s a definitive creator for pitched down cumbia.
According to Dr. Auratheft:
Story tells …. early low-key/ghetto cumbia gigs in Mexico would use really shitty/dysfunctional turntables, not only slowing down but also fluctuating. This launched a genre somehow and kids in Mexico are just all about rebajadas”.
Or are the origins of cumbia rebajadas as Toy Selectah told me in Austin a few months ago? He suggests that boomboxes at Monterrey block parties would slowly run out of batteries, leaving people to bailar to slowed cumbia.
Whatever´s true, most of what´s written about Screw dates chopped and screwed music to the early 90s, and rebajadas mixtapes are said to have been available since the 80s, coming directly from Monterrey DJs and making their way throughout Mexico y el mundo. Let´s see if we can get this all on the record. Until then check out this rebajadas mix by Dr. Auratheft:
And this 1998 chopped and screwed mixtape by Houston rap landmark Swishahouse:
Look here for normal cumbia.
Track listing for both mixes after the jump.