On this date in 2000, Robert Earl Davis Jr., best known to the world as DJ Screw, was found dead inside of his Houston recording studio from a codeine overdose. He was only 29 years old.
The codeine came from a prescription-strength cough syrup that he would mix with soda to concoct a beverage called purple drank or “lean”. In addition to codeine, Valium and PCP were found in his blood.
Despite the unfortunate events and circumstances that lead to the young trailblazer’s death, his influence continues to permeate the Houston Hip Hop scene and beyond. His legacy continues with his Houston-based cult following of “Screwheads”, who made sure to cement his history in stone with the Screwfest founded in 2005. The “chopped and screwed” originator even prompted the 2007 documentary film Screwed In Houston, produced by VBS/Vice Magazine, which details the history of the Houston hip hop scene and the influence of the chopped and screwed sub-culture on Houston hip hop. The 5-part series devoted one full episode to DJ Screw and includes video footage of his days before his death.
With over 300 mixtape series and five full-length albums under his belt, DJ Screw undoubtedly solidified himself as a legend in the game. RIP