The Alief native isn’t the only one who feels this way; he is one of many Houston rappers who continue to draw inspiration from the late producer.
In the two decades since his death, Robert Earl Davis Jr.’s legacy has thrived in the Bayou City, his impact on the music and culture of Houston seemingly ever-present. From his homemade “Screw Tapes” to the lasting impact of Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.), his legendary collective which laid the foundation for Houston’s defining sound, his fingerprints are all over hip-hop. Grammy-winning, multi-platinum artists like Drake, T-Pain and H-Town’s own Beyoncé have borrowed from his signature chopped and screwed aesthetic. Composer Nicholas Britell even incorporated the style into his score for the Oscar-winning film Moonlight. And yet, Screw’s cult status has largely been limited to Texas and Louisiana.
That might be about to change.
All Screwed Up, an upcoming biopic series on Screw’s life, aims to push his legacy to a national audience. Directed by multi-platinum producer-turned-cinematographer Isaac “Chill” Yowman and produced by rapper Lil Keke, Wreckshop Records founder D-Wreck, and Screw’s sister Michelle Wheeler, the show promises an intimate look into the hip-hop pioneer’s formative moments and those fleeting years of fame before his untimely death in 2000. The series also arrives in the midst of a national renaissance for the H-Town rap scene, providing a moment to highlight the man whose influence has touched every facet of Houston rap for a quarter of a century.
“I think the biopic is going to shine a light on an already booming culture, on an already booming city,” says Nwigwe, who gave a shout out to the hometown hero during his NPR Tiny Desk Concert last year. “It’s going to shine a light on the history, the past, and the foundation of it all.”
Behind the momentum of superstars like Travis Scott, as well as recent luminaries like Lizzo, Maxo Kream, and Megan Thee Stallion, Houston artists wield more clout over the national hip-hop community than perhaps ever before. While this iteration of Houston rap stars is a sonic departure from the chopped and screwed lean tapes the series will depict, Screw’s legacy still permeates the city’s music scene.