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The Houston hip hop scene exploded in the 1990s, producing some of the most influential rappers and rap groups that decade. Among the pioneering collectives that emerged from H-Town was Screwed Up Click (also known as S.U.C.), the influential rap crew founded by the late, great DJ Screw. With their chopped and screwed sound and raw, uncompromising lyrics, Screwed Up Click left an indelible mark on Southern hip hop.

Introduction to Screwed Up Click

Screwed Up Click was formed in the early 1990s by DJ Screw, the creator of the now-famous “chopped and screwed” music style. The group featured a loose collective of rappers from Houston’s Southside, including Big Moe, Z-Ro, Lil’ Keke, E.S.G., Fat Pat, Big Pokey, Lil’ O, and many more over the years. Their music defined the Houston rap sound during the 90s with its inventive, slowed-down, chopped beats and syrupy, drug-fueled lyrics examining the realities of street life.

Screw and his associates refined and popularized the chopped and screwed remixing technique, which involves dramatically reducing the tempo of songs and adding various DJ effects. This innovative production style matched the often contemplative lyrical flow of Screwed Up Click rappers. Together, they crafted the perfect soundtrack to late nights in Houston’s Fifth Ward.

While never achieving mainstream success outside of the South, Screwed Up Click had an enormous influence on the region’s flourishing hip hop scene. Several Screwed Up Click albums are considered classics of 1990s Southern rap. Sadly, DJ Screw passed away in 2000 due to a drug overdose, but his musical legacy lives on through the surviving members of his clique.

Notable Members and Collaborators

Though the lineup rotated frequently, several rappers were core members who appeared on most Screw tapes and S.U.C. albums:

DJ Screw – The creator of the chopped and screwed sound and founder of the rap group. His mixes were fundamental in shaping their music.

Big Moe – One of the most famous rappers from the group. Known for his deep, distinctive voice and hits like “Purple Stuff” and “City of Syrup.” Died in 2007.

Z-Ro – Legendary Houston rapper and former S.U.C. member. Still records solo music today. Known for toxic lyrics about addiction and depression.

Lil Keke – Original member and frequent collaborator. Released successful independent solo albums. Most well-known for anthemic song “Peepin’ in My Window.”

E.S.G. – Early member with clever wordplay and storytelling skills. Most popular for gritty song “Swangin’ and Bangin’.”

Other key members included Big Pokey, Lil’ O, Devin The Dude, Fat Pat, Yungstar, Lil’ Keke, and Hawk. Though not official members, famous Houston rappers such as Scarface, Willie D, and UGK collaborated extensively with S.U.C.

Musical Style and Influences

Screwed Up Click pioneered a slowed-down, narcotic sound featuring chopped up vocals and hazy beats. Their production style matched the dark, gritty lyrics examining street hustling, violence, personal pain, and recreational drug use. However, S.U.C. records contained variety, from anthemic riders’ music to more introspective songs about survival.

Lyrically, Screwed Up Click rejected the upbeat, party-oriented subject matter popular in mainstream hip hop at the time. Instead, most S.U.C. tracks contain hopeless or self-destructive themes reflecting the group’s origins in Houston’s crime-ridden neighborhoods.

However, S.U.C. weren’t exclusively hardcore gangsta rappers. Members like Devin The Dude brought humor and levity through laidback songs about marijuana. Overall, Screwed Up Click balanced ruggedness with vulnerability in their emotive lyrics.

Musically, DJ Screw innovated the entire chopped and screwed concept by manipulating records on dual turntables to warp tempos and repeat verses and phrases. This allowed S.U.C. rappers to match Screw’s glitchy, lethargic beats with free-flowing rhymes. Their inventive production influenced the trillwave subgenre and many modern trap artists.

Collaboration Projects

Though primarily a Houston phenomenon, Screwed Up Click collaborated extensively with other Southern rap acts:

  • 3 ‘N The Mornin’ (Part One & Two) – Collaborative albums with Tennessee group Three 6 Mafia in the mid 90s. Defined the emerging Memphis-to-Houston connection.
  • Straight Outta Houston – Compilation mixtape organized by Pimp C of UGK featuring multiple S.U.C. members along with UGK, Willie D, and others. An early Southern rap classic.
  • Welcome 2 Houston – Later Three 6 Mafia collaborative album. Included famous single “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” by Three 6 and S.U.C.’s Big Moe and UGK.
  • The Day Hell Broke Loose – Mike Dean-produced collaboration between Z-Ro, Scarface, and Willie D exploring street life, crime, and addiction.
  • Underground Kingz – In 2007, S.U.C. members appeared on the album by Houston legends UGK.

These collaborations helped spread S.U.C.’s unique style outside the Houston underground scene while proving the collective strength of Southern hip hop.

Legacy and Influence

Though Screwed Up Click never scaled the pop charts, their influence steadily grew outside Texas as Southern rap emerged nationally in the late 90s. In particular, the production style pioneered by DJ Screw became a foundation of the Dirty South’s overall aesthetic.

Chopped and screwed music directly inspired the slowed-down, syrupy sounds of Houston rap descendants like Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, and Slim Thug’s “chopped not slopped” variations. This languid, warped style is now a fundamental component of trap music and cloud rap. The sound SCrew originated reverberates throughout modern hip hop.

Lyrically, Screwed Up Click expanded the subject matter of gangsta rap into uncharted territory examining helplessness, addiction, and paranoia instead of solely glorifying violence. Their inventive slang and DESreferences also heavily influenced Southern vernacular heard in later generations of Houston artists.

Whilevalued within Texas hip hop history, Screwed Up Click deserve more widespread recognition for laying sonic foundations for the mutated Southern styles dominating modern rap. The surviving members continue releasing vital independent music, while tributes to DJ Screw’s innovations emerge from various scenes. The crew’s scattered but seminal discography essentially created Houston’s now-famous raw, uncut sound.

Discography and Album Highlights

As an expansive, loose collective, Screwed Up Click did not have a concise, well-defined discography. The crew recorded prolifically from the early 90s until DJ Screw’s death in 2000, releasing a steady output of mixtapes, compilation albums, and solo side projects showcasing different lineups.

Here are some of their most well-known releases from the peak Screwed Up Click years:

  • All Work No Play – Early collab between DJ Screw, Lil Keke, and Big Pokey. Essential entry in the S.U.C. catalog.
  • 3 ‘N The Mornin’ (Part One and Two) – Chopped and screwed collab tapes with Three 6 Mafia. Helped spread DJ Screw’s style.
  • Bigtyme Recordz – First group album. Considered an underground classic despite limited distribution.
  • The Day Hell Broke Loose – Gritty street tales from Willie D, Scarface, and Z-Ro over bluesy production by Mike Dean.
  • Straight Outta Houston – All-star compilation featuring S.U.C., UGK, Geto Boys, Scarface, and more Houston legends.
  • It’s All Good – Second official S.U.C. album. Displayed impressive lyricism from Keke, Big Moe, Z-Ro and others.
  • Screwed Up Fo Life – Final album before DJ Screw’s untimely passing. somberly showcased the crew’s talents.

Though brief, this run of albums and mixtapes throughout the 90s indelibly shaped Houston hip hop and exhibited the breadth of Screwed Up Click’s talents.

Prominent Solo Careers

Though most strongly associated with their group work, many Screwed Up Click members forged successful solo careers:


  • Known as “The Mo City Don,” Z-Ro has built an extensive discography of over 20 albums and 100 mixtapes.
  • His early albums like Look What You Did to Me and Let the Truth Be Told are considered Southern rap classics.
  • Still releases music today and remains an esteemed figure in Houston rap.

Big Moe

  • His husky voice and syrupy anthems like “Purple Stuff” and “Leanin'” made him one of Houston’s first rap stars.
  • Released four solo albums before his untimely death in 2007, including the Texas classic City of Syrup.
  • Posthumously influenced many chopped and screwed descendants.

Lil Keke

  • As a skilled lyricist, he appeared on nearly every early S.U.C. record.
  • Found solo success with hits like “Pimp tha Pen” and regional anthem “Southside.”
  • Collaborated with Paul Wall and Slim Thug in recent years to make classic H-Town music.

Devin the Dude

  • Former Odd Squad and Facemob member. Brought humor and vulnerability to S.U.C.’s hardcore image.
  • Mellow solo albums like The Dude and Waiting to Inhale made him a critical darling for eccentric lyricism.
  • Featured on hits like Dr. Dre’s “Fuck You,” cementing his legacy beyond Houston.

Though Screwed Up Click collectively defined Houston rap’s origins, individual members also made huge creative contributions through their solo work.

Cultural Impact and Legacy

Beyond music, Screwed Up Click had a monumental influence on Houston culture and slang:

  • Helped popularize “chopped and screwed” as a phrase synonymous with the city.
  • With lyrics glorifying codeine/promethazine cough syrup, S.U.C. pushed “sipping syrup” into the cultural lexicon.
  • Extensive use of terms like “trill,” “slab,” and “candy paint” to describe Houston’s car culture.
  • Created enduring Houston hip hop imagery with designer brand references and descriptions of Fifth Ward landmarks.
  • Set sonic template for future Texas artists through inventive production and unfiltered, stream-of-consciousness lyricism.

As Houston transformed into a hip hop powerhouse in the late 90s, emerging stars absorbed these influences. Groups like the Geto Boys set the table, but DJ Screw and Screwed Up Click essentially defined H-Town’s distinct slanguage, style, and psychedelic sound. Their impact can be felt anytime a chopped and screwed remix gets played at a Houston party.

Though underappreciated nationally, DJ Screw created an entirely new hip hop subgenre by founding Screwed Up Click. Simultaneously, S.U.C. members like Big Moe, Z-Ro, and Lil Keke crafted the definitive Houston rap soundtrack. Their murky, eloquent music gave the Dirty South its most original voice right as Southern hip hop entered its artistic golden age.