Dj Screw 3 ‘n The Mornin’ Review
When most people refer to 3 ’n The Mornin’, they’re usually referring to the second version that arrived in 1996. That tape is affectionately referred to as the blue version of 3 ’n The Mornin’. The original version, the one that was the first of Screw’s distribution deal with Bigtyme Recordz came in 1994 with the only Houston flavor on it from the likes of Street Military. Screw had already been a huge fan of chopping and slowing down West Coast rap records by then but the first 3 ’n The Mornin’ was saturated by names of the time. Dr. Dre’s “Hi Power” from The Chronic, Compton Most Wanted’s “Compton Thang”, Yo-Yo’s “So Funky”, three G-Funk laden records spread out with small drops of East Coast flavor (LL Cool J’s “Rock The Bells”, Schooly D’s “Big Dick”). If that was a compilation tape that paid homage to what the world was on before the East Coast’s full resurgence in 1994, the sequel to 3 ’n The Mornin’ set the blueprint for Houston rap records not made by UGK. Which is a very, very big deal.
E.S.G., the solo rapper of the time in 1995 opens 3 ’n The Mornin’ arguing for the security of Screw tapes. He then flat out describes in short, emphatic words about how this tape, this tape is unlike any other Screw tape that had come before it. There wasn’t anyone freestyling at Screw’s house, this was Screw in a zone, combining the G-Funk he’d come to appreciate and love so well and play it underneath Houston rap records. These records weren’t specifically made for 3 ’n The Mornin’ as E.S.G.’s “Sailin Da South” appeared on the 1995 album of the same name. Botany Boyz’ “Cloverland” appears on Thoughts Of Many Ways. So like a Screw tape, it’s a compilation. And in some ways, its not.
When Big Moe croaks and sings the high praises of codeine on “Sippin Codeine”, everything stops. The tape immediately splits into “Everything Before Moe” and “Everything After Moe”. The vocals have been placed on multiple tracks as time has progressed but still. There’s nothing subtle about putting Big Moe on top of a break beat singing about the pleasure of sipping and being sedated. It’s he who prominently stated the Screwed Up Click run things, on the middle of a tape where a motley crew of individuals were about themselves. Big Moe, large unifier of the world decided with this one moment, things were going to orbit around him.
The first record that comes after Moe’s declaration? .380’s “Elbows Swang” which, as undercooked as it is happens to play a stronger role not on this tape but UGK’s “Diamonds & Wood”. .380 as a duo were always simplified street guys who kept people engaged without being wizards about it. Their legacy got shifted into UGK’s greatest album and Pimp C’s favorite UGK song, ever.
Sure, Mack 10’s debut single “Foe Life” made its way onto the album and Screw decided to morph 2Pac’s “So Many Tears” as the bed under 20-2-Life’s “Servin A Deuce” but 3 ’n The Mornin’ does two things that will forever resonate with Houston rap. It made Big Moe a star with one of the shortest verses in history and Lil’ Keke’s revolutionary “Pimp The Pen” flow became the prelude to what he’d do as a solo star in his own right. E.S.G. had it right and it became gospel soon after what people did with Screw’s tapes. Sip syrup. Swang and bang. Jam nothing but that screw, fool.