DJ Screw June 27 Review
In 1996, DJ Screw had already assembled a massive super crew of Southside rappers who had picked up the Screwed Up Click banner and wore it like a letterman jacket on Friday nights. Screw tapes weren’t perfect, but they centered around one man and his own opiated universe, where even the most silly of moments were recorded on wax for the world to enjoy.
June 27, much like a legendary rock album on the surface is a one-song tape. Beyond it, its a clever mix of obscure reggae contorted into a slow jam groove and Screw sticking to a bevy of tough guy raps from some of D-Mo’s personal favorites. Big Moe sways and sings, “It’s that Big Moe in here with that boy D-Mo on his b-day…” and ultimately sets off the preamble to what is arguably the most memorable freestyle in Houston rap history. What results on the first track from the B-side of June 27 is magic. Kinetic energy where most who were shouted-out during the roll call from Big Moe, D-Mo, Haircut Joe, Key-C, Big Pokey, Yungstar, Mike D, Clay Doe, Pooh & others don’t care about who is going to ultimately be the star of the tape. It was a personal tape for D-Mo, as it was his birthday after all.
Moe plays grand host on “June 27th” which in reality is one huge volley for Big Pokey & Yungstar to test their distinct styles against one another. Pokey raps with such an authoritative husk that everything around him pulls inward like a black hole. Its his verse that would lead as the cradle for Paul Wall’s “Sittin Sidewayz” track some nine years later. His verse details some rather vivid drug references, which he admits only amplified the moment he graduated high school; minimum wage could kiss his ass, and even at 330 pounds he was still gonna sleep with all kinds of women. Yungstar on the other hand is far more playful, coming through with insane boasts and twisted requests (“baked potato with chives”) and an inability to properly speak in custom Islamic greetings. In a matter of thirty-eight minutes, almost the bulk of side B, Big Pokey, Yungstar & Big Moe turned into neighborhood legends.
Want to know a fun trivia answer? Steel Pulse’s “Roller Skates” is the song that follows the massive husk that is “June 27th”. True to Screw’s origins, most of the songs picked out on June 27 were from D-Mo himself, tacking together the molasses like ethereal hum of Bone Thugs N Harmony’s original “Crossroads” and the fatalist yet braggadocios “High Til I Die” from 2Pac amongst cuts from Botany Boys in “Survivin’ The Game” (a perfect mix of cutthroat Street Military like realness that Screw specialized in playing surgeon with) and Pac’s around the world groupie tale of “All Bout U”. June 27 captures the summer of 1996 in one two-hour combination of how omnipresent 2Pac was and how determined neighborhood tough guys wanted to be legends on Screw’s tapes.