April 22, 2017

DJ Screw - Chapter 314: Man Pooh (2000)

Hearing the Man Pooh tape is the first new DJ Screw experience I've had in a while. I've been out of exploring new music for quite some time and I also wanted to go back and re-listen to my favorites before I went any further in my chopped-and-screwed journey, so it's very nice to re-wet my feet with this exceptional Man Pooh tape. Anyway, Chapter 314--damn--I didn't even know they were up to chapter numbers that high. Let me lay down a few things for those of you not hip to the nature of DJ Screw releases. One, a store called Screwed Up Records & Tapes (now a website too) reissues the underground DJ Screw tapes cut to classic grey Maxim tapes as double-disc albums with uniform artwork. Two, chapter numbers solely represent the order in which the tape was reissued, so the number bears no chronological significance. Three, an entire tape could be the product of a single recording date, a single session could possibly span over the duration of a few tapes, or a tape might include completely separate recordings from different dates compiled as A and B sides (I'm not sure how much of all this is the work of reissuers versus the original tapes). Four, as of today, Screwed Up Records & Tapes is still consistently reissuing these tapes. The reissues are usually put out in small batches every 2-5 months. Chapters 320-323 (the most recent) were released just this past March and Chapter 314 was just released last summer. It's dope that authentic chopped-and-screwed is being released consistently, but some of the tapes, like Man Pooh, missed the boat. Other than this small blog post, I doubt the tape will work up much hype because the shit like Complex's chopped-and-screwed list was already published long ago and the so-called essentials have already been more-or-less determined by the internet.

Chapter 314: Man Pooh comes as a recommendation to me from a friend and a fan of the blog. I probably would have never listened this tape if it weren't for that suggestion and I'm glad a little twist of fate brought me to this album because it's one of Screw's best. I am always suspicious of the later-on Screw tapes--from 1999-2000--because this was when his source material (outside of Houston and dirty south, of course) started to drop off. The West coast still had some bangers coming out, but a lot of those late 90s junts just couldn't compare to the golden-era of g-funk that Screw would chop up in 1996. The only part in Screw's discography I don't vibe with is when he included the Jay-Z and Eminem on Blue 22. Granted, he made the songs better than their pathetic original versions, but I really do hate Eminem and Jay-Z that much, and as a result that one tape is the reason why I hesitate before putting on a Screw set from year 2000.

Thankfully I came across Man Pooh to help get past that stupid mental block. Chapter 314 is a personal tape dedicated to Man Pooh as Blue 22 is to Z-Ro and Niggaz Can't See Me is to Fat Pat.  Man Pooh was a close friend of Screw and the S.U.C. and was often among those talking and freestyling on tapes. The mix has an overall sunken attitude and is opened with a spoken Man Pooh intro on top of a monstrous Nuthin But A G Thang instrumental. Screw hangs out playa cuts and cash cuts, but lays down much more tracks dealing with sadness, loss, and misdirection. Chops and spinbacks are kept at an absolute minimum to allow the source material and sequencing to speak for itself. The Cash Money remixes are standouts and my favorite moment might be the DMX track; slowed and maddening. If you enjoy the more introspective and direct Screw mixes with little cross-fader workings, then this will be especially be right up your alley.


Chapter 314: Man Pooh