Filmmaker Isaac Yowman has released a trailer for Chopped and Screwed: the Final Mixtape, a documentary on DJ Screw, his signature sound, his struggles with police brutality and racism and his impact on contemporary music and culture 20 years after his death.
The film, which does not yet have a distributor or streaming partner, is slated for release at the end of 2021. The documentary was executive produced by Joseph Litzinger, the Emmy-nominated executive producer and showrunner of the Emmy Award-winning Life Below Zero franchise, along with Yowman, Bruce Kalmick and Darby Wheeler and Rodrigo Bascunan, the Peabody and Emmy award-winning producers of the hit Netflix show Hip Hop Evolution. DJ Screw’s sister, Michelle Wheeler, served as a consulting producer.
The film gives a firsthand account of Screw’s life from the people closest to him and the various artists influenced by him today. Growing up in Smithville, Texas, the Houston native quickly went from a novice DJ performing at skating rinks and bowling alleys, to packing night clubs and selling thousands of mixtapes daily.
As a key player in the ’90s southern rap scene, DJ Screw popularized the codeine-cough-syrup concoction “lean” and slabs, along with the chopped and screwed sound. The film explores his contribution to hip-hop and the circumstances surrounding his death in 2000.
“The idea of telling the story of DJ Screw is just as important today as it was during the time of his passing in 2000. A tale of overcoming the odds, racial injustice and inspiration to many,” Yowman, a native Houstonian, says in a statement to Billboard. “This film will show the power of a man that prevailed over the adversities that blanketed his community and used his experiences to create a legacy that lives on today. Screw’s impact on southern culture is no secret, but his influence on music globally is a story untold.”
Watch the first trailer below.