“June 27th Freestyle / Da Streets Ain’t Right Freestyle” by DJ Screw


DJ Screw’s “June 27th Freestyle” is 10 seconds longer than Ornette Coleman’s “Free Jazz”, but the most eventful thing that happens in it is a birthday. It’s a 37+ minute song Screw and his Screwed Up Click made to wish their friend D-Mo happy birthday. There’s no concept. It’s just rapper after rapper talking about friends, hanging in Houston, eating, coming through for D-Mo.

There’s a lot in “June 27th”– how the chopping and screwing increases the materiality of the hip-hop sample and the freestyles, both artifacts and performances. The sample itself– from Kris Kross’s “Da Streets Ain’t Right”, which samples the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Warning”; national hip-hop flipped for Screw’s personal Houston scene, reducing the scale despite the excessive length.

But really the thing about “June 27th” is just how inviting it is– an epic of warmth & community, not challenge. It’s a gift, a tribute to the excess of friendship. It’s D-Mo’s birthday. Screwed Up Click can afford the time, and it’s kind of wonderful to have a chance to afford it with them.

-Audrey Zee Whitesides

az_sizedAudrey Zee Whitesides is a poet and musician born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Her poetry and cultural writing has appeared in/on Autostraddle, Wonder, and Bone Bouquet among others, and she’s the author of several DIY chapbooks, most recently i’m the POTE. She also leads Brooklyn trans punk band Little Waist.

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Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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