Turn The Beat Around

Long before DJ Screw, Darryl Scott was Houston's mixmaster, spinning records that eventually spun him into the ground. A reformed Scott has a new rap these days - the word of God.

Audience in tow, he started playing nightclubs. The Screaming Eagle, the Red Rooster, Grand Central Station. Freedom's "Get Up and Dance" was the record that got the party started. Blue Hawaiians and Hurricanes were the drinks of choice. Monte Carlos, Regals and Cutlasses were the smooth rides -- Cadillacs for big-time players.

Scott, though, he drove a Mercedes-Benz. Bought it in the tenth grade with DJ money. Bought a Jaguar the year after that. Didn't trade in the Mercedes, either -- had the Jag and the Benz. You know you're a ghetto celebrity when folks recognize your car. Scott used to jam in MacGregor Park every Sunday. You could hear his sound system clear from South Park to the Third Ward. As soon as he drove up, folks would bum-rush the Benz, cash in hand, begging for Blast tapes.

Scott's timing on the turntables was impeccable. Nary a beat was missed as he moved from one song to the next. He always knew what hit to drop, when to maintain the pace, when to slow it down, and his fans loved him for it. They followed him wherever he played, so owners of dead nightspots often guaranteed Scott a percentage of the door. Scott's take got so large he would be scared to leave the venue with it, entrusting his bankroll to friends or family who sneaked it out undetected. After a while the club owners would always "renegotiate," thinking Scott's following was now theirs. Scott would then move to a new spot, bringing his audience with him -- and the same thing would happen, time and time again.

In his Bible, Scott carries this photo of his father as a boy.
In his Bible, Scott carries this photo of his father as a boy.
Byron Jarmon's conversion started a chain reaction at Blast Records. Some 35 people have been saved so far at the store.
Deron Neblett
Byron Jarmon's conversion started a chain reaction at Blast Records. Some 35 people have been saved so far at the store.

The nightlife wasn't an easy life. Scott didn't figure out who Eddie Murphy was for the longest, never having been home on a weekend night to watch Saturday Night Live. There were a lot of women, which brought a lot of turmoil. He started drinking, becoming so partial to Jack Daniel's that when he finally quit, his neighborhood liquor store closed down. Dealing with club owners was like catching snakes. It got so hectic that by 1984 Scott was contemplating retirement. He was 20 years old.

There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in this world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me….Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? -- Corinthians, Chapter 14

My weed smoke is my la / A key of coke is a pie / When I'm lifted I'm high / With new clothes on I'm fly / Cars is whips and sneakers is kicks / Money is chips, movies is flicks / Also, cribs is homes / Jacks is pay phones / Cocaine is nose candy / Cigarettes is bones… / Your bankroll is your poke / A choke hold is a yoke / A kite is a note, a con is an okey-doke / And if you got punched that mean you got snuffed / To clean is to buff, a bull-scare is a strong bluff / I know you like the way I'm freakin' it / I talk with slang and I'ma never stop speakin' it. -- Big L, "Ebonics"

"The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning…." It's halfway through Bible study, and Scott is deep into Deuteronomy, chapter 28, having covered the benefits of obedience and now exploring the consequences of disobedience.

"…the Lord will smite thee with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed…." His voice fills the room, unamplified. The message is on point, but he drives it home anyway. "Hmmph. That itch. Ladies, you know how these fellas be hollering atcha and be just scratchin' themselves…." Knowing, nervous laughter.

Soon Scott proceeds down to the other end of his counter, nearest to the door, where the young bucks gather. "You're thinking, I'm caught up in circumstances. I'm here due to choices my parents made. Why do I have to be involved in this? We was drafted in this."

"We got too many absentee ballots in this parent thang," he continues. "It's flesh outta control. But God don't make no mistakes. Sometimes it's good to be in a one-parent family, if the father is one of these sorry wanna-be ballers. One of these syrup-sippin', sweets-rollin' fellas, thinkin' it's cool to look like a thug. Feelin' bad for themselves 'cause they in the ghetto. They hide behind the sex and weed and drugs and music, then bring a child into more misery in the world…."

Scott opened Blast Records in 1984 at the same South Park junction of Martin Luther King and Old Spanish Trail where it still stands. It was a smash, with the rise of rap music creating a hunger among young folks for the likes of Run-DMC and LL Cool J. Older folks stopped by, too, for their dose of Klymaxx or Babyface. The money was so good that Scott quit DJing clubs. He kept making tapes, though. That was good money right there.

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