If you've heard only one song mixed by DJ Screw, Houston's most legendary icon of underground hip-hop, chances are good that it's the freestyle rap from his 1996 mixtape, Chapter 012: June 27th. Clocking in at an all-too-brief 35 minutes and 45 seconds, the song features the ad-lib talents of some of the city's most beloved Southside rappers, including Big Moe, Yungstar, Big Pokey and others.
That freestyle, shared by seven MCs over a sample of Kris Kross's "Da Streets Ain't Right," codified the Screwed Up sound for all time. It made June 27th the best-selling mixtape of the late DJ's too-short career, spawning enough local love to make June 27 something of an unofficial holiday in Houston.
But one local man has been celebrating June 27 longer than anybody else. You probably don't know who he is or what he's about, but he was one of the rappers on that legendary freestyle. In fact, he inspired it. His name is DeMo Sherman, and June 27 is his birthday.