Houston Music

The Enduring Importance Of DJ Screw's "June 27th"

Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday (that isn't a national holiday) Rocks Off will have some of them hear discussing issues relevant to their culture.

This Week's Panel: Chalie Boy, Yung Redd and Hash Brown

Not Invited: The guy from the Gear Slutz forum who tried to say that some guys in Florida came up with Screwed music before DJ Screw

This Week's Prompt: Normally we discuss topics that have a grander narrative than simply localized subject matter, but this week we're almost required to talk about one thing: "June 27th."

If we remember correctly, The Box named it the best song in Houston hip-hop. We don't think that's true, but it is, without doubt, one of the most important. Some of you all were involved personally, but nearly all of you all - we're assuming - were influenced by it. The question this week is simple: Tell us where you were the first time you heard it, and what it meant to you as a rapper.

Did it totally alter your existence? Was it akin to Aladdin finding that lamp with the genie (sorry about the non-thuggish-ness of that comparison)? Or did it not even affect you? Is it overrated? Too long and vacuous? Go.

Chalie Boy: The song itself was a great representation of the Screw genre of music for its time, [and] has endured over the years as a Texas anthem. The fact that the song (beat) got so popular off of a long freestyle by Houston rappers, and not the original song by Kris Kross, was pretty amazing. To my knowledge, it's been key in influencing several remakes since the creation of that freestyle. Thanks to DJ Screw, that song has been embedded in Houston history.

Yung Redd: Man, I was so young. That's when Screw had the red Bonneville before the famous blue Impala. I had every tape, but that one was in the top ten. I was fresh out [of] middle school going to Worthing. We used to play that flow in my room all day long! Me and Lil Llip even sampled it on our first album, Hustlaz Stackin Endz.

Hash Brown: I first heard "June 27th" back in high school. I can't remember specifically where I was or what I was doing, I just recall hearing it a lot back in those days. To me, it embodies the essence of a "true" freestyle. These days the term "freestyle" gets thrown around when its really just written/rehearsed rhymes put over an instrumental.

On "June 27th," you can tell that these boys were coming off the dome with spontaneous flows. I don't know anybody that didn't make flow tapes with their homeboys back then. "June 27th" definitely sparked a lot of Houston's rappers to attempt freestyling, and from there they built a foundation as an artist. I don't think it influenced the style of hip-hop I create but it did encourage me to start rapping.

"June 27th" represents those rare moments when the beat is right, the vibe is right, and the energy was right. "June 27th" isn't without technical flaws, but then again freestyles aren't meant to be flawless, so from that point of view I consider "June 27th" a classic, a perfect "10" and a standard not reached by many in the pantheon of Houston hip-hop.

Fast forward a decade or so to last week at Premium Goods, Hollywood Floss and I were checking out some new tees and they had "June 27th" playing. Granted, we were there for a hour or so, and it felt like it was playing for most of that hour or so; it's a long freestyle, which isn't traditional either by today's formula. Every person in the shop sort of paused and relived their "June 27th" moment as it played.

Would I listen to it every day? Nope. But when I do hear it, I usually stop what I'm doing and listen to it like I don't know what's about to happen.

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Shea Serrano