Screwston, Texas

Turning the Screw: Slim Thug Associates, Willie D, Jay-Z vs. Auto-Tune, 50 Cent, Paul Wall, Big Hawk, Jazzy Jeff, Trae & Z-Ro and More

Welcome back to Turning the Screw, Rocks Off's weekly rap post. It probably won't rhyme, at least most of the time. E-mail tips to [email protected]. Thanks, homies.

Single of the Week: "Associates"

Wire To Wire

Poor, poor Willie D.

We were excited the other day when we read this thing about how vinyl sales had ballooned up to nearly 3 million(!) in 2009 - ever since Chris Gray's vinyl feature ran in 2007, we've been stoked about the increasing possibility of being able to build up a rare hip-hop collection - then we realized that 3 million still only accounts for less than one percent of all album sales.

Auto-Tune's feelings have not been hurt by the recent "Let's Bash Auto-Tune Because Jay-Z Said To" movement, probably on account of the gajillion dollars it's already made these last two years. Oh, and here's Wyclef's song disregarding the machine, which brings up an interesting paradox: Is it still hurtful to Auto-Tune if you make a song bashing it, but you use Auto-Tune to make said bashing song and it turns out to be kinda hot?

New mixtape music from 50 Cent tomorrow.

Did anybody else catch Paul Wall tweet that he's quit the syrup? We always assumed that's where he garnered his Houston-y strength from, like Samson or something, so it'll be interesting to see if it has any effect on new music. Speaking of...

We'll usually bend over backwards to make a "Paul Wall Is A Bad Rapper" joke, so we feel obligated to mention that his latest CD, Fast Life, has gotten better and better with each subsequent listen. "Daddy Wasn't Home," a Tupac knock-off that sees him drop his syrupy veneer, initially seems like the dreary hard-knock-life track rappers will churn out here and again, but it is unquestionably authentic. It might be his most endearing song ever. Now excuse us while we go find an oven to put our head in.

Lloyd is trying to leaving record label The Inc. (formerly Murder Inc.) We don't know why, but we've always been kind of partial to Lloyd's efforts. Probably has something to do with him looking like the Cleveland Indian.

The Anti-Pop Consortium is readying new music. We were never big, big fans, but we do think their name is the balls.

More evidence supporting the urban legend that Lauryn Hill hates white people, cancels European tour.

Last week we wrote a little piece about Big Hawk for the weekly Five Spot segment. About 18 seconds after it went up, we got an email from a regular reader (and importunate disagreer) who goes by the name "Portee" to let us know that we should have included Hawk and Z-Ro's "Southside" rather than "Heart Of A Hustler." After much deliberation, we will concede this point. "Southside" is several notches better than "Coming Home." Enjoy it, fucker.

Rick Ross and his crew are officially endorsing 1800 Tequila's Silver Select. Said a spokesman from Silver Select: "We're a 100 proof tequila, and Rick Ross and his camp are 100 percent fake. It's a perfect fit."

Max B, the former Dipset member, has been found guilty of masterminding a complicated robbery of two wealthy men. We don't wanna question the legal system, but when have you ever known anyone from Dipset to "mastermind" anything?

Yo Gotti was arrested for out-of-state license plates? We were under the impression the only penalty one could levy for spotting an out-of-state license plate was a punch to the arm.

Those assault charges against DMX were dropped. That's great - if those other 83 charges all get dropped he'll be a free man.

50 Cent settled out of court with that home engineer who quoted him an estimate of $600,000 for upgrades and then hit him with a bill for $6 million. That guy has to be the worst guesser in the history of guessing. He's, like, the Paul Wall of guessing (...and we're back).

DJ Jazzy Jeff was kicked off stage at a show in Kansas City. Details have been a little hard to come by, but we heard that Uncle Phil had something to do with it.

Houston Rap Video of the Week

Because you either missed it or forgot about it.

"Let Me Live," Trae feat. Z-Ro and Shyna

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Shea Serrano