Screw and chop – you either like it or you don’t. The Geto Boys brand of hip-hop music – you either like it or you don’t. Neither one is apologetic about what it has to offer. The Geto Boys always promised their audience they would be violent, sadistic, foul-mouthed and sexually explicit – and those were their GOOD qualities. Seriously though, the Geto Boys were the group that put Houston, Texas on the map by being dope as fuck and selling units by the truckload nationwide with little to no radio play. Screw and chop music doesn’t rely on big-time distribution or national exposure either. It has a cult following among hip-hop in general, enjoying much larger popularity in the South where it originated, where some said the style was a direct result of the amount of “sizzurp” MC’s and DJ’s sipped in large quantites, due to cough syrup having the effect of making everything feel “Slow Motion” like Juvenile with a fat-ass broad. While purists will argue nothing should be called Screw sound or style unless it was done by the originator, the late great DJ Screw, the name has stuck and the term “Screwed and Chopped” has come to describe any mix where the songs have been slowed done and the lyrics cut up and repeated by the producer in either analog (turntable) or digital (computer) fashion.
The Geto Boys “Greatest Hits Screwed and Chopped” is therefore either the marriage of two things you absolutely love, or the nightmare of two things you can’t possibly stand. It’s possible this album may have a limited distribution or number of units sold as a result, but then again Rap-A-Lot Records obviously thought enough of the union to put out the album themselves when many of the “Screw and Chop” albums that are released are bootleg versions of popular Southern albums. To solidify the mix they brought in the famed Swishahouse producer Michael ‘5000’ Watts, and he does the Geto Boys classics justice. If you’re a fan of either the Geto Boys or the slow down style, you couldn’t possibly ask for better results. Watts finds the right tempo to make everything come off that much fatter, hitting the right speed to drag out those bass beats and using impeccable timing to chop the right words in the verses.
These songs were some of the finest the Geto Boys had to offer as it was, so it would behoove both Watts and Rap-A-Lot to make sure they come off correctly and don’t disrespect the legacy that the group has left to hip-hop. Thankfully these songs now have some extra smooth value for cruising in your ride to, or may sound just perfect if you’re sippin’ on that sizzurp yourself – a practice I don’t recommend as it probably shortened DJ Screw’s life, and if you’re going to do it anyway please do me the service of not drinking AND driving at the same time. Enjoy the two seperately, but enjoy the combination of Michael Watts and the Geto Boys together. “Mind Playin’ Tricks” has never sounded so ominous, and Bushwick Bill literally sounds like the devil is going to jump out of his throat during his verse. From the ultra-slick melody of “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster” to the psychotic raps within “Mind of a Lunatic” to the harmony of the somber “World is a Geto,” it’s all good when it’s Screwed. Since the songs are a bit longer than the original version of “Greatest Hits” a few tracks had to be cut, but the album still clocks in 15 songs and 78 minutes long and includes the exclusive bonus track “Mary II (The Answer)” featuring Ashanti that was on the original. “Greatest Hits Screwed and Chopped” – you’ll either like it or you won’t, but odds are if you like either the Geto Boys or the Screw style, you’ll like it a lot.