Houston rap.

Songs you've got to hear.
Sept. 30 2005 5:10 PM

The Tippin' Point

The Houston rap scene blows up.

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Since the late DJ Screw invented the psychedelic chopped and screwed remix style—inspired, as legend has it, by recreational use of prescription cough syrup (known locally as "syrup," "purple," or "screw")—it has become standard practice for Houston rappers to put out two versions of an album: one at normal speed, the other molasses-slow and cut-up. In the end, the chopped and screwed style may be Houston's most enduring export. TVT Records recently teamed up with Michael Watts to release official chopped and screwed versions of the latest albums by Lil' Jon and Ying Yang Twins. The effects are especially transmogrifying when applied to Lil' Jon's sound. The whistling synth notes on "What U Gon Do" become dripped candle wax, and his usually cheerful growl sounds like it belongs to Satan himself.

Martin Edlund is a writer in New York.

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