When I was a sophomore in high school, I stumbled upon this album at a local thrift store. I already knew who DJ Screw was, but had never heard any of his music besides his biggest songs such as “Pimp Tha Pen” from 3 ‘n the Morning (Part Two) and “June 27th” from June 27th. Little did I know that I had just discovered one of my favorite albums of all time, Bigtyme Vol II: All Screwed Up.
Let us get straight into the music. The first three real songs are stellar, but the album soars to new heights starting with the chilling death shout-out epic “After I Die” and doesn’t come close to the ground throughout.
The transitions on this album are some of the best I’ve ever heard, notably “Short Texas” into “Wreckless”, “Pregnant Pussy” into “After I Die”, “After I Die” into “Backstreets”, “Inside Looking Out” into “My Mind Went Blank”, “13 Ways” into “Straighten It Out”, and finally “Headin’ fo My Trunk” into closer “Da Music”.
On All Screwed Up, DJ Screw abandons his typical codeine-drenched joints of Tupac, ESG, and E-40 for early 1990s Houston hardcore hip-hop. Cuts from Point Blank, PSK-13, 20-2-Life, and early UGK grace this album. It’s the most condensed and focused selection of artists ever employed by Screw barring 1996’s Ridin Dirty.
Musically, this album is as close to psychedelic hip-hop as they come. DJ Screw fills sparse sections of this album with piano, synth strings, and ghostly wails to create a menacing and disorienting atmosphere. His seldom-used psychedelic sound is none more apparent than on UGK’s “Tell Me Something Good”, originally from Too Hard to Swallow. He layers the New Age instrumental track “Moments of Love” by Art of Noise on top of existing samples provided by Rufus & Chaka Khan and Barry White. The end result is three tracks playing at once with UGK’s rapping over it. Like production from the Bomb Squad, it’s dense and discordant at times but somehow works beautifully.
Scott’s Spectacular Song Selections include: “Short Texas”, “Wreckless”, “Pregnant Pussy”, “After I Die”, “Tell Me Something Good”, “Inside Looking Out”, “My Mind Went Blank”, “Straighten It Out”, and “Da Music”.
All Screwed Up will always have a special place in my heart. There truly is no other album like it, not even within DJ Screw’s expansive discography. Hopefully future generations will grow to appreciate this somewhat hidden gem.