and Hawk, they came before me and they kind of helped bring me to where I’m at today. They reached out to me at different times and gave me a helping hand. Bun B came and did some stuff with me and gave me a helping hand. That let me know I need to help somebody else and keep it going. I gotta keep showing love down the line and help people coming out behind me. It’s not just about me, it’s about keeping the heart pumping in the city. That’s why I always let it be known about what DJ Screw has done.
be about it as best I can. I’m Paul Wall. Part of me is a real nice guy. But shit, I’ve got a temper too. If you push my buttons enough I’m gonna go off. When I listen to music, though, I don’t wanna hear about that shit. I just wanna hear good music. Since that’s what I want to hear, I try to abide by those same principles when I’m making music. My career doesn’t thrive off making a scene and stirring up commotion and trouble. I’ve been blessed to be around people like Salih Williams and Pretty Todd and Calvin Earl, the G.R.i.T. boys and Yung Redd and Trae who support me 100% in everything I do. The industry likes to play up all of that controversy though. Have you ever been approached by someone in the business who might want you to jump into these controversies? Oh yeah, definitely, a lot. And shit, I be doing interviews sometimes and they try to rile me up. Only magazines I got at my house is OZONE. What producers are you working with? I got Salih Williams, and I wish I would have got more from him but he’s so hot right now it’s hard to get with him. I got KLC from the Medicine Men. DJ Paul and Juicy J, Sanchez and K-O from Grand Hustle and of course the Grid Iron, Pretty Todd and Calvin Earl. You came up with Pretty Todd right? Yeah, we went to college together at the University of Houston. I’ve known him longer than that, but that’s when we first started clicking up and hanging tough. Myself, Calvin and Pretty Todd, we all pretty much have the same vision. Musically we want to make good music, with musical concepts and themes. We don’t want to make the same music, we want to make groundbreaking music. We don’t want to make the same old shit and we don’t want to make trendy music for now, we want to make timeless music where you can put the song in five years from now and it’s still gonna jam. That’s the ultimate goal for what we’re doing. We all have our own different backgrounds and creative concepts and roles that we play. The shit that they doing is just ferocious. And with the G.R.i.T. Boys and Yung Redd teaming up too, I’m just happy to be a part of it. I know I keep saying that shit, but I never in a million years expected that I’d be in the position that I’m in. Never. So just for me to be here is like wow, I’m just happy to be here. I’m enjoying this to the fullest, living it up and trying to make sure my stay here lasts as long as it can. And I’m trying to do what’s right. People like Bun B and Big Hawk, they really reached out to me. And they helped me in my journey and in my path and being that they are legends, Bun B B28
OZONE AUGUST 2005
You’re one of the few white rappers that doesn’t come off as a gimmick. With me, it was never an issue growing up. My mom always instilled in me that I’m Paul. It’s not that I’m white and everyone else is black, I’m just Paul and they are who they are. It don’t make a difference what race you are. Houston is so multi-cultural. Since we’re so close to the border of Mexico, the Hispanic population is humungous. And we’re so close to the Gulf of Mexico that the Caribbean is right around the corner, so we’ve got a large Jamaican population, Cuban population, Puerto Rican population and Trinidadian population. The Indian population is huge. The Asian population is huge. There’s only two airports in America that fly directly into Pakistan, and Houston is one of them. The city is multi-cultural. My mom always instilled that in me and taught me anti-racism. She wasn’t even neutral about the shit; she taught me that it’s not cool to be racist. Shit, it’s 2005, not 1960. It’s never been an issue with me in life or in rap. It’s just me being me. The only place people really mention it is when I go on the East coast. Other than that, nobody ever points it out. I’m cool with a lot of rappers, and I’m cool with other white rappers like Haystak, Bubba Sparxxx, and White Dawg. Racism is a lot more prominent up North even though people have the perception that the South is racist. That stigma also relates to the fact that we never had the media down here. People don’t even know what Houston is about, like you say in the song. Yeah, just like Bun says, “All they know is what we tell ‘em and what we sell ‘em.” That’s all they know. They don’t’ even really grasp what we have going on. They have no idea. That’s why people on a major label say, “We have an album, let’s get it screwed and chopped,” and go to the cheapest DJ they can find. Then it don’t sell because the DJ didn’t do it right. They could’ve just went to Michael Watts. They don’t understand that just anybody can’t screw and chop. Even to this day, if DJ Screw didn’t do it, it ain’t screwed. But at the same time, we’ve gotta honor his legacy, so that’s why we call it screw music. DJ Screw is a legend. He paved the way and created the backbone of everything we are in Houston. What are some of the records that you’ve screwed and chopped as a DJ? I did T.I.’s Urban Legend, Lil Flip’s last CD, the new C-Murder and Master P CDs. I did Z-Ro’s Let The Truth Be Told. But the one that I took the most pride in was DEA. That was DJ Screw’s group, Dead End Alliance. Screw, Fat Pat, Hawk, Lil Keke, KK, and all the main rappers from the first Screwed Up Click were on that album. 3-2, ESG, and Big Moe were on the album too. It was a classic, one of my favorite albums of all time. I always asked Hawk when he was gonna put out the screwed and chopped version, and I bugged him so much he was like “Go on and do it.” I did it and took a lot of pride in that. I went back
and listened to a lot of Screw tapes and tried to emulate it as best as I could. What’s the going rate for an album to get screwed and chopped? Do you make a lot of money doing that? Yeah, a lot of it depends on the artist. There’s always different ways. Of course, getting points on the album is one way. As far as flat fees, it can be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. It depends on the artist, the label, the relationship, and the album. Is it a lengthy process you have to put a lot of thought into or is it just natural? I just jump in and knock it right out. I can do it in a few hours, a whole day or so. But Michael Watts, he really put a lot of time into it. Every project he does. Shit Michael Watts doing his thing. He doing a great job of carrying the torch, carrying on the legacy. When was the first time you heard DJ Screw? When I heard rap I heard Screw. There was Screw tapes and there was the radio. As a little kid I didn’t understand what it was all about, I just thought that that shit was jammin’ more than the radio was jammin’. Shit, it’s just what we would listen to. It’s just like any other form of music. There’s country, rock, jazz, classical, rap, pop, R&B, and Screw music. For me it was just an option of a different form of music. You’ve set a new landmark though, because you are screwing and chopping The Transplants, a rock album. How did that come about, and how does that process differ from screwing and chopping a rap CD? Man, it pretty much was the same process, but it took a lot of effort. I had always been a fan of Tim Armstrong and Rancid and Travis Barker and Blink 182 and Skinhead Rob anyway. I met them at Atlantic Records’ offices. When we met they was showing me love, telling me they were fans of my music. I was like, “Man, you gotta be kidding me. Y’all are fans of my music?” They played me their new album and I was like, “Man, y’all need to let me go on and screw and chop that bitch.” They were like, “Hell yeah.” They just wanted to hear how it would sound. Atlantic asked me to do it on a promotional tip, but the buzz around it got so big that they decided to put out a commercial release. Just like anything else, I’m just happy to be a part of it. Do you listen to rock music too? Yeah, I listen to a lot of different forms of music. I gotta diversify. I can’t just watch BET Uncut and 106th & Park all the time, either. I watch Bill O’Reilly, everything. Even though I don’t agree with thing I see on Bill O’Reilly all the time and the way he talks to people, it’s good to watch it just from an educational standpoint. I’m trying to understand a different side of the fence. I’m trying to understand where he’s coming from, even though I don’t agree with it. It helps me step my game up. I watch CNN and Court Tv and Forensic Files. A lot of shit. It ain’t just entertainment all the time. I’m soaking up information. Outside of hip-hop, who are some of the artists you listened to coming up? Sade. That was one of the first CDs I screwed and chopped on my own. I use to jam to Phil Collins with Jimmy D in the lab. I got that from a lot of my older partnas in the hood. They used to jam that shit, and I was like, “Man, that shit jammin’.”
Ozone Mag #37 - Aug 2005