Legends in H-Town: Ridin’ Dirty with UGK & DJ Screw

With almost 300 chapters in DJ Screws discography, Torii MacAdams highlights one of the most essential.
By    August 4, 2015


Torii MacAdams is straight up dedicated to the Cadillacs.

There are almost 300 “chapters” in the DJ Screw discography, a monument to the literal late night cottage industry in Screw’s home. Of the 293 Screw mixes, there’s only one chapter with exclusive UGK material. Ridin’ Dirty, a precursor to UGK’s studio album of the same name, was long overdue–Pimp C and Bun B were regular visitors to Screw’s house, with Pimp C going so far as to solidify his relationship with Screw by spending 48 hours with him in a jail cell after a minor weed arrest.

In Sweet Jones: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story, Julia Beverly documents the creation of the Ridin’ Dirty tape. Like all Screw tapes, the recording session for Ridin’ Dirty was impromptu. Pimp and Bun were hanging out, getting high, when the decision was made to formalize Screw and UGK’s friendship. When asked who they’d like to feature on the tape, Pimp C requested a then little-known Dat Boy Grace. Grace told Beverly that he only made one stop on the way to Screw’s house. “My way to show respect and homage [to UGK] was to come with all the party favors. I showed up with pints [of lean] and the best of the ‘dro and pills.”

After a night of chemically enhanced cavorting, Screw and UGK began recording in the small hours of the morning. Beverly writes

“As Screw kicked off the mix, he challenged them to try to make it through the whole tape without stopping. ‘If you mess up, we’re gonna have to start over,’ he told them. ‘So don’t mess up.’…’I’m not even gonna tell y’all what beats are gonna come on,’ he added, ‘I’m just gonna be mixing, y’all pass the mic. Nobody gonna know what track gonna come on next, y’all just gotta go.’ ”

Chapter 182: Ridin’ Dirty, as it’s come to be known, is essential UGK. There’s an inveterate looseness to the proceedings, with Screw’s palette of instrumentals skewing decisively toward the West Coast, and Pimp, Bun, and Grace rapping about lean, boppers, and cartoon violence. UGK’s albums have been (rightfully) canonized, but the Ridin’ Dirty tape deserves special recognition as a seminal moment in Houston rap history. There may have been two Ridin’ Dirty’s, but there’s only one DJ Screw, one Pimp C, and one Bun B.

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