DJ Screw Day 2023 holding more significance with death of 'June 27' freestyle rapper Big Pokey

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
27th year of DJ Screw Day looms large in wake of Big Pokey's death
June 27 marks DJ Screw Day in Houston. Twenty-seven years ago, the iconic producers "June 27" freestyle was released.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- June 27 marks the anniversary of a landmark moment that music enthusiasts see as the day Houston's special brand of hip-hop was put on the world map.

Legendary producer DJ Screw released his 38-minute freestyle record, "June 27," in 1996.

The Houston DJ and co-founder of the iconic Screwed Up Click hip-hop collective put the record out with a succession of his friends rapping on the mic, one after another.

What was iconic about the record was its significance as a showcase of DJ Screw's production style and the moment the city's hip-hop luminaries became stars. The DJ's "chopped and screwed" sound, which is often characterized by slowed-down tempos and "hiccups" of the beat, became the trademark of the city in worldwide hip-hop circles.

"June 27" also marked the breakthroughs of rappers like Big Pokey, Yungstar, and Big Moe, whose flows on the slowed-down record became iconic for future generations of Houston artists.

The beautiful thing about the record was the fact that it was all done in the name of fun, taking place in his living room during rapper D-Mo's birthday.

"June 27" was just one work of DJ Screw's more than 300 mixtapes he made over his career. Sadly, the DJ, whose real name was Robert Earl Davis Jr., passed away more than four years after the record's release. He was 29 years old.

DJ Screw Day in 2023 holds a deeper significance in light of Big Pokey's death just weeks earlier. On Tuesday, Rapper Bun B's Trill Burgers is offering a one-day-only "Big Pokey" meal with all proceeds going to his family.

The Big Pokey meal includes a Triple OG Burger with three patties and a Big Pokey Pop Peach Soda from Exotic Pop.