Letters from the Past:


Cliff Mack, Vicente Gutiérrez
Courtesy of Cliff Mack.
Fall-Winter 2014-15

It was ’89 when I got to college, we’re still in the MTV Era, BET is gaining popularity, music is all over the place, Hip Hop is still young, into its Golden Era, but that was really East Coast dominated at the time. When I got to Houston I was living in the 3rd Ward where the universities— University of Houston, Texas Southern University and to an extent the outskirts of the medical center, Rice University— are all located. Now the area is referred to as the museum district and there were certain things that people from that area did, culturally speaking. Things like going to King’s Flea Market, eating at Timmy Chan’s, or drinking Olde English or Thunderbird Wine with Kool Aid in it or drinking Mad Dog…college stuff, you know?

You would hear this music coming out of the cars, this was back in the whole Pop-trunk Era, and everyone would just ride around with their trunks popped up and the music blaring out of their cars. Everyone had their cars on Swangers, 30-spoked wheels on Vogue tires, and this was the music blasting out of the trunks. Friends of mine who were closer to Screw, they were getting Grey Tapes, going to the record store around the corner and asking for the latest tapes and all that. We were right in the middle of it when it was taking off. I had been around DJ Screw on a few occasions but I didn’t run with him so I don’t want to speak to things that closely pertain to Screw but I can speak to the era because I was in Houston when Screw took off.

So if you were from around the Houston area and asked, “what the hell is that?” people would say, “Oh that’s Screw, that’s Screw.” And it just took off like wild fire.

Since we were students we never really ventured to the other side of the town to see how it all had taken effect in other parts of the city. But around that Southside of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      



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