Reviewed by Robert Gabriel, Fri., July 28, 2006
Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, Texas, July 22
With the recent unsolved murder of Houston rapper Big Hawk looming large over its proceedings, the first DJ Screwfest galvanized the resolve of a city in crisis. While advertised promises of a UGK reunion, as well as performances by the likes of Lil' Flip, Devin the Dude, and Mannie Fresh went unfulfilled, the Pasadena Convention Center enjoyed its fair share of defining moments. On an outdoor stage, adjacent to an array of thoroughly enhanced automobiles, the Gritboys, Ghostwriters, and Slim Thug stomped seismic waves through a turf soon to be drenched by a brief afternoon downpour. Once the thousand-something crowd squeezed through the twin doors of the Convention Center Hall, an aura of unity surrounded the Hawkins family table as every rapper on the stage paid their respect to Big Hawk, Fat Pat, and, of course, DJ Screw. As the Botany Boyz ushered in the proper frequencies of a Screwed Up Click session, Chingo Bling and New Orleans bounce king 5th Ward Weebie flooded the common ground between bayou cities. If there was a single person in attendance who failed to be captivated by Lil' O's onslaught of lyricism, fellow SUC member Trae rallied even the dead as he delivered his rendition of "Swang" with child in hand. The cryptic imagery provided healing for a scene seemingly on the verge of a peaceful transcendence.