An overdose of codeine, mixed with drugs, caused the November death of DJ Screw, according to a spokesperson for the Harris County Medical Examiner's office in Houston, the hip-hop producer's hometown. DJ Screw (born Robert Earl Davis Jr.), 30, was found dead in the bathroom of his studio, according to the New York Times, with the cause of death presumed to be a lethal combination of "syrup" the prescription-only, codeine-containing cough medicine Promethazine, popular in the South as a recreational intoxicant marijuana and alcohol, of which Screw was a known user.
The producer became renowned on the Southern hip-hop scene and eventually around the United States for his "screwed down and chopped" or "screwed up" versions of hit tracks, which the producer would manually slow down using the pitch control on a turntable. Mixtapes full of screwed versions were his specialty, with an output rumored at close to 1,000 tapes. Among his best-selling mixes were June 27th and The Final Chapter, as well as the All Screwed Up! and 3 'N the Mornin' series.
Screw also owned the Screwed Up record store and record label in Houston. The Screwed Up Click, a crew of local rappers including Lil' Keke and Big Pokey that formed around him, were among many to provide freestyle rhymes over his slowed-down beats.