EWA100 - #68. DJ DMD - 25 Lighters

68. DJ DMD (feat. Fat Pat & Lil' Keke) - 25 Lighters (EastWest. 1999. From the LP Twenty-Two: P.A. World Wide)

Mike Dikk: This is kind of a hard sell for 98% of the east coasters that never heard this song before. I remember seeing the video a couple times on BET, but outside of that, this song didn’t really get any love in the birthplace of hippety hop.
It’s not a shitty song though. It’s very much like any modern southern rap song, except the beat is a lot more laid back and the subject matter is less exaggerated. I’m not exactly sure of DJ DMD’s southern celebrity status, but he’s had around 4 albums, but this is definitely the only song I’ve heard off of any of them. Fat Pat and Lil Keke from the Screwed Up Click handle the rapping, but I imagine DJ DMD is sort of like DJ Clue where he puts out an album with a bunch of different people rapping on it. Thankfully there is no “DJ CLUUUUUUUEEE” “DESSSSERRRTTTT STOORRRRM” yacking over the song.
This is a fun little song with a catchy chorus that you can just sit back and smoke some weed to on a hot day. I’m not sure if it would make my personal top 100, but it’s definitely worth a listen if you’ve never heard it before. I’m also not sure what the “lighters” in the song symbolize, but I imagine it’s something a lot more menacing than actual lighters. Then again, maybe these dudes just enjoy owning a lot of lighters to proudly display on their dressers.

Raven Mack: I have no idea who a DJ DMD even is, but I'll take half-responsibility for this obscure-ass song being amidst a list of mostly mainstream jams, because me and this dude Keenon aka Kingmob who was on the panel are both DJ Screwheads. DJ Screw is a definite acquired taste, which like has been said, usually means something sucks but you should learn to like it, kind of like when someone calls some dogfaced chick from Syria or something an "exotic" beauty. And the first time I heard Screw, I was like anybody else where it sounded like you had a shitty boombox with the batteries almost dead and the tape was dragging. But I have also been a dabbler of the drugs in my lifetime, not so much nowadays, but I'm still naturally tweaked (as opposed to being on a natural high, I'm more of a natural tweaker - overhyped, prone to outrageous statements, and more than apt to get all paranoid or do something ultimately recklessly stupid), and there is great joy in Screwed music as perhaps, outside of early Cypress Hill, rap music's greatest contribution to music made specifically for drug abuse.
So there's your preamble of explanation as to how this made the list, oblivious to DJ DMD's involvement. I don't know if the song you find when you look for this is the regular one or not, but this is really a Screw song - DJ Screw slowing it down to make Fat Pat and Lil Keke sound like they're supposed to. I was listening to the local mix show the other month, and they played "Southside" by Lil Keke, but at regular speed, and the shit sounded foreign to me, similar to how I felt when I heard "Towdown" on that DJ Shadow Essential Mix from the Land of Limeys being played at regular speed. I'd also say, that if I were to choose the penultimate DJ Screw song, for me personally, it would be "Towdown", and I don't even know who's officially the artist on that song. I know it has Screw and Big Pokey and Hawk though.
And that for me is the greatest thing, but also the tragedy behind screwed music. DJ Screw has long been dead, long before the Paul Walls and Slim Thugs and Chamillionaires of the world took a more commercial screwed and chopped appeal to the satellite television laser beams. Fat Pat's dead too, and if you've ever listened to any Screw mixtape, the highlight of them nine times out of ten tend to be at the end of the B-side where Screw just lets a beat play out for like 17 minutes and members of the Screwed-Up Clique would freestyle, and Fat Pat, eight times out of those nine, would stand out above and beyond everybody else on there. Even Hawk, Fat Pat's brother and probably my favorite lyricist from a saying-interesting-shit perspective out of the screwed movement, got shot last year. Lil Keke's getting a hyped push this year, but will anybody care about some ugly-ass dude dark enough for fireflies to follow around in the daytime, because it's not the essence of screwed music that marketable, but the goofy good-natured pretty diamond-encrusted smile that's photo shootworthy of the Paul Walls and Slim Thugs and Chamillionaires.
For me, that's not screwed music. It's ugly and stupid, and that's why I grew to love it probably so much, to the point that now I make tapes of my old boombap 12-inches with it dragging as much as I can take. It sounds so much better, because I'm not a hyper fucker, even if I am naturally tweaked out. And ugly and stupid is real. It seems there's two branches of Hip Hop for the most part - the mainstream and the underground. Mainstream is ignorant-speaking and catchy-sounding and image is everything; underground is clever-speaking and grating-sounding and image is everything. Screw music and the dudes who did it are just big ugly fuckers like you'd see in your own shitty town, with bug-eyed faces and chicken grease stains on their flea market Fubu, but they still did their thing.
I would say from an outsider's perspective, whether they agree with our sort of Monster Jamz orientation of this list, or if they would be internet crate-diggers by means of the downloadable blog era with 25% Swedish record collectorism mentality, this will be the stupidest song on this list. But if one kid - just one kid somewhere out there on the other side of these stupid pretentious Expert Whiteboy words me and Mike have been throwing at you - gets into Screw and ends up riding around in his shitty car blowing out his sub-woofers while bumping Screw, high as a motherfuckin' kite, then this whole list will be worth it.

Download: DJ DMD - 25 Lighters

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