Soldiers United for Cash (DVD)

Artist: DJ ScrewTitle: Soldiers United for Cash (DVD)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

With the attention Houston has gotten the last year and a half, DJ Screw deserves the lion’s share of the credit. It was his vision that took Southern/Bounce, and gave it a screwed-up twist. Unfortunately, Screw isn’t here to see the fruits of his trendsetting. Soldiers United For Cash (REL Entertainment) captures the journey Screw made, as well as his massive influence. In addition to words and footage of Screw, Lil’ Flip, Z-Ro, Big Moe, and others pay tribute to one of the South’s greatest innovators, and pioneer of “Screwed” music.

Just like an early mixtape, this DVD suffers for its quality. A low-hum in the sound, poor editing, and just lack of interesting things to show weigh this work down considerably. Back to back Botany Boys live songs in poor audio, fifty feet away, with handheld camera only goes so far. But this DVD has some very strong content to make up for its amateur presentation.

DJ Screw’s interview is most interesting. Although it looks like an infomercial for his store and record label at some points, Screw comes across as a charismatic individual. He had a lot of love for all his protégés, and reveals an amazingly deep connection to groups like Whodini and Compton’s Most Wanted, which may help justify his own direction in music. Of the other guests, Big Moe is the other very interesting interview. For those in search of Lil’ Flip footage, you may find pleasure in Flip’s naivety. The late 90’s footage reveals Flip with a questionable looking future. Who would know that five years later, Flip would go on to become a global star. The entire Clover gang is portrayed not in expensive videos, but in its purest grassroots terms.

Like so many Rap documentaries, Soldiers United For Cash will interest the novice fan only once. For those in search of getting to know The Screwed Up Click and other major players in Southside Houston, this is very well-done. For those of us who never knew DJ Screw, the footage reveals what a blue-collar visionary he was – for his music, his label, and his community.