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DARIA MAGAZINE Review of "The Dirty South"

Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse

Museum of Contemporary Art Denver - September 16, 2022

Review by Emily Zeek

Growing up in Eufaula, Oklahoma, my friend John Hill remembers taking manners classes in school. [1] He was taught how to treat people with respect and how to keep the focus on the parents when their kids were misbehaving. Hill is an “OG” Southerner, part of the Mvskokee tribe that is from the area of what is now Alabama. But his ancestors were pushed northwest to reservations in Oklahoma by the Trail of Tears. A sister city in Alabama shares the same name as his hometown Eufaula.

Because of its geographic proximity, culture in Oklahoma is shaped by Texas’s enormous influence and Southern dispositions. Particularly, Hill grew up listening to the Houston-based hip-hop pioneer DJ Screw as a teenager and connected with the message of struggle that was beginning to express itself through hip hop music in the South.

DJ Screw took the innovative step of chopping and slowing down cassettes to create a distinctive sound that still influences hip-hop and pop musicians to this day. [3] “Counter to what people think, his music was about peace and bringing people together,” Hill explains, “that’s what DJ Screw was trying to do.” (READ MORE)


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