Ten years ago this month, one of the great, lazy American geniuses died, at the age of 29, from drinking too much cough syrup. His name was Robert Earl Davis Jr., and I believe he stole the technique that made him famous from the Mexicans. Under the name DJ Screw, Davis earned a living taking other people’s rap songs and slowing them down. Like a good mixtape DJ, he would add EQ, subtle effects and scratches to heighten the impact of each song, but what made him special was his unrelenting commitment to syrupy slowness. Everyone who has mistakenly played a 45rpm single at 33 knows the effect, but by dedicating himself to this process Screw turned what could have been a joke into a rap subgenre, an oft-copied process (countless Southern rap records have ‘chopped & screwed’ versions), based on a technique so simple that it has philosophical heft.