My album Candy Blue Like Screw was just real sentimental to me because after all the little trials and tribulations that I went through in my life from losses in family, losses in money, losses in my freedom, it humbled me. Then I come back out to Deezie Brown, my brotha from back in the day, lending a helping hand and giving me the opportunity to do what I really want to do so I won’t have to keep repeating the same cycle. He knows that DJ Screw is my cousin and how bloodline-tied I am to that, really loyal to DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click because that’s my family. So it’s different from just music with me.
The name of the project comes from DJ Screw had a 1996 Impala when he died. That’s the car that I saw growing up. That’s the first car with rims and candy paint and TVs and speakers in it that I ever saw in the country. So ever since then, I’ve always admired that car. Every time you see a car with candy blue paint, you’ll be like, “Candy blue like Screw!”
Then the skull on the cover, if you look at DJ Screw’s albums, 3 ’N The Mornin' and All Screwed Up, he never liked to put his face on any album covers ‘cause he felt he wasn’t a model face guy. So he would put a skull on his album cover with a screw going through the head of the skull, but a white skull, just a regular skeleton skull. So on my first album, I put a skull also, but this time instead of a white skull, it’s a dark skull. And instead of just regular skeleton teeth, it actually has the diamonds that I wear on my teeth in a blue coloring. So candy blue like Screw!
So it’s deep. Me and Deezie, we get real deep into detail with people. A lot of people don’t pay attention to detail.
Deezie gave me the nine songs and he gave me the tracklist and he named the titles of the tracklist for me. He already knew my vibe. He put it together. I had just got out of jail. I had moved to Lakeway and was doing good up there away from everything, away from negativity. So I was able to focus. I was able to go to Deezie’s house every Monday doing like two to three songs a session. It gave me something to keep me busy and out of trouble. It turned into something real great because I got to express my feelings on there and my new mind.
People see my image right now, they see the exterior and think I’m still the same EC before I went to jail, but if you sit and talk to me and listen to me, you’ll be like, “Wow, he’s having an intellectual conversation. He doesn’t even have to curse to get his point across." That’s why I try not to curse the whole album. That’s the first time I’ve ever not cursed on a song ever, especially an album.
I’m blessed with Deezie. I hit him up every day. I tell him thank you every day. He’s like, “Man, quit telling me thank you.” I’m like, “Man, I’m just letting you know.” When the album dropped, when the Austin Chronicle story about us dropped, I called him and I cried. He’s like, “Man, why you crying?" I’m like, “Man, it’s tears of joy.” I don’t know why I’m crying. I’m a gangster. I don’t know why I’m crying. It’s real. A grateful situation. It gives me something to wanna go to sleep and wake up about.
Candy Blue Like Screw was supposed to get pushed back like two or three months, but I was glad it didn’t because it gave me the chance to see what it’s like and see how people act and how people act before it and how they act after it. How they treat you before or after. Even my own family, nobody told me they were proud of me or, "Good job." With the newspaper article, they didn’t take a chance to read it, they just looked at the cover and was like, “Oh, he in the paper.” So the people who actually took the time to read it, it really meant a lot to me. I even was like, “Oh yeah, they’re probably just talking about Deezie.” But I looked and they were really talking about me! It’s crazy. I was really surprised. It really felt good.
I was really sitting outside my grandmother, Miss Katie’s, house in my 2018 Benz alone because I don’t hang out with anybody, I’m really kinda anti-social, and I was like wow. I’m reading this paper, I was screaming like I had won the lottery or something. I had never been in the paper like that before except for indicted on charges. So it feels good.
It’s really sad to me, though, because my grandmother can’t see it. She loved to read the newspapers, Bastrop Advertiser and Austin Chronicle, so that’s the only bad thing. People ask me why I’m not smiling, it’s because I think about that. The person who would love to read it and tell me she proud of me and would push me even more, she can’t even do it.
But you can hear her voice on my album, though! On “Miss Katie.” I got so many Snapchat videos with her. We were like man, we be clowning. People didn’t even know it til she died because they never seen my Snapchat. Then they were like, "What? She said that? She was real nice and quiet." Nah, with me it was different. I was closer to her than all her children and she was closer to me than my mother.
She just died last April on Easter Sunday. She’s the one who raised me. My mother and my father split up when I was three or four and we moved to my grandmother’s. Then my mom started working two jobs. So it was just me and my grandmother. My mom was always at work. I was at school and I’d come home and my grandmother took care of me. So we were super close from as a kid on up, secrets and all that. The song “Miss Katie” was the first time getting to express my feelings about her passing. Because I don’t talk to anybody about that, I try not to even think about it or mention it or nothing.
And it’s crazy it got produced by Chris Bosh from the Miami Heat. I was like whoa! So that was real cool for me because I’m an only child. I’m from Bastrop, Texas. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters to show me stuff. I just learned from watching people in the streets, trying to take all their strengths and try not to get any of their weaknesses. So it’s been a long time coming, but I’m glad I’m still here. God is good.
Deezie said on “South End,” “Flights to Miami, it’s the life we imagined” ‘cause he actually got to go with Chris Bosh when they did his retirement ceremony. I feel like I lived it through him just the fact that he got to do it. I haven’t met Chris Bosh personally, but I have spoken with him over the phone and I’ve met his associates when they come visit D or if I’m at the studio over there with him, I’m in contact with his people. Me and D are really in contact with them. It’s real cool. They’re real down to earth. You’d be surprised, they’re just normal people.
But I’m not surprised because DJ Screw’s my cousin and everybody looks at DJ Screw, “Oh man, he’s the Elvis of Texas.” But to me, he was just Robert Earl Davis. That’s my cousin’s papa, Uncle Earl. He just started doing music. When he started, it was like how I am. People in the area were like, “Ah, he’s doing music? He should be out here playing basketball and sports or selling drugs.” But he just stuck with what he was good at. I got that from him. I always instilled that in myself. You could beat me in basketball or football, but when it came to freestyle battles, nobody could beat me. It was crazy.
I’m real passionate about rapping. I’ve been doing it since I was eight years old. I wrote my first rhyme at eight years old. It really started before that like when I was three or four, I can remember this whole Snoop Dogg album, my big brother taking me around. I got a half-brother on my dad’s side and my mother raised him, so that’s my big brother, that’s who taught me how to rap. That’s who put the pen in my hand first. That’s who took me around and that’s how I was able to be around the Screwed Up movement because he and my cousins who were DJ Screw’s first cousins, my brother’s with them and I’m the little brother, so it was just a blessing to be in that time and that period even though it was so short, it was like two or three years, 1997 to 2000 when he died. It was over so quick. He was actually my age right now when he passed away, 29.
I feel like I just lit the torch again before he died at the same age, 29. I’m actually about to be 30 on September 30th, so it’s like I made it over that 29 hump. We always say it’s the country curse. It’s like dang, I got all this success at 29, will something happen to me, too? It’s like nah, I wanna make it to see 30 and now I’ve made positive changes in my life and just every day is getting better.
It’s God, really who’s helped me make these changes. That’s all I had in there when I was in jail. I was in jail almost a full year. I did 280-something days. It was crazy. After 11:00 at night, you can’t call anybody on the phone. It’s lights out. Most of the people you talk to are probably going to sleep. I wasn’t looking for God before I went to jail because I used to be really in the streets, really bad. “Ah, I don’t need God, I don’t need church, none of that.” Older people would tell me, “He’s going to sit you down. He’s gonna make you listen.”
He put me between a rock and a hard place. Most of the people I expected to be there for me when I went to jail, they weren’t there. Not answering the phone or not even giving me $5 on commissary when soups are 50 cents a soup, I coulda got 10 soups. It’s little things and people I spent hundreds of dollars on and let borrow money and did things for weren’t there for me. It was a really humbling situation. I went from red bottoms to jail house flip-flops and nice Gucci shirts to just a uniform like everybody else in there. No matter what they’re in there for, we’re all dressed the same and we’re all sleeping in the same kind of bed in the same place. That showed me you can’t be judgmental of people. You judge with the same measure that you would like to be judged.
That’s why I’ve just been moving different and people just think “Oh yeah, he’s changed, he thinks he’s all that.” No, it’s not that, I just don’t want to be involved in something or be somewhere where I have to risk my freedom and go back to jail again or something like that. I’ve got so much going for me and I’ve got so many people depending on me to do this for my children, for my family, for all the kids in the country who’ve been looking up to me since I started when I was 15 or 16 when me and Deezie started making CDs. It’s crazy.
Deezie, we’ve just always vibed. We came from two different backgrounds, but we were right next door to each other. He had his mom and his dad, they had family gatherings, a lot of family and they used to allow me to go over there and they treated me like family. I guess that’s where I first learned how to behave so you won’t embarrass yourself, you won’t embarrass your family and you’ll be able to come over here again. He always liked when he comes with me and we go inside and we listening to Screw Tapes and he’s like, “Dang.” I’m like, “Yeah, I just go these from my cousin.” I’m like eight years old, seven years old. It’s crazy.
I guess when they say God has your life planned out for you before you even know what you’re going to do, He has your destiny planned out for you, I feel like that. Because Deezie and I really have something going. And we have to be careful. When the article in the newspaper dropped, everybody would support us because everybody wants something from me. I don’t even have anything. They thinking I got signed to Chris Bosh already. They think I got a check for a million dollars or something. I’m broke sometimes. I got through paying the phone bill. And I haven’t been in the streets or hustling or anything, so it’s been real hard. But with God, it’s always a way. You have people paying for features and promo and all this out of nowhere. It’s like wow, more money than it was hustlin, going to risk my freedom. It’s legal.
Then I got people with me who I’ve known for a long time, but we went our separate ways. At one point in time, it was the same thing with Deezie. Deezie had to go his separate way because if not, I could have messed up his life. I was a destructive person. I was a toxic person due to the streets and who I was around. If you’re around five toxic people, you’re going to be the sixth one. But if you surround yourself with five positive people, you’re going to be the sixth one. So Deezie’s one of those five people in that positive circle definitely. He’s always been supportive no matter what I did, no matter what anybody said about me, no matter what his parents said, “Oh we just heard he was down here, this and that.” I don’t bring that to him.
That’s where I go to do music and find my peace. I can get away and be myself. He always brought out the best in me. He brought out a different side of me. If you listen to my music that I’d normally do compared to the music me and Deezie do together, it’s like wow, they never heard me like that on my album. Everybody loves it, but even my people at home, they’re like, “That doesn’t sound like you, you don’t even sound the same.” It’s not the same. I don’t feel like I’m the same. I don’t wanna be the same because if you stay the same, that’s not growing or evolving.
I’ve always waited on a moment like this to put myself on a platform because I’ve always been on a platform before the album. I had 8,000 followers on Instagram before the album just off the street, being in the street, doing music and shows and hanging out with Texas legends personally and going to the Screw Shop with my cousins and being around all these rappers. So it’s like I been had that, but now it’s like I’m on a bigger platform and now I’m in a position to help other people get to this legal state. I got little cousins in the country, Smithville and Bastrop, little kids that are real, real talented like I was, but they have no outlet, they have no person to put them in the studio. They got people like Deezie with them, people from the same neighborhood, their friends that got little studios in the house, but I don’t wanna be greedy and I don’t wanna wait too long and give them a chance to have to go through what I went through if I could stop them now.
That’s what DJ Screw was all about. Z-Ro was homeless before DJ Screw brought him in. Things like that. He went to Houston and got people from the streets who were really deep in the streets and made ‘em start doing music. And they didn’t have to be in the streets no more because they were like celebrities and stars. Everybody just wants to be heard. It’s hard when you’re in a small town to get your voice heard, hard when you’re in the streets or in the hood. Nobody wants to listen to you. But I’m from there and now people wanna listen to me. So I can show them the way. Because nobody showed me the way. I learned by trial and error, making mistakes and learning from them and growing from them and trying not to repeat the same mistakes.
My mom be like, “You post your whole life on your Snapchat story.” I’m not doing it to show off or nothing. I’m really excited about it. I wanna show the kids in the country because they were just in the hood hanging out sitting in the park with me the other day and yeah, it’s possible. Because DJ Screw showed me it was possible to come from Smithville two houses down from where I lived and be that guy, be a Texas legend based off giving opportunities for other people to grow. He didn’t care about fame and the money he cared about was to support his family and his people.
That’s how I’ve been, even when I was in the streets, I’ve always been the guy you can call, “EC, can I borrow this?” “Yeah, you’re good.” If you pay me back, you pay me back. If you don’t, you don’t and I won’t ever tell anybody about it. That’s between me, you and God. I’m not tripping. Maybe you needed it. I know how it goes ‘cause I go through things also. Like I said earlier, judge with the same measure you wanna be judged.
I’m doing what DJ Screw did when he went from the country to Houston, I’m just doing it in Austin and connecting. I can go to Steiner Ranch out there with Chris Bosh and all of them, but I can still go down to the trenches and still hang out with the guys and they’re like, "What are you doing down there with those guys?" But they’re cool around me. And I’m just real comfortable. Nobody’s going to bother me or anything. I’m like Jesus. Jesus didn’t hang around the saints and all the people who didn’t need help.
In the paper, they call me the Strop God. And I like that because I’m just trying to live my life how God loves me. People be like, “Man, how can you mess with that person when they did that to you?” I’m like, “How can God still deal with me when I did this?” But he still loves me and forgives me. That’s what I wanna be like.
This story is a collaboration with Viii Sports. Read Deezie Brown's story here.
Listen to Candy Blue Like Screw below.