After a Decade, Lost Screwed Up Click Album The Take Over Comes to Light

The dream seemed dead.

John Hawkins, a man blessed with the voice of a preacher and the mind of a rap savant, known as Big H.A.W.K., was gone. The one major cog in the machine that was the Screwed Up Click after DJ Screw's tragic passing in 2000 had been taken from the Earth.

Two years after H.A.W.K., Big Moe followed him, a victim of his own gargantuan physical presence but also a noted addiction to codeine cough syrup. Back then, it seemed more than ever that the Click would perish into memory, emblazoned on T-shirts and through a litany of freestyles, grey tapes and recordings DJ Screw had left over the years. The SUC's individual members would no doubt rep the flag, but as a collective? A rarity, if anything.

Then, as the adage goes, a funny thing happened. The Click gained reverence as a cornerstone of Houston's musical landscape, one well-deserved and even educational to those who followed in their wake.

Late last month, the legacy stretched even further, not as a last gasp but as a reminder of what could have been. The Take Over, an album that was supposed to see the light of day around a decade ago in 2005, arrived in a digital avalanche on iTunes and Spotify and at local retailers.

Even tracking down someone from the SUC to discuss the project was a feat, but Mike-D of the Southside Playaz gave us plenty of insight into one of the SUC's final wishes. Sadly, Mike found himself sidelined by a three-year prison sentence that kept him out of one of Houston's more boisterous rap periods. "Just needed to be heard," E.S.G. told Lance Scott Walker in a 2012 feature on the rapper for the Houston Chronicle.

"Whoever killed H.A.W.K., that's what killed the drive," Mike told Rocks Off in an email after phone correspondence seemed to be as difficult to obtain as The Take Over itself. "You'll have to ask whoever killed John Hawkins about that."

Mike can vouch for this, as an original member of SUC who, after an early label stint with Lil Troy in 1991, had all but abandoned rap altogether -- until Screw, that is. To him, H.A.W.K.'s death in 2005 was the immediate moment that broke the SUC, leaving the collective weakened but not outright defeated. He doesn't refer to them as a group, more like a band of brothers with a reverence for their fallen leader.

"Even if you had beef with somebody, Screw was there to unite everybody," Mike says with a rattle of disbelief in his voice. "Wasn't no beef after you got around Screw. He said, 'We gon' screw the world,' and that's exactly what happened."

Story continues on the next page.

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