Legendary Houston rapper Big Pokey died overnight Sunday after collapsing at a bar in Beaumont, Texas, his publicist has confirmed. The rap star, best known as part of the Screwed Up Click collective, was 48 years old.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved Milton ‘Big Pokey’ Powell,” reads a statement from the rapper’s publicist on behalf of his family. “Big Pokey will forever be ‘The Hardest Pit in the Litter’.”
The post said Big Pokey was a “low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect. He was easy to love and hard to hate. He’d pull up, do what he had to do and head home.”
Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, honored the rap legend on Twitter, saying: “The City of Houston and I extend our prayers and condolences to our own Screwed Up Click legendary rapper #BigPokey family and friends.”
One of the original members of the Screwed Up Click named for the late rap star DJ Screw, Big Pokey helped to pioneer Houston’s “chopped-and-screwed” approach to hip-hop that referred to slowing the pitch of the underlying track to create a heavy, laid-back sound.
The style was often associated with lean, also known as purple drank or sizzurp, which is a concoction of codeine and promethazine cough syrup mixed with fruit-flavored soft drinks and ingested alongside large quantities of cannabis. The mix is supposed to make the world seem like it’s moving in slow motion.
George Floyd – who was murdered by an on-duty Minneapolis police officer in May 2020 – was once a part of Houston’s Screwed Up Click, and he rapped on multiple mixtapes as Big Floyd during the 1990s, according to Stereogum.
Milton Powell joined the “chopped-and-screwed” scene as a teenager. Known for his baritone singing style, Big Pokey had his first hit with a six-minute long appearance on the 1996 epic June 27th.
“We were just playing around. Once I got in with Screw and we got to do it on the table, we were always doing it for the fun of it. I was never doing it for things to blow up,” he said in a 2001 interview.
Big Pokey released his debut album Hardest Pit in the Litter in 1999. He put out two subsequent albums, D-Game 2000 and Da Sky’s Da Limit, over the next three years.
Last year, he joined Megan Thee Stallion on Traumazine’s Southside Royalty Freestyle alongside a slate of fellow Houston rap legends, Pitchfork reported. Two years ago, Big Pokey was asked in an interview with K-Rino if there was anything he’d have done differently.
“I really wouldn’t, man,” he said. “It’s crazy, but honestly man, I take the bitter with the sweet. I just do.
“I just take it all in stride.”
Published: 2023-06-18 22:54:04