Big Pokey dies at age 48

Big Pokey, a Houston rapper, died late Sunday after collapsing at a bar in Beaumont, Texas, according to his publicist. 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’.”

Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, honoured 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.

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.

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.

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