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.