Houston rapper Large Pokey, pioneer of ‘chopped and screwed’ fashion, dies

Rapper Large Pokey, an early member of Houston’s Screwed Up Click on hip-hop collective, which helped pioneer town’s groundbreaking “chopped and screwed” fashion, died on Sunday, in accordance with a statement posted to his official Instagram account.

No trigger was given for the dying of the rapper, whose full identify was Milton Powell, which got here after footage circulating on-line appeared to indicate him collapsing backward whereas performing onstage. Neither Large Pokey’s representatives nor native regulation enforcement instantly responded to an in a single day request for remark.

“Large Pokey handed away on June 18, 2023. He was nicely cherished by his household, his pals, and his loyal followers,” the assertion mentioned. “… Large Pokey will without end be ‘The Hardest Pit within the Litter,’” it added, in a reference to the title of his debut solo album.

Large Pokey was scheduled to carry out Saturday evening at a Juneteenth occasion at a bar in Beaumont, Tex., in accordance with the enterprise’s Fb web page. In a statement Sunday, the enterprise paid tribute to the rapper, saying {that a} “tragedy that nobody anticipated” had occurred. “Out of respect for these concerned we won’t be commenting on the incident,” it added.

Large Pokey rose to prominence within the Nineties in Houston’s music scene, the place he turned an early member of Screwed Up Click on. The group was recognized for the Southern hip-hop tactic of “chopped and screwed” to sluggish tracks down.

In a 2019 interview with Ok-Rino Radio, Large Pokey credited the beginning of his profession to assembly DJ Screw, who developed the fashion. “I ain’t ever touched a mic till I met Screw,” he mentioned. “So far as music, I hadn’t achieved something apart from freestyling over someone’s beats.”

“All of it begins someplace. The whole lot triggers one thing else. That’s the secret, that’s the wonder in it,” he mentioned.

In 1999, Large Pokey launched “Hardest Pit within the Litter,” the primary of 5 solo studio albums. “I used to be shocked then,” the rapper mentioned 20 years later. “The Screw Motion, that’s form of what did it,” he mentioned. “I didn’t know that this was my future. It was just a bit music.”

The “chopped and screwed” fashion, which has a extra laid-back tempo than different hip-hop genres, originated in Houston however later had a major affect on the style nationally, together with on artists like Drake, Travis Scott and Beyoncé. Megan Thee Stallion, who can also be from Houston, featured Large Pokey in her 2022 studio album, “Traumazine.”

In a tribute shared on Instagram, rapper Bun B, who was a part of Screwed Up Click on, remembered Large Pokey as a pillar of Houston’s hip-hop scene. “Low key, humble mountain of a person who moved with honor and respect. He was straightforward to like and exhausting to hate,” he mentioned.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner paid tribute to the “legendary” Large Pokey on behalf of town in a statement on Sunday. “Although many known as him ‘low key’, his presence was bigger than life in serving to to catapult our hip-hop scene nationally,” Turner mentioned. “We’re grateful.”

Imogen Piper contributed to this report.

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