Big Pokey, of Houston’s legendary Screwed Up Click, dies after collapsing at Juneteenth show

Known for hits like “June 27th,” “Pour09,” and “Down N’ Ball,” DJ Screw, the iconic freestyle performer, collapsed while performing at a bar and nightlife venue in Beaumont, approximately an hour east of Houston. His 36-minute verse on “Dat Who” and other tracks became legendary in the Gulf Coast and Texas.

Officials and family are awaiting the results of the autopsy to learn the cause of death. The death of the rapper, Pokey’s, was confirmed by Tom Gillam, the Jefferson County Peace of Justice III, as well as his publicist, La’Torria Lemon, to the Associated Press. Pokey had performed at Powell County where he fell back and passed out before taking a deep breath into the microphone, appearing on “Freestyle Royalty Southside” by Thee Megan Stallion. Videos of the rapper quickly circulated on social media.

Pokey Big, known by a slew of nicknames including Podina and Poyo Big, began to garner local fame in the late ’90s as an original member of the Click Up Screwed, a collective rap group led by DJ Screw, who developed the style of music known as “screwed and chopped,” which eventually became synonymous with Houston and spread throughout the southeastern United States.

In the mid-2000s, UGK and Chamillionaire, along with fellow popular underground artists from Houston like Wall Paul, Thug Slim, Flip Lil’, brought attention to the mainstream sound and signed national distribution deals, causing a pitch fever.

In the year following 1999, Pokey released his debut album “Litter,” which became popular among Houston rappers who could not afford to tour or have their music played on the radio outside of their state. This was during a pre-streaming era.

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Pokey, who grew up in the southside of Houston, became a standout football player at Yates High School, where he formed close friendships. His life took a dramatic turn when the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by the Minneapolis police sparked a global wave of protests and a national reckoning with racism and police brutality.

Floyd’s death, which was a horrible killing and a torture, was published in the Chronicle after days. Pokey wrote an op-ed in which he expressed that it hurts and we watched him fight for his life. We saw my brother, who was like a homeboy to me, killed in front of the world. I had to sit there and watch my brother die, and this was heartbreaking.

Pokey reflected on his enduring connection with “Big Floyd” during their high school football playing days, emphasizing the importance of holding law enforcement accountable in his op-ed.

“He said, ‘He loves that entire community he’s got. He was someone. It took them until every day of his life, but he was proud of it. He’s from Third Ward, Houston, Texas.'”

Pokey took his athletic talents to junior college football powerhouse Blinn and then Abilene Christian University before focusing on his emcee skills.

Speaking about the iconic soul group, Pokey expressed, ‘Relaxing in an unconventional manner, guys in a state of confusion/on a Sunday evening, I might engage in some Maze,’ in his section on ‘June 27th.’ The refrain was extracted from Pokey’s section on Paul Wall’s initial popular song from 2005, ‘Sittin’ Sidewayz,’ which brought him the most recognition across the country.

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His song “November 18th” is regarded as the most influential song in the screwed & chopped cannon, incorporating elements of Houston’s native sound, with homage paid to avid fan and superstar Drake, as well as other huge artists in hip-hop such as Bryson Tiller, A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé, who all incorporate the prevalent sound of Houstonians into their music.

“Wow!” On Big Moe’s impressive written and “Whoa!” Black Rob’s on capture Texas’ popularity with their rap country songs like “Choppers”. They, like the late southern hip-hop icon Pimp C, have also created other Texas rap country “classics” alongside Pokey.

His most recent endeavor was the 2021 record “Sensei,” which references another one of his aliases and is praised as his comeback to the music industry.

Houston’s most naturally talented artist, known as “Powell B,” received heartfelt tributes from his close friends and collaborators, Bun and Lil Thug Slim, as well as his fans, after his untimely passing.

Instagram said B Bun, one of the pillars of our city. He pulled himself up and thought about what he had to do, what he had to do.

Powell leaves behind a spouse and three children who are currently attending college.

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