Houston rapper Big Pokey was laid to rest Sunday, a week after he collapsed onstage and died during a performance.
A week ago, Big Pokey was onstage in front of an audience in Beaumont, Texas, when he suddenly collapsed. A video circulating online and on social media shows Pokey taking the microphone in front of a crowd. He takes a breath and then falls backward.
He was 48. The cause of death is not yet known; a preliminary autopsy report was inconclusive.
On Saturday, he was laid to rest following a service at Fountain of Praise church in Houston. Among the luminaries turning out to pay their respects were Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and rappers Paul Wall, Trae Tha Truth and Slim Thug, according to The Houston Chronicle.
Pokey, whose real name was Milton Powell, was a founding member of the Screwed Up Click, a rap collective led by DJ Screw, who is credited with developing “a slowed, pitched-down music style” that became known as “chopped and screwed,” according to the Associated Press.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved Milton ‘Big Pokey’ Powell. Big Pokey passed away on June 18, 2023,” read a statement posted on his Instagram following his death. “He was well-loved by his family, his friends, and his loyal fans. In the coming days, we will release information about his celebration of life and how the public can pay their respects. We ask that you respect his family and their privacy during this difficult time. Big Pokey will forever be ‘The Hardest Pit in the Litter.’”
The Hardest Pit in the Litter is a reference to Pokey’s 1999 debut LP. A year later, he released the album D-Game, and his third album, Da Sky’s Da Limit, was released in 2002.
Other notable credits include his appearance on Paul Wall’s “Sittin’ Sideways” and DJ Screw’s “June 27th.”
More recently, his released his last album, Sensei, in 2021 and appeared on Megan Thee Stallion’s 2022 track “Southside Royalty Freestyle” alongside Sauce Walka and Lil Keke.