Rapper Big Pokey Fatally Collapses Onstage

Houston's Milton Powell was 45
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2023 11:57 AM CDT
Rapper Big Pokey Dies at 45
Big Pokey performs at the House of Blues in downtown Houston in January 2020. Milton Powell, a Houston rapper who performed under the name Big Pokey and is credited with elevating the city's hip-hop scene, died Sunday, June 18, 2023, after collapsing during a show in Texas.   (Jamaal Ellis/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Big Pokey, a rapper credited with advancing the Houston scene, collapsed on stage while performing Saturday at a bar in Beaumont, Texas, and died the next day. The rapper, born Milton Powell, was 45, CNN reports. "It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved Milton ‘Big Pokey’ Powell," reads a post on his official Instagram. "He was well loved by his family, friends and loyal fans." His death was first announced by fellow Houston rapper Bun B, USA Today reports, who called him "One of the most naturally talented artists in the city. Low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect. He was easy to love and hard to hate."

Big Pokey and Bun B were both members of hip-hop group Screwed Up Click; Big Pokey's debut album, Hardest Pit in the Litter, was well regarded, and he released five others in his two decades-plus on the scene. Mayor of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted that his "presence was larger than life in helping to catapult our hip hop scene nationally. The City of Houston and I extend our prayers and condolences to our own Screwed Up Click legendary rapper #BigPokey family and friends. We are grateful." (More obituary stories.)

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