The Houston rapper Big Pokey has passed away at 45, as local news station Fox 26 reports. He suffered a medical emergency and fainted while performing at a bar in Beaumont shortly after midnight on Sunday; he was taken to a hospital and later died. His cause of death is pending awaiting autopsy results.
“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,” reads a statement provided by his publicist. “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.’”
Big Pokey was born in Houston in 1977. He emerged as one of the members of the city’s Screwed Up Click, appearing on many of DJ Screw’s early mixtapes. In 1999, he released his debut album Hardest Pit In The Litter, and followed that up the next year with D-Game 2000. In 2005, he was featured on Paul Wall’s 2005 track “Sittin’ Sidewayz,” which peaked at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Big Pokey’s most recent album, Sensei, was released in 2021; he put out an EP with J-Dawg, Play Tha Game, this past March. Last year, he appeared on Megan Thee Stallion’s Traumazine track “Southside Royalty Freestyle” alongside some other Houston rap legends.
Bun B, another Houston rap hallmark, paid tribute to Big Pokey on his Instagram: “Low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect. He was easy to love and hard to hate,” he wrote. “There will never be another and will be missed dearly. We love and honor you Sensei. Rest in heaven.”