Houston rapper 'Big Pokey' dies after collapsing in Beaumont, officials say

Daniela Hurtado Image
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Houston rapper 'Big Pokey' dies after collapsing, officials say
Milton Powell, known as 'Big Pokey,' was considered a pillar in the Houston hip-hop community and was "larger than life", Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a tweet.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The city's rap community is mourning Sunday after officials announced the death of rap legend "Big Pokey."

Eyewitness News confirmed with Justice of The Peace Tom Gillam III that "Big Pokey," also known as Milton Powell, died in Beaumont, Texas.

The Sensei rapper reportedly collapsed at a bar in Beaumont after Saturday's show, but what caused his death is unclear.

According to social media posts by Pour09 Bar & Rooftop, the rapper was scheduled to perform at the venue Saturday as the special guest during a Juneteenth celebration.

Before Beaumont, Powell performed at Bicentennial Park in Baytown Saturday night in his final performance in front of his beloved fans.

ABC13 spoke with longtime fan Kendra Ouzenne, who attended the Baytown show.

"Poke was one of the influential people of that sound, so it's a sad and hard loss for the Houston community. And music overall as well," Ouzenne said.

Fellow Houston rapper Bun B posted on Instagram, making the first announcement about the death with a mournful caption saying:

"I wasn't ready for this. 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. He'd pull up, do what he had to do, and head home. One of the pillars of our city. If heart of gold was a person. Iconic member of the SUC. There will never be another, and will be missed dearly. We love and honor you, Sensei. Rest in heaven."

Another Houston rap legend, Slim Thug, said on social media that it's a "sad day in the city" and said he is sending "prayers to his family."

"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!'" Powell's team said in a statement to ABC13.

"Though many called him "low key," his presence was larger than life in helping to catapult our hip hop scene nationally." Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a tweet.

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