George Floyd a.k.a Big Floyd from the Notorious Houston Rap Group Screwed Up Click
Seeing the surreal and recurrent experience of yet another Black person who has died at the hands of a supremacist law enforcement, their lives become a politicised representation and emblem of change that needs to happen, now. More than ever, these peoples lives become compromised and unfortunately not properly celebrated as to how these individuals donated a part of their lives to the beatitude of existence and art, before it was suddenly cut short.
On the 25th of May 2020, 46-year-old George Floyd died at the hands of four Minneapolis policemen, leading to the protest of his unlawful killing and sparking a nationwide plea to put an end to police brutality and raise awareness that racism is alive and kicking, especially towards the Black community. We take this moment to remember his life as told by friends and family and it turns out, that Floyd was affiliated with legendary Houston rap crew Screwed Up Click, led by late musical maestro DJ Screw from the 90s.
Although Floyd was born in North Carolina, he grew up in Houston in Third Ward and became an impressive high-school athlete in basketball. He started a basketball scholarship at Florida State University but didn't end up finishing college; instead, he returned to Houston and made music. Floyd rapped on mixtapes and was also part of a group called Presidential Playas, who released one gangsta-style rap album Block Party: The Album in 2000.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Floyd was associated with the hip-hop collective founded by Screw who was the innovator of the chopped and screwed DJ technique, hence his name. Its most notable members include Big Hawk, Big Mello, Big Moe, Big Pokey, the Botany Boyz, E.S.G., Fat Pat, Lil' Flip, Lil' Keke, Lil' O, Trae and Z-Ro. Fans have now started to share Floyd's features on Screw tapes, rapping under the alias Big Floyd (a nickname he attained because of his stature). One particular track that surfaced was a 24-minute song "So Tired Of Ballin" where Big Floyd emerges near the 14-minute mark, cruising over a lethargic beat, talking about growing up in Third Ward and dreams of driving a Bentley.
Another track has Floyd and an artist called Daryl rap over a screwed version of AZ's "Sugar Hill". Floyd talks about all the things he wants to gain in life like having meals at fancy restaurants, a big mansion for his mother and being comfortable in life not worrying about bills. More recently, someone was able to isolate his verse on a song called "Sittin On Top of the World" from DJ Screw's 1996 Chapter 324 Dusk 2 Dawn mixtape. Here he raps on this electrifyingly funky beat about cruising down the boulevard, his love for the Third ward as well as having a drink and smoke with his friends and "chopping blades". (Riding cars with large wheels and spinners, a very 90s style thing to do and a Houston tradition).
Although the death of Floyd has sparked vast coverage as of late, we must not forget the other Black lives that have been taken unlawfully not too long ago. Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old, fatally shot near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia while jogging. Tony McDade, a Black trans-man shot and killed by police in Florida. Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old who was pushed from a balcony to her death and Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old killed during a police raid of her home. Every death is more infuriating than the last and even though the officers that were involved in the death of George Floyd have been fired, they have not been arrested even though there is video evidence of his battery beforehand and suffocation afterwards saying "I can't breathe" to the officers only to be ignored. The officer who committed the murder, Derek Chauvin, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But even history doesn't suggest that all those other people involved will be brought to justice. This isn't even the first time that we've heard the plea from a victim saying "I can't breathe". Eric Garner repeated the phrase 11 times whilst officers restrained him in the New York City borough of Staten Island and died from compression of neck (chokehold) and compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.
Now more than ever we need non-Black people who continually take space within Black culture to stand up and speak out and choose whether they will help us fight against the system or not. Silence is taking the side of the oppressor. People are risking their lives protesting during a pandemic and cruelly it is being met with a backlash of violence whereas earlier this month, a group of mostly white people (many of them bearing arms) were crowded in front of the Minnesota State Capitol to protest being on lockdown and were not met with ANY violence whatsoever.
Whilst this article remembers Big Floyd as an artist, avid basketball player and beloved member of his community he will always be remembered for bringing life to the society around him before his life ended abruptly.
My heart goes out to all protestors, victims families, anyone who feels hurt by these actions and the corruption of the police force. I, as a non-Black POC, will forever be standing in solidarity with you.