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Friends and family gather for the funeral of Houston rapper Big Pokey

Family members follow the casket from the church following the celebration of life and legacy rap artist for the late Houston rapper Milton "Big Pokey" Powell, Jr. at Fountain of Praise church on Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Houston. Powell died on June 18, after collapsing during a performance in Beaumont. He was 48 years old. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Family and friends gathered at the funeral over the weekend for Houston rapper Big Pokey, an original member of the pioneering group Screwed Up Click.

Pokey, who was born Milton Powell, died June 18 at the age of 48 after collapsing at a performance in Beaumont, located east of Houston. Those attending his service Saturday at Fountain of Praise church in Houston included Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and rappers Paul Wall, Trae Tha Truth and Slim Thug, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Pokey was known for Texas and Gulf Coast hits such as “Ball N’ Parlay,” “Who Dat Talking Down,” and a verse on DJ Screw’s nearly 36-minute freestyle known as “June 27th.” He was also featured on Megan Thee Stallion’s 2022 “Southside Royalty Freestyle.”

Nationally, Pokey was most known for a featured appearance on Wall’s 2005 debut hit song, “Sittin’ Sidewayz.” The chorus was sampled from Pokey’s verse on “June 27th.”

Pokey, who grew up in Houston, began garnering local fame in the late 1990s as an original member of the Screwed Up Click, a friend group-turned-rap collective led by DJ Screw, who developed a slowed, pitched-down music style known as “chopped and screwed,” which become synonymous with Houston.

Pokey released his debut album, “Hardest Pit in the Litter” in 1999 and “Da Game 2000” the following year.