Adding even more national attention to George Floyd’s tragic death Tuesday in the hands of Minneapolis police officers, it turns out the 46-year-old Minneapolis resident was an early member of legendary Houston hip-hop innovator DJ Screw’s crew.
The Houston Chronicle brought to light Floyd’s ties to the Screwed-Up Click and the city’s celebrated hip-hop scene in its coverage of the Houston native’s death Wednesday, after talking to his family members who live there. Floyd moved to Minneapolis from the city in 2018, according to the Chronicle’s report.
A recording of him freestyle rapping over a typically sludgy Screw groove – working under the MC name Big Floyd — began circulating social-media sites Thursday, titled “Sittin’ on Top of the World” (posted below). Music outlets including Billboard, Stereogum, Vulture and XXL have also now picked up on the connection and posted that track and others from old Screwed-Up Click mixtapes.
DJ Screw, who died in 2000, pioneered the so-called chopped-and-screwed technique and is widely considered one of the most influential producers and mixmasters in hip-hop. His imprint is audible in later recordings by Paul Wall and Lil Flip as well as in electronic music circles such as the Swishahouse label.
Floyd was also tied to the Twin Cities’ hip-hop and Latinx music scene as a security staffer at Conga Latin Bistro. The restaurant and dance club’s owner Jovanni Thunstrom told the Star Tribune, “He was family. his co-workers and friends loved him.”
“Thanks for treating us like royalty at Conga,” rapper Maria Isa said in social-media posts about Floyd, calling him “a gentle precious funny giant.”