Two days ago, an onlooker captured cell-phone video of Minneapolis police forcefully restraining an unarmed black man, 46-year-old George Floyd, at a bus stop. One white officer knelt on top of Floyd, pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for seven minutes. Floyd said that he couldn’t breathe, and then his body went limp. Onlookers pleaded for the officer to get off of him. Later, at a hospital, Floyd was pronounced dead. Since then, four police officers have been fired, and police have used tear gas, smoke bombs, flash grenades, and rubber bullets against protesters.
As it turns out, Floyd was once a part of one of America’s most vital rap scenes. The Houston Chronicle reports that Floyd was born in North Carolina, but he grew up in Houston and became star high-school athlete, getting into Florida State University on a basketball scholarship. Floyd didn’t finish college; instead, he returned to Houston and started making music under the name Big Floyd. In the ’90s, Floyd rapped on mixtapes from DJ Screw, the late Texas legend. Floyd was also part of a group called Presidential Playas, who released one album in 2000.
The Chronicle reports that Floyd moved to Minneapolis in 2018, where he found work as a truck driver and bouncer. Floyd was close to the retired NBA player Stephen Jackson. Jackson has been mourning his death on social media, and so have fellow Houston rap veterans like Trae Tha Truth and Lil Keke. Below, listen to some of Floyd’s work.