Years before he became a symbol of racial injustice, George Floyd was heavily involved in the Houston hip-hop scene under the moniker Big Floyd. Not only did he develop strong relationships with city legends like Trae tha Truth and Cal Wayne, he was also an affiliate of the popular Texas collective Screwed Up Click and appeared on a number of records helmed by DJ Screw.
"It automatically ties him to a legendary legacy," Bun B told Rolling Stone about Floyd's involvement with the late DJ. "By having that level of proximity to DJ Screw you are automatically afforded a certain status in the city of Houston, and held in high regard."
Although he never got the chance to meet Floyd, Bun B said his death affected him and his family in ways like never before.
"This Friday was the first day that my own son had to come to the realization that, as a father of black children, something could happen to his children in this world just because they’re black," Bun B explained. "It actually brought me to tears for him, having that realization."
Paul Wall also recalled Floyd's impact on Houston rap, and pointed out the love Floyd would receive from fellow MCs.
"[Floyd] would rap on tapes, but you would also hear other rappers say his name on tapes. Big Pokey saying something about Big Floyd. Lil’ Keke saying something about Big Floyd. Mike D saying something about Big Floyd," Wall told the magazine.
According to Rolling Stone, Floyd was raised in Houston's Third Ward, but moved to Minneapolis in 2014 in search for a better life. During his time in Texas, Floyd befriended Trae and became one of his biggest supporters at a time when others had turned their backs on him. In 2009, multiple people were shot during the second annual Trae Day near Texas Southern University. Many blamed the Exhale rapper for the incident, claiming he was condoning violence with his lyrics.
"I was banned from radio worldwide," Trae said. "It will make 11 years this year. At a point, a lot of people left. They didn’t want to talk to me. They didn’t want to have no affiliation, because I was going through a tough time as far as being blackballed. He randomly on his own went to protesting himself and doing videos saying everything that Trae do for the community; y’all trying to stop him and it’s not right. He always spoke up for what’s right, even when young dudes in the neighborhood may be doing some stuff that ain’t cool. When there was a lot of killing going on throughout our city, he would always speak up, like, 'This ain’t the way.'"
Trae and Bun B participated in the protests held in Minneapolis, the place where Floyd was killed while in police custody. The pair also led a march Tuesday in Houston's Third Ward, where about 60,000 people reportedly gathered demanding justice for Floyd and other victims of police brutality.
"I'm calling all neighborhood heroes, all neighborhood big homies, all OGs, all community activists, community leaders," Trae said in an Instagram video ahead of the march. "... Today, everybody gonna be held accountable ... [Floyd's family] want to do it peaceful and make this a beautiful event. And we gotta honor our word ... Anybody of us get mistreated, we're gonna stand up and we gonna step on that. Anybody come out there trying to just be reckless and cause damage for no reason ... we're gonna hold them accountable right then and there. The goal of the day is to show the nation, man, we stand what George stand for ... George was real humble and a person of love."
“THE CROWD HAS DOUBLED IN SIZE”: @abc13houston Sky eye 🚁 captures a huge crowd peacefully marching to #Houston city hall for #GeorgeFloyd. Thousands are still streaming in. WOW. LIVE COVERAGE: https://t.co/V4ZSTuvAtF pic.twitter.com/mi8eDONOlR— Charly Edsitty (@CharlyABC13) June 2, 2020
Cheers rose up from the crowd as these dudes rolled up. Clip-clip-clip-clop. pic.twitter.com/x1h8UpmyQy— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) June 2, 2020