Chris Ward, a friend and former collaborator with George Floyd, has discussed the the pair’s freestyle rap performances and wider bond in a new interview following Floyd’s death.
Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis on May 25 following an altercation with police officers. The incident led to hundreds protesting on the streets in Minnesota, and dozens of demonstrations have now been held worldwide.
Speaking to Pitchfork, Ward remembered him as local freestyle hero Big Floyd, a “positive-vibes” figure who was part of Houston legend DJ Screw’s highly-respected Screwed Up Click. “He was a big brother to a lot of people. He was a peacemaker. A mentor. Just a positive vibes-type person. A real great guy, man, all around.
“Big Floyd was already a southside legend in Houston when I met him, because of the Screwed Up Click,” Ward continued. “DJ Screw was the radio for the city. Big Floyd was already on tapes, and already cool with the guys, and cool with DJ Screw.”
Fans have been sharing a 1996 freestyle Floyd recorded over the beat for Da Brat’s ‘Sittin’ on Top of the World’ from Screw’s ‘Chapter 324: Dusk 2 Dawn’ tape – listen to the clip above.
Ward also suggested that Floyd would have been pleased to see change enacted in his name through the Black Lives Matter movement. “If I know Floyd, I know this: If he knew that this happening to him would change the world or the way people would act about the whole situation, in a positive light, he would be all right with that,” he said.
A number of artists and organisations have been raising money for anti-racism charities as worldwide protests continue following Floyd’s death.
K-pop superstars BTS have donated $1million to Black Lives Matter charities, while Bandcamp held their latest “100% royalties for artists” day on Friday (June 5), with many artists donating their fees to organisations fighting for racial justice.