Local Current Blog

Minnesota music community mourns George Floyd, Conga Latin Bistro staffer and former Houston rapper

George Floyd, as illustrated by Andres Guzman.

The Minnesota music community is reeling from the death of George Floyd. Around 8 p.m. on Monday, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes at 38th and Chicago in South Minneapolis (for more on this, go to MPR News).

In Minneapolis, Floyd was best known for working security at Conga Latin Bistro, a restaurant and dance club at 501 Hennepin Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. His boss (and landlord) Jovanni Thunstrom told the Star Tribune, “He was family. His co-workers and friends loved him.” On Tuesday, St. Paul artist Maria Isa memorialized Floyd on Twitter, writing, “RIP Big Floyd. Thanks for treating us like royalty at Conga.”

Before Floyd moved to Minneapolis, he was part of the rap community in Houston. In the ’90s, under the name Big Floyd, he worked with Houston legend DJ Screw, who famously invented the “chopped and screwed” turntabling technique. Later, he was part of Presidential Playas, who released their album Block Party in 2000.

In memory of Floyd, dozens of local artists have shared their frustration and hurt on social media, and many of them joined the protest that started at 38th and Chicago last night. On YouTube, hundreds of users have posted comments mourning the late artist.

Update (June 11 at 4:54 p.m. Central): For more on the chopped and screwed sound plus George Floyd’s musical legacy, listen to the new Switched on Pop episode titled, “Big Floyd and the Influence of Houston Chopped N Screwed Music.”