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Introduction to Big Hawk

Big Hawk (born John Edward Hawkins) was an American rapper based out of Houston’s tough South Acres neighborhood. Known for his distinctive gruff voice, Martin Lawrence-esque sense of humor, agile flow and collaborations alongside DJ Screw – Big Hawk became an integral foundation of 90s Texas hip hop. Tragically he would be murdered in 2006, just as the H-Town scene began reaching a nationwide popularity peak.

Origins & Early Life in Houston

Big Hawk (often stylized as Big H.A.W.K.) was born as John Hawkins in Houston’s South Park neighborhood on June 15, 1969. He grew up in the South Acres housing projects, surrounded by rampant poverty and crime – an upbringing reflected vividly within Hawk’s music.

Few details are known publicly about Hawk’s family life or education history. However music quickly became an obsession – particularly Houston originators like the Geto Boys, Scarface and UGK. He began honing his own rap skills while immersing within the city’s emerging hip hop scene.

Initial Career & the Screwed Up Click

Hawk first made a name for himself on Houston’s underground mixtape circuit with a raw sound repping his South Acres stomping grounds. His unique flow and punchlines soon captured the ear of influential figures like DJ Screw, essentially the father of Houston rap music.

Big Hawk ended up joining Screw’s renowned collective, the Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.) alongside talents like Fat Pat, E.S.G., Lil Keke and Big Pokey. The group is considered legendary cementing the entire chopped & screwed subgenre to this day.

Hawk proceeded to contribute countless classic verses to DJ Screw’s influential “Grey Tape” series throughout the 90s. These flows were memorialized forever via Screw’s signature slowing down of records. Simultaneously Hawk began issuing his own tapes like 1991’s Hogg in tha Game continuing to carve his niche.

By the mid 90s, Hawk’s straightforward, no nonsense flow had made him a revered figure nationally in underground circles. Songs like “Southside Still Holdin” and freestyles over popular instrumentals showcased his aggressive, ends mentality. Yet just as greater fame seemed imminent, Big Hawk would be struck by devastating tragedy.

String of Tragic Losses

In 2000, Hawk’s brother and fellow respected Houston rapper Fat Pat was murdered outside of an apartment complex. Their brotherly bond made the incident emotionally shattering for Big Hawk who spoke of Pat as his personal hype-man and best friend (Source).

Just over 2 years later on November 16, 2002 – DJ Screw himself died from a codeine overdose, sending more shockwaves through Houston’s rap family. These successive tragedies took a clear emotional toll on Hawk who continued making music, but seemingly turned more reclusive.

Then in 2006 while leaving a recording studio, another senseless act of violence would steal Big Hawk from loved ones.

2006 Murder & Unsolved Case

On the evening of May 1, 2006 outside a Houston recording studio, Big Hawk was fatally shot multiple times in his vehicle by an unknown assailant (Source). He was only 36 years old at the time.

The murder remains officially unsolved, although theories have swirled of intended targets and retaliation motives due to HAWK’s past connections (Source). It’s been suggested Big Moe, Hawk’s younger cousin and fellow revered H-Town rapper, may have been the actual mark in a still perplexing case shrouded by the streets.

Regardless of intentions however, another pillar of the Houston Sound was tragically cut short as the region’s influence expanded nationally through icons like Chamillionaire, Paul Wall, Slim Thug, Mike Jones and countless descendants of DJ Screw carrying the torch in the late 2000s.

Discography as a Solo Artist

As most of Big Hawk’s early work arrived via DJ Screw’s mixtapes or features (many uncredited) – HAWK never achieved huge commercial numbers. However his fingerprints lie on countless classics as an architects of Houston rap alongside names like Scarface and UGK’s Bun B/Pimp C.

Some of the late MC’s more recognized albums/mixtapes included as a lead artist:

  • Hogg in tha Game (1991)
  • Under Hawk’s Wings (1995)
  • My Main (1997)
  • Crystal Clear (1999)
  • Big Black Hawk (2001)
  • Hawk’s Next (2002)
  • Screwston: Live and Lived (2003)
  • Endangered Species (2006)

Big Hawk’s Collaboration History & Features

Playing a seminal role within DJ Screw’s influential S.U.C. crew – Big Hawk of course appeared all over the “Grey Tape” series, essentially Houston rap’s bible via underground followings nationwide. Countless uncredited features showcase Hawk’s gruff voice anchoring classics alongside key players like Fat Pat, Z-Ro, Lil Flip, Lil O and more regional legends.

As a reputable force of nature on Houston’s 90s rap scene – Big Hawk also secured album features from respected national acts outside Texas at times like:

Musical Style & Rapping Technique

Lyrically, Big Hawk crafted tales looking at Houston’s crime infested streets from an on-the-grind perspective. Drawing from his own harsh upbringing while looking out for younger peers, his songs aimed to teach essential hustle mentalities and coping skills growing up within environments plagued by poverty and violence.

Big Hawk’s rap style itself swung between thoughtful storyteller and aggressive, quick-firing spitter depending what any beat called for. He forged a lane fusing regional slang and a fearsome dynamism into captivating glimpses of day-to-day life in his South Acres section of H-Town.

Similarly his unmistakable deepened voice alongside slick metaphors projected boundless charisma and microphone presence. As Chamillionaire said eulogizing his fallen comrade, any track with Big Hawk on it became his record instantly.

Later Solo Projects & Legacy

Even after his shocking death, a handful of solo albums and mixtapes containing unreleased Big Hawk material posthumously saw official release thanks to his family:

  • A Bad Azz Mix Tape, Vol. II (2008)
  • The Legacy of HAWK (2009)
  • True Love Alone (2010)

Additionally, countless songs from aspiring Houston artists over the years have sample or pay direct tribute to various Big Hawk verses – immortalizing his bars forever as the culture marches forward. Modern talents like Sauce Walka to mixtape DJs like DJ Screw Jr. uphold his legacy daily by remixing or rapping over Big Hawk’s classic instrumentals and a capellas.

For his fundamental role pioneering the entire chopped and screwed sound alongside DJ Screw himself – Big HAWK’s memory arguably only burns brighter 15+ years later. His unique talent on the mic combined with tragic tale make his story especially alluring to any newcomer looking to understand Houston hip hop’s full journey. Despite dying way before his contributions could fully reverberate, expect legends like Hawk to receive his flowers in perpetuity regardless.

Details on Big Hawk’s Personal Life & Relationships

Regrettably relatively little is publicly confirmed about Big Hawk’s romantic life, potential children or family besides his immediate siblings also involved in rap. He tended to keep most personal affairs intensely guarded or within his tight circle of local confidantes – typical of Screwed Up Click members even to this day.

Online reports suggest Hawk fathered three children during his shortened lifetime. But any specific relationships or names of offspring stay respectfully private for their own safety and benefit at family wishes naturally.

We do know Big Hawk shared an extremely close bond with older brother Fat Pat and younger cousin Big Moe based on numerous statements made over the years. As fate would have it, all three blood relatives would end up murdered roughly within the same tragic era – sending waves of pain through Houston’s entire community.

Origins of Big Hawk’s Stage Name & Aliases

As referenced earlier, Big H.A.W.K stylized his rap moniker with periods between each letter resembling bullets on a page. Obviously adopting a fierce predator like a hawk fit his ferocious demeanor. But also importantly, H.A.W.K represented his identity as strictly a Hustler And Working King – directly reflecting the grind-forward lessons underpinning so much of his music.

Fans also know Big Hawk by his alias, Hawkinthesouth. However make no mistake – unlike short-lived trends or subpar imitators – there will only be one official Big Hawk forever in Houston legend.

What Was Big Hawk’s Net Worth at Time of Death?

Given ongoing cult reverence around classics within DJ Screw’s catalogue and independent Texas rap scene – Big Hawk recordings certainly still generate respectable posthumous streaming revenue for family today. Unfortunately specific financial data remains elusive.

However at the absolute height before his 2006 murder, Big Hawk’s net worth likely fell under $300,000 total between music sales, show money, features, etc. REGARDless of dollars though, Hawk’s immense respect and cultural sway as an OG are priceless. His legacy continues uplifting generations of young MCs to keep pushing their talents like Hawk exemplified.

Is There Official Big Hawk Merchandise Available?

Yes indeed! The family in conjunction with Screwed Up Records & Tapes launched – the only licensed shop offering a range of Big Hawk themed apparel, accessories, stickers, posters and more.

They also just released a limited run of Big Hawk inspired jerseys guaranteed to be an instant grail for any true S.U.C. fan. Beyond paying respect to the fallen icon himself, proceeds from merchant sales ensure his 3 children can eat good even decades after Hawk’s death. So shop now and support HAWK’s seeds like he once looked out for younger legends like Big Moe coming up!

FAQs Related to Houston Icon Big Hawk

As an integral pillar within DJ Screw’s circle and Texas hip hop history overall – fans still have plenty questions regarding late, great Big Hawk when diving into his back catalogue and mythos surrounding his iconic tenure. Here’s 5 of the most common inquiries that regularly arise:

Q: What hood was Big Hawk from originally?

A: As referenced throughout, Big Hawk proudly repped Houston’s infamous South Park neighborhood, specifically the South Acres housing projects where crime and poverty ran rampant daily.

Q: Did Big Hawk come up rapping with Big Moe?

A: Yes indeed. Big Hawk and Big Moe (who was actually HAWK’s younger cousin) first earned recognition locally as a duo act before eventually pursuing solo careers in rap. Their family-like bond made life without Hawk even more painful for Moe, who also ended up killed on Houston streets just years after HAWK.

Q: Who was Big Hawk’s brother killed in Houston?

**A: **As mentioned during this piece, Big Hawk’s older brother Fat Pat, himself an original member of the Screwed Up Click, was murdered in 1998 – leaving HAWK devastated for years following the tragedy.

Q: What song does Big Hawk say “haulin through the nolia?”

A: That would be the classic Texas hip hop track “25 Lighters” featuring Hawk’s brother Fat Pat, Lil Keke, E.S.G. and more Houston legends all repping their home turf.

Q: How much older was Fat Pat than Big Hawk?

A: Based on birth dates, Fat Pat was roughly 2 years older than his brother Big Hawk. Their family description of Pat looking out for his younger sibling was accurate based on the age gap.

Final Word on the Lasting Greatness of Big Hawk

In closing, true hip hop heads understand ranking Big Hawk’s legacy near the very apex of Houston rap’s iconic rise. Along with his S.U.C. brothers, Hawk’s haymaker freestyles and road warrior hustle cemented the chopped and screwed sound forever. His everyman stories of surviving the trenches undoubtedly inspired MCs like Chamillionaire and Paul Wall who eventually took H-Town nationwide commercially.

Yet away from music itself, Big Hawk’s greatest achievement may have been uplifting peers as a mentor, plus instilling his fighter’s resilience into local communities. His legendary output quantifies Big H.A.W.K. as both a seminal Houston treasure and nationwide underground icon. While losing Hawk so violently cuts deep eternally, fans can find solace knowing his two-fisted growl and Sharpstown slang will loop forever through smoky late night sessions in the screw capital.