MOORE, KENNETH [BIG MOE]

Carolyn M. Davis

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MOORE, KENNETH [BIG MOE] (1974–2007). Kenneth “Big Moe” Moore, musician, rapper, and an original member of DJ Screw’s Screwed Up Click (S.U.C.), was born in Houston, Texas, on August 20, 1974. He grew up in southeast Houston and graduated from Jack Yates High School.

City of Syrup
Big Moe's debut album cover, City of Syrup, 2000. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Moore, whose stage name was Big Moe, gained distinction from other Houston rappers for his softer and slower style and his “rapsinging,” the term he applied to his mixture of rapping and singing. As a founding member in S.U.C., he began his music career by freestyling on DJ Screw’s mixtapes. He was subsequently signed to Wreckshop Records, and in 2000 the label released Big Moe’s debut album, City of Syrup. The title paid homage to the codeine-laced cough syrup that was prevalent in Houston’s hip-hop community. The album cover show’s Big Moe pouring syrup from a styrofoam cup. City of Syrup featured the single, “Maan!” which was Big Moe’s answer to an East Coast hit titled “Whoa!” by Black Rob.

Big Moe
Kenneth "Big Moe" Moore. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

In 2002 Moore released his second album Purple World. The release showcased a number of prominent Houston vocalists and two versions of Moore’s breakthrough single, “Purple Stuff.” The song’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory-like video garnered some airplay on MTV, and the album ranked as high as Number 3 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Moore’s third album, Moe Life, issued in 2003, included the commercially-successful single “Just a Dog.”

Moore's Grave
Kenneth "Big Moe" Moore's Grave. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

After suffering a heart attack and slipping into a coma, Kenneth “Big Moe” Moore died on October 14, 2007. Wreckshop Records and the Koch label released his album Unfinished Business posthumously in 2008. In 2009 City of Syrup earned Number 25 on Houstonpress.com’s list of the 25 Best Houston Hip-Hop Albums. Lil’O, another original S.U.C. member, commented, “While Moe did sing about syrup, he also sang about a wide array of things. Outside of hip-hop, he was a happy man….He was very approachable. The fans knew they could always come up and ask for a picture, and he signed every autograph.” Musicologists regarded Big Moe’s style of rap as a type of hip-hop/R&B hybrid that covered a middle ground between hardcore and pop styles.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

All Music Guide (www.allmusic.com), accessed October 21, 2010. D J Screw Photographs and Memorabilia, Digital Library, University of Houston Libraries (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/djscrew), accessed September 8, 2015. Houston Chronicle, October 16, 2007. Shea Serrano, “The H-Town Countdown, No. 25: Big Moe’s City of Syrup, Houston Press (http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/2009/08/the_h-town_countdown_no_25_big.php?pri...), accessed October 21, 2010.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Carolyn M. Davis, "MOORE, KENNETH [BIG MOE]," accessed September 22, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmode.

Uploaded on May 6, 2013. Modified on May 31, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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