Photo Credit: Bun B (Instagram)
Russell Washington, Founder of Houston's BigTyme Recordz, Has Died
Russell Washington, who founded BigTyme Recordz and discovered Houston acts UGK and DJ Screw, died earlier this week.
Houston artists are grieving the loss of BigTyme Recordz founder Russell Washington,who died earlier this week. (Washington's cause of death has not been revealed.) An influential record executive in Houston's local hip-hop scene in the '90s, Washington discovered acts UGK and DJ Screw. Via BigTyme Records, Washington released UGK's earlier projects, including Southern Way and Banned EPs. The group, comprised of Bun B and the late Pimp C, would go on to sign with Jive Records. Washington was given an Instagram tribute by Bun B on Thursday.
“Thank you Russell Washington for believing in 2 kids from Port Arthur with a dream to put their small town on the map,” Bun B wrote on Instagram. “We did that and way more than we ever could’ve imagined.
“Without you there would be no UGK as we know it and for that I’m eternally grateful. You and Pimp chill out up there until I see y’all again. UGK and Bigtyme for life!”
Fellow Southern rap group Three 6 Mafia gave their condolences in Bun B's comments section. During his life, Washington would go on to sign Houston artists Point Blank, PSK-13 and Wreckless Klan to BigTyme Recordz. The record executive was acknowledged in 2022 DJ Screw biography, A Life in Slow Revolution, which released via the University of Texas Press.
Check out more tributes below.
\u201cRest In Peace Russell Washington, owner of BigTyme Recordz. The man who discovered UGK, released some of the only albums from DJ Screw and also signed acts like 20-2-Life and PSK-13. This is definitely a huge loss for the culture! \ud83d\ude4f\ud83c\udffb\u201d— Will (@Will) 1680183182
\u201cRIP to Russell Washington, the founder of BigTyme Recordz-the record label that brought you UGK (Pimp C & Bun B), DJ Screw, and PSK-13. He is a consequential figure in the history of hip hop in Houston, but rarely gets the attention warranted. He will be missed.\u201d— Maco L. Faniel (@Maco L. Faniel) 1680195025
\u201cRussell "Bigtyme" Washington. The man who brought you UGK, introduced DJ Screw to the world, PSK-13, and 20-2-Life. CEO and Founder of BigTyme Recordz. Has moved on to his next journey \nRIP \ud83d\udd4a\ufe0f\ud83d\udd4a\ufe0f\ud83d\udd4a\ufe0f\u201d— Lone Star Legend. \ud83c\uddf1\ud83c\uddf7 (@Lone Star Legend. \ud83c\uddf1\ud83c\uddf7) 1680139270
\u201crussell washington, the man behind @bigtymerecordz, is as close to an unsung hero as one can get in houston, or the music industry period. from discovering UGK and putting out their first projects before jive, then taking dj screw from the grey tapes to CDs and more.\u201d— Brandon Caldwell (@Brandon Caldwell) 1680183504
\u201cSad to hear about the passing of Russell Washington, the legendary founder of Bigtyme Recordz which started as a booth at a Houston flea market. \n\nHe discovered UGK, signed them to their first deal, and released their first few projects. He released Screw\u2019s first three albums too\u201d— max (@max) 1680144709
\u201cRest in Peace to the CEO of BigTyme Recordz: Russell Washington. An absolute legend in Houston who founded the record label in 1991. \n\nHe signed artists such as UGK and DJ Screw who went on to make a huge impact in the Houston hip-hop scene.\n\nHe will be truly missed \ud83e\udd18\ud83c\udffe\ud83d\udd4a\ufe0f\u201d— HTX Hip-Hop Museum (@HTX Hip-Hop Museum) 1680140523