On July 7, 31-year-old Nick Pizana, aka Big Yikes, of South Bay hip-hop crew South Psycho Cide, passed away from cardiac arrest following a bout with pneumonia.
Pizana’s enjoyment of practical jokes had his bandmates and friends thinking the news was a put-on. “He was known for cracking jokes,” said the band’s Charles Quimiro. “And he died during all the Michael Jackson memorial stuff.… Not one of us thought it was serious when we first got the news. No one would believe it. They thought he’d jump out of the back room and laugh.”
South Psycho Cide was formed in 2000 by Sweetwater High School students Charles Quimiro (aka CooKoo) and Julius Macalanda (aka Sir Booz). In 2003, Macalanda’s younger brother Joe and Pizana joined the group.
The quartet has been nominated for five San Diego Music Awards: three times for Best Hip-Hop Group (2003, 2006, 2008) and twice for Best Hip-Hop Album (2002’s Back to da Street and 2005’s Welcome to Reality).
Pizana’s death leaves a number of South Psycho Cide projects in limbo, including their upcoming third album, Tha Repedemic. “We stopped playing in April so we could finish our new CD and were about to start playing live again when this happened. Everything will come together again, eventually, but for now, we’re just recovering from [Big Yikes’s] passing.”
Quimiro was working with Pizana on a solo Big Yikes project that was near completion. According to Quimiro, there was only one track left to finish on the untitled disc, but Pizana left a book with more than 400 songs in it for future projects. “Music was all he wanted to do, so he was constantly writing. He would joke around about it being important to consider your legacy because anything could happen at any time.”
While Quimiro plans to finish the recordings, he has been reluctant to reenter his home studio since the news of Pizana’s death reached him. “It was the last place I saw him,” he said.
A memorial show with proceeds going to Pizana’s mother is planned for later this summer.