Big Pun: Formidable and Unrivaled

I’ve disappointed you all. I’ve let the OTU team down and I apologise profusely…

There is no Big Pun on the site…

So to make it up to all of you, I’m going to bolster a huge feature article on him to feed all your starving appetites.

Read on kids and kidettes.

Tupac Amaru Shakur, Lamont Coleman, Christopher Rios, Nathaniel Wilson, William Griffin Jr, Christopher Wallace, Nasir Jones, Antonio Monterio Hardy.

Big Punisher stands tall and wide amongst the best of them.

Pun emerged from the Bronx in the early 90’s after surviving a hard childhood embroiled with drug abuse and violence. After bursting onto the hip-hop scene under the guiding wing of rap mogul Fat Joe, Pun was the first solo Latino rapper to go platinum with his debut effort Capital Punishment (1998). After several attempts from concerned family and friends, Pun couldn’t handle the lavish lifestyle which success had brought him, becoming morbidly obese and passing away due to heart failure two months before his sophomore Yeeeah Baby (2000) was due for release. His death was mourned throughout the hip-hop community.

To explain to you just how good Pun was perhaps it’s best to say that some believe he is the greatest MC ever. Period. Now take a second to look at the list of artists above. Quite the statement I’m sure you will agree.

Pun’s vocabulary is unrivalled and how he entangles the most complex lyrics is something which I’ve never witnessed on a record either before or since Pun. Big Pun took braggery and flamboyant hip-hop to a level it had never been before. Tupac may have brought conscious rhymes people could relate to, B.I.G. may have been an intelligent storyteller, but nobody could construct a rhyme scheme with such clever, witty and as you will see, the most ridiculous tongue twisters the industry had seen. His rasping vocals are recognisable in an instant and accompanied with his almost filthy, mid-flow breathing technique made Pun feared by not only his peers, but by his friends too.

As Pun was only with us for such a short time there is little in the way of unreleased material so I’ve had to do some real digging around. I’ve got two essentials from his debut LP for you, but I’ve also managed to get hold of a couple of superb unreleased joints and an exclusive J Dilla remix which has only just dropped this month (Don’t tell Ajay thought because I’m under the impression he might be reviewing the mixtape sometime soon…).

Big Pun (feat Fat Joe, Armageddon & Raekwon) – Fire Water

One of the first appearances Pun made on wax. Everything sounds very Rae/Fat Joe-esq until, at 3:25, Pun appears and tears the veterans off the mic whilst taking all the plaudits in the meantime.

Big Pun – Beware

The intro of Capital Punishment leads perfectly into this harrowing beat for Pun to open up. Eerie chorus sampling of Prodigy. The track as a whole is my favourite of Pun’s.

Big Pun (feat Fat Joe) – Twinz (Deep Cover ’98)

If you are going to do Snoop and Dre’s Deep Cover then you have to do it well. And that is by no means an easy task.

“Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know
that we riddled some middleman who didn’t do diddily.”

And with two lines, that feat was achieved. Pun and Joe go back and forth with incredible efficiency creating a perfect East Coast answer to the West Coast duo.

Big Pun (feat Cuban Link) – Toe to Toe

Recognise this beat? It’s from The Root’s Clones. An unreleased-underground-Pun-Cuban-medley-of-awesomeness.

Terror Squad – In For Life

Before TS lost its core members and went pop, Pun and Joe etc were ripping up the underground scene. Although this is a Pun article, Cuban Link’s albeit short verse from 2:47 onwards kills everyone in the booth (including Pun).

Big Pun – Dream Shatterer (Dilla Remix) (Zshare Link – Mediafire is acting weird again)

Pun’s rhymes are from the original Dream Shatterer on his LP, but as February marks Pun, Dilla and Big L remembrance month, Cookin’ Soul have put together an exclusive mixtape where Pun rhymes over J Dilla beats. Keep it together people. It’s amazing isn’t it.

R.I.P. Christopher Rios aka Big Punisher

Special thanks go to Sanjay for inspiration. I hope the article was up to scratch and did Pun the justice he deserves.

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