There are few rappers in history as respected and revered as Big Pun. From his humble beginnings in the Bronx, to his meteoric rise to fame, to his tragic death at the young age of 28, Big Pun’s life was a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. In this post, we will take a look at the life and times of one of the most influential rappers of all time. We’ll explore his early years, his musical influences, and his groundbreaking career. So sit back and enjoy a trip down memory lane with one of hip-hop’s greatest legends: Big Pun!
The Early Years
Big Pun was born Christopher Lee Rios on November 10, 1971, in the Bronx borough of New York City. He was of Puerto Rican descent. Growing up, in the Bronx’s Soundview neighborhood, Pun was exposed to a variety of music genres, including hip-hop, salsa, and even opera. However, it was the tough realities of life in the Bronx that would ultimately shape his lyrical style.
Pun began writing rhymes at the age of 12, and by the time he was 16, he had already started to gain a reputation as a talented freestyle rapper. He began performing at local clubs and venues. However, it wasn’t until he met producer/rapper Fat Joe in 1995 that his career really began to take off.
Enter The Terror Squad
As soon as Fat Joe signed Pun, the two began working on Pun’s debut album, Capital Punishment. The album was released in April of 1998, and it immediately made waves in the hip-hop community. It peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the first album by a solo Latino rapper to do so. Capital Punishment featured such hits as “Twinz (Deep Cover ’98)” and “I’m Not a Player.” Big Pun released two solo albums, Capital Punishment and Yeeeah Baby. In total, Big Pun has sold over three million albums.
Big Pun collaborated with a number of other artists over the course of his career, including Fat Joe, Jennifer Lopez, Wyclef Jean, Noriega, Remy Ma, Black Thought and others. He also formed the rap group The Terror Squad with fellow rappers Fat Joe, Cuban Link, Prospect, Triple Seis, Tony Sunshine and Armageddon. The Terror Squad went on to release two albums, 1999’s The Album and 2004’s True Story.
Big Pun’s Legacy
Big Pun’s legacy is one of innovation and excellence. He was one of the first Latino rappers to achieve mainstream success, and his lyrical style was heavily influenced by the realities of life in the Bronx. He was also a pioneer in the use of double entendres and multi-syllabic rhymes, and his songs are still considered some of the most lyrically complex ever written. Beyond his musical legacy, Big Pun was also a respected figure in the hip-hop community. He was known for his generous nature and his dedication to helping up-and-coming artists.
Pun’s success was short-lived, however, as he passed away just a few years after the release of his album. On February 7, 2000, Big Pun died of a heart attack at the age of 28. His death was a devastating blow to the hip-hop community, and he is still mourned by fans to this day.
Big Pun was one of the most talented rappers of his generation, and his influence is still felt in the hip-hop world today. His debut album, Capital Punishment, is considered a classic, and his lyrical style has inspired countless other rappers. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Big Pun.