21 years ago today (Feb. 7), Hip-Hop lost an icon in the making when Big Pun (Christopher Rios) passed away from a heart attack while at a hotel in White Plains, New York.
The Bronx legend was only in the rap game for just 5 years. But for the final three of those his name was already being thrown into the “Top 5 Dead or Alive” discussion as his debut album, Capital Punishment was crowned a classic by Hip-Hop enthusiasts across the board.
Having come up in a post-Biggie/Tupac era that saw the likes of DMX, Jay-Z, and Nas ascend to superstar status, the mountain of a man stood in a class by himself as his rapid-fire flow and lyrical content helped him become the first Puerto Rican rapper to go platinum in Hip-Hop’s golden era.
Aside from churning out bars like Mars Incorporated, Big Pun was one of the very few rappers in the game who was able to make thugged out records for the streets and on the flip side have radio-friendly cuts for the clubs. At that point only Biggie, Jay-Z and Tupac were able to balance the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, Big Pun’s weight problem caught up to him and on February 7, 2000, he passed away at the young age of 28-years-old.
To honor the memory and legacy of Big Pun, HipHopWired has decided to list some of Big Pun’s sickest verses to remind the masses of just how talented the Boricua artist was and give youngins an idea of what a true MC would do on the mic.
So check out our list below and let us know which verses you agree with or you think should’ve made the cut.
Fat Joe ft. Raekwon, Armageddon & Big Pun – “Fire Water”
“I’m all about business and enterprisin’ advisin’ financial advisers on franchisin’ and widen they horizons/divisin’ ideas with master minders, movin’ on a stash of diamonds/first we get the cash, then we laugh like miners.”
Big Pun – “You Ain’t A Killer”
“It’s the Bronx of course, recognize the accent/one of the last livin’ still in action general assassins/catchin’ any wreck/blastin’ any tech/smashin’ any chest/passin’ any test/Charles Manson in the flesh/any last requests before you meet ya maker?”
Fat Joe ft. The Terror Squad – “The Hidden Hand”
“My heart if cold as ice, so I know i’m shiest/Big Pun was the kid that no one liked/my whole life was one big roll of the dice/payin’ the price, twice as expensive as white kids/steppin’ from Rikers, not knowin’ my existence is priceless/it’s like this, my soul was lifeless/I earned stripes fightin’ the nicest in the crisis/I’ll slice em in half and make em dash.”
Big Pun ft. The Terror Squad – “Brave In The Heart”
“We brave in the heart, playin’ our part amazingly smart/razor sharp, futuristic rap, state of the art/takin’ New York cats past the stars/first it was Nasty Nas now watch me turn the apple into Macintosh.”
Big Pun – “Beware”
“Flawless victory/y’all ni**as can’t do sh*t to me, physically, lyrically, hypothetically, realistically.”
The Beatnuts ft. Big Pun & Cuban Link – “Off The Books”
“I’m mad strong and my C.R.E.A.M. is fast/smoke the greenest grass/my b*tch got the meanest ass/and it tastes legit/I don’t have to waste a whole case of Cris/all it takes is my pretty face and my gangsta wit.”
Big Pun ft. Fat Joes – “Twinz (Deep Cover ’98)”
Pun’s first verse, capped with, “Dead in the middle of Little Italy, little did we know, that we riddled two middlemen who didn’t do diddily…”