Big Pun R.I.P. February 7th, 2000
Christopher Lee Rios AKA Big Moon Dawg or as we know him – Big Punisher was born in South Bronx on November 10th 1971. His parents were Puerto Rican and the early years of his life were challenging. Seeing his mother’s drug abuse issues and his father passing away put Pun through a lot by his teen years. Pun started rapping in the mid 1980’s and formed the group Full-A-Clips with fellow artists Lyrical Assassin, Joker Jamz and Toom. In 1995 he met Fat Joe, another Puerto Rican Bronx rapper, and the two hit it off. Big Pun made his commercial debut on Fat Joe’s second album “Jealous One’s Envy”, appearing on “Watch Out” which also featured Armageddon & Keith Nut.
Pun’s breakout appearance came on the Beatnut’s 1997 album “Stone Crazy”, featured on their third single “Off the Books” with Cuban Link. His one and only album “Capital Punishment” was released while he was alive, dropping on April 28th 1998 and blew up the charts peaking at #5 on the Billboard 200 charts and #1 on the top R&B Albums for two weeks. The album was later nominated for a Grammy in 1999 for the Best Rap Album but lost to Jay-Z’s Vol.1… Hard Knock Life. It was the first Latin hip hop record to ever go Platinum. It featured guest appearances from Fat Joe, Black Thought, Wyclef, Cuban Link, Prospect, Funkmaster Flex, Dead Prez, Noreaga, Prodigy, Inspectah Deck & Busta Rhymes. It featured production from JuJu, Rockwilder, Knobody, Younglord, L.E.S., The Infinite Arkatechz, Dr. Dre, Dead Prez, V.I.C., RZA, & Showbiz. The album had 3 singles “I’m Not a Player”, “Still Not a Player” and “You Came Up”.
Producer Knobody remixed the “Still Not a Player” featuring Fat Joe which became Pun’s first mainstream hit. Pun soon joined The Terror Squad, a NY based group formed by Fat Joe. After struggling with weight problems for much of his adult life he finally joined a weight-loss facility in North Carolina. He dropped 80 lbs but never finished the program quitting before completion. Back in NY Pun added that weight back on which eventually led to his demise. February 7th 2000 while living with his family at Crown Plaza Hotel in White Plains, NY (due to home renovations) Big Punisher suffered a fatal heart attack and respiratory failure.
He left behind his wife Liza and 3 children – Amanda, Vanessa and Christopher Jr. Just 2 months later his second album “Yeeeah Baby” dropped peaking at #3 on the Billboard charts. The following year his 3rd album “Endangered Species” was released on April 2001 and contained his greatest hits and previously unreleased songs and guest appearances. Christopher Lee Rios will forever be remembered for his ridiculous flow using heavy alliteration combined with multi-syllabic rhyming schemes and is considered by many to be labeled as one of the greatest rappers of all time.