April 28, 2021

Big Pun "Capital Punishment" (April 28, 1998)

Early in his fledgling career, the joke on hefty Bronx, New York, rapper Big Punisher was his penchant for taking huge breaths between never-ending stanzas of rhymes. But with performances like this past winter's ribald mack anthem "I'm Not a Player," the 400-pound Latin king established himself as a heavyweight of an entirely different nature – a lyrical giant with a Chris Rock-like knack for rapid witticisms. Pun's rhyme deluge continues on his highly entertaining inaugural album, Capital Punishment. He expands his palette with guest turns from Wyclef Jean (on the reggae-tinged "Caribbean Connection"), Black Thought from the Roots (the tongue-twisting "Super Lyrical") and Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck (with Prodigy from Mobb Deep, on the sublime, RZA-produced "Tres Leches"). The playful "Still Not a Player," the vengeful heartbreak ballad "Punish Me" and the brassy, triumphant "You Came Up" display this extra-large MC's musical and compositional range. "I recollect when I was just a boy eating Chips Ahoy/I wasn't allowed to raise my voice/Now I'm makin' noise," Pun reflects on the album's closer, "Parental Discretion" (featuring Busta Rhymes). Slipping comfortably into the lovable-street-tough niche popularized by the late, great Biggie Smalls, Big Punisher has delivered a debut remarkably devoid of fat. - Chairman Mao (Rolling Stone, 5/6/98).

Pun's Capital Punishment is still a classic, definitely revisit it above...