April 28, 2022

Big Pun "Capital Punishment" (04.28.98)

Big Pun remains on the best rappers ever list to this day. Reasons for this weigh largely on his debut Capital Punishment (April 28, 1998). His commanding voice and rapid fire delivery make it clear there will never be another Big Pun. Pun was New York. His confidence on the mic made him stand out among his contemporaries. Similarly, the production -- by a cast of many (Juju (The Beatnuts), Rockwilder, Knobody, Mike Zulu, Domingo, Nitty, Young Lord, L.E.S., Minnesota, V.I.C., RZA, Showbiz and more) -- remains ever so New York loyal. The close cousins "I'm Not a Player" and "Still Not a Player," may have been the hits off this album but it is packed with so many more that show Pun's true abilities. "Beware" and "Dream Shatterer" are great examples of Big Pun at his best, dark cinematic production with just enough room to let him breathe fire. On "Twinz (Deep Cover)" Big Pun is trading bars with his mentor Fat Joe over a remake of Dr. Dre's classic beat. Here Pun delivers one of his most quoted verses that contain among others "Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know that we riddled some middlemen who didn't do diddly". There are numerous guest appearances, the best of which include aforementioned Fat Joe (on several tracks), the Root's Black Thought on the MC showcase "Super Lyrical," Prodigy and Inspectah Deck on "Tres Leches (Triboro Trilogy)," and an extra-insane Busta Rhymes on "Parental Discretion." Don't sleep on "Punish Me" with Miss Jones and "You Came Up" with his brother Noreaga as well. Illustration by Torre Pentel.

We lost a great MC when Pun passed. R.I.P.