Remembering Big Pun: The Classic Collabos!

When Big Pun died, it was a dark day in Hip-Hop. Frankly, it was probably darker than most fans realized. Pun was a member of an innovative and elite group of MC’s that reclaimed the art of lyricism. Influenced by Kool G Rap, he lead a renaissance with acts like Canibus, DMX, the Goodie Mob and connected with the acts of the early-to-mid 90’s. When he died, we lost a general in that movement.

Pun is consistently remembered for his rhymes, wit and swagger even nine years since his sudden death. Here is a collection of my favorite collaborations to recall one of the most exciting artists in Hip-Hop history. The list pairs Pun with a vast supporting cast that includes Black Thoughts, Fat Joe, Cuban Link and The Notorious B.I.G. The inventory isn’t meant to be perfect, because I’d like to swap favorites with other Pun fans. If you miss Big Pun, offer your favorite songs and collaborations from the big man.

Christopher Rios (November 9, 1971 – February 7, 2000)

“Twinz (Deep Cover ’98)” – Big Pun Feat. Fat Joe

Every time I listen to this song, it’s like listening to it for the first time. It gave us one of the best one-liners ever. Pun says, “Dead in the middle of Little Italy, little did we know that we riddled two middle men who didn’t do diddly.” Whoa. This remix stretched Dre and Snoop’s shoes. Period.

“Blow For Blow” – Big Pun and Cuban Link

Without question, this is my favorite Big Pun mixtape song. An amazing display of lyricism by both men – “Hit you with so many rights, you’re gonna beg for a left.” I quit.

“New York Giants” – Big Pun and M.O.P.

Unfortunately, a lot of people (fans and sideliners alike) wrote off Yeeeah Baby, Pun’s second CD. Not me. I loved that album, but realize it was impossible to top the classic Capital Punishment. “I bring death to your door like an escort from hell.”

“We Run New York” – Big L, Big Pun and Biggie Smalls

This song is special, because it aligns three rappers that have died on one boom bap track.

“Super Lyrical” – Big Pun and Black Thought

At the time, Black Thought had yet to be properly recognized as somebody that could spit side by side with a harder edged rapper like Pun. The two met in the middle stylistically and the results are a wonder to the ear.

“John Blaze” – Big Pun, Fat Joe, Nas, Jadakiss and Raekwon

This is the remix of this song. On the original, Nas rhymed different lyrics. Rumor has it, Big Pun is the reason for that change.

“You Came Up” – Big Pun and Nore

This was a happy, Latin-flavored song. Not forced and effectively articulated Big Pun’s travels from the bottom to the top. “Latins going platinum was destined to come.” Yes indeed.

Finally – a classic interview with Big Pun, Canibus, DMX, Mos Def, Mic Geronimo, and John Forte.

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