Big Punisher, aka Big Pun, was an American rapper whose style mimicked Kool G Rap, west coast style. He entered the limelight after Fat Joe and Terror Squad spotted his unique rapping style, thus included him in his 1995 album, Jealous One’s Envy. According to HipHop Golden Age, Big Pun signed with Loud Records two years later, releasing his debut album, Capital Punishment. The album received a Grammy nomination and peaked at five on the Billboard 200. Over the years, the rapper released various songs before his demise in 2000, but we found these ten inspiring.
10. “Punish Me” (Capital Punishment- 1998)
“Punish Me” is the second track on the album that made Big Pun famous, Capital Punishment. The album topped the Top R&B Albums chart, holding that position for two consecutive weeks. While it performed well commercially, it didn’t win a Grammy Award. Jay-Z’s Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life won, instead. The rapper sheds light on a relationship that went sour after being involved with a wayward woman. It also featured in Moesha (Brandy’s sitcom) in Season Four.
9. “It’s So Hard” feat. Donell Jones (Yeeeah Baby-2000)
“It’s So Hard” is a song that peaked at 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 19 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Its video features special appearances from P. Diddy, Nas, Donell Jones, DJ Khaled, LL Cool J, Xzibit, and many others. The song was produced by Younglord and Jay “Waxx” Garfield. It was released two months after Garfield’s demise.
8. “You Came Up” (N.O.R.E- 1998)
“You Came Up” is one of Big Pun’s greatest hits that peaked at 49 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and 43 on the Hot Rap Tracks. Its video is James Bond-themed, showing silhouettes of ladies posing beside Big Pun. The video showcases New York Skyline, proving that the rapper is in the city. He meets someone known as Secret Agent 747, discussing how to retrieve a strange “disk.” The video ends with Fat Joe making a special appearance.
7. “Still Not a Player” feat. Fat Joe (Capital Punishment- 1998)
According to WavyPack, “Still Not a Player” was Big Pun’s most significant break. You can tell that its piano-laden beat is so typical of New York’s way of producing and releasing songs. The song got nominated for Soul Train Music Award for Best Video of the Year and the ALMA Award for Outstanding Music Video. That makes it one of Big Pun’s most successful records and most fantastic hit albums.
6. “The Dream Shatterer” (Capital Punishment- 1998)
What would you do if you woke up one day to discover that everything you had planned had been shattered? You would be devastated, of course. In “The Dream Shatterer,” Big Pun says, “When you awaken, your manhood will be taken/Fakin’ life your Satan when I’, in the rhymin’ abomination.” It doesn’t take a genius to notice Pun’s ability to sculpt the listener’s perspective with his words.
5. “Beware” (Capital Punishment- 1998)
Big Pun is known for having a lung capacity to rap lengthy verses, unlike other rappers. His song, “Beware,” came at a time when he was struggling with weight. At one point, he enrolled at a weight loss center, eventually losing a few pounds. Unfortunately, he dropped out of the program and had a weight relapse.
4. “I’m Not a Player” (Capital Punishment- 1998)
“I’m Not a Player” is one of Pun’s hits that reached the top 100 charts, helping the album become number on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for two consecutive weeks. It peaked at 57 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video shows Pun purchasing a red Mercedes Benz and entering a restaurant. In some parts, you can see him dancing with some ladies. He later meets Fat Joe, Noreaga, Raekwon, and Prodigy in the cameo video.
3. “100%” feat. Tony Sunshine (Yeeeah Baby-2000)
“100%” was released by Terror Squad and produced by Sean Cane for the Hitmen. It’s also the second single from the rapper’s last studio album. It peaked at 79 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart the same week it was released. After a few weeks, it jumped to 64. Big Pun struggled with weight problems throughout his adulthood. It’s believed that he died of a heart attack and respiratory failure while in hospital. He was only 28 by then.
2. “Super Lyrical” feat. Black Thought (Capital Punishment -1998)
“Super Lyrical” is one of Big Pun’s collaborations with Black Thought. The featured rapper once said in an interview that they struck a deal over the phone. That was after Pun revealed to Thought about an album he was working on, Capital Punishment. During the song’s recording, Pun was out on the road in an unknown place, but it came out perfectly. Black Thought always regarded Pun as one of the best rappers and was happy they did this song together.
1. “You Ain’t a Killer” (Soul in the Hole- 1997)
Big Pun’s prominence can be attributed to his Bronx roots. It was unfortunate to see him die at the peak of his career. “You Ain’t a Killer” comes first on this list, thanks to the production. It features piano and west coast inspired synth lead, creating a welcoming fusion. The rapper released this song while he was still a student. With time, he developed his craft, making him stand out on every record. That meant even if it required him to step back from people’s expectations of an average New York rapper.