Monday, March 31, 2008

#2 Big Pun

Let’s set the record straight, Latinos have been apart of hip-hop since day one! From DJ Disco Wiz, to the Cold Crush Brothers’ DJ Charlie Chase, to the Rocksteady Crew’s Crazy Legs, Latinos are hip-hop! More often than not the Latino contribution to the culture gets overlooked because for years spanish cats lacked that one superstar MC. But when Big Pun emerged in the mid-nineties all of that changed.

After a a debut verse off of Fat Joe’s Jealous One’s Envy album, Pun stole the show on the Beatnuts’ 1997 single “Off the Books.” But when the Puerto Rican rapper emerged in 1997 with his groundbreaking, “Still Not a Player,” it was over! Once he released his multi-platinum debut Capital Punishment in 1998, Pun had already cemented himself as a hip-hop great. Latinos finally had the champion they were looking for. Equally regarded on the streets and the pop charts, Pun became more than just “a spanish kid who could rhyme,” he became the greatest off all time. But after his untimley death in 2000, there was a gapping void left in hip-hop.

Ask any Latino to rattle off their top 5, dead or alive rap list and Pun will come up damn near 100% of the time. Maybe he never got the Grammy, or the Source Award that he was famously jerked out of, but it didn’t matter. Still not a believer? Throw “100%” on at any party and witness Puerto Rican pride at it’s finest or try to recite “Dead in the middle of little Italy…” amongst a gang of battle MCS.

Now even 10 years after his death, hip-hop is desperately searching for the next Pun. No there will never be another, but there has been a resurgence in Latin MCs. Joell Ortiz is a beast, Termanology shows tons of promise and Omar Cruz is reppin’ the West Coast to the fullest. Still it is something about Pun that makes him our G.O.A.T. Oh so he isn’t on your top 5 yet? Keep playing, I’ll cut you puto!