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Big Pun Forever.
Big Punisher was born Christopher Lee Rios in the Bronx. Pun
spent his earlier years living with his mother and stepfather,
who attempted to raise Chris in a rather military fashion. Pun
actually grew up fairly athletic, staying in shape while
playing basketball. He was also an avid boxer, and would later
begin to teach his own children how to box.
While in eighth grade, Pun met Liza, the woman he would
eventually marry in 1990 and have three children with. After
living in the home of his girlfriend and her mother for a
short time, Pun had to relocate to Miami for a while to live
with his grandmother. In Miami he eventually had trouble
securing a place to stay, and preoccupied himself with odd
jobs. This continued when he moved back to the Bronx,
eventually working as a cargo loader.
Fed up with his job, he
contacted a lawyer who had been handling a case for him for
since he was a child. As age five, Chris broke his leg at a
municipal park (a building playground in Manhattan) and his
mother had been trying to collect money from the city. For
years there was no word on the case until a nineteen year old
Pun contacted the lawyer, who informed him that it was finally
settled for an estimated half million dollars.
The money would provide a
better life for Pun and his family, but it would also be one
of the factors that lead to his eventual passing.
In 1989 when Pun was known as Big Moon Dog, he hooked up with
Triple Seis and Cuban Link (known then as Lyrical Assassin)
and they formed the Full A Clips Crew (also with Prospect).
Cuban Link and Pun would not only rap together, but they later
became best friends as well. In 1995 the Full A Clips Crew
bumped into Bronx rapper Fat Joe, and Pun was able to deliver
a sizzling verse that would seal his future as an MC.
The day after their
meeting, Joe invited Pun to the studio to drop a verse on the
track "Watch Out", on Joe's sophomore release Jealous One's
Envy. Joe, realizing the talent that he was witnessing, helped
show Pun around Loud Records where he was later signed. There
he could have more freedom in creating hardcore hip-hop that
would cater to many of rap's underground fans.
The Puerto-Rican MC who had dropped out of Stevenson High
School at 15 made history when his debut album, Capital
Punishment, went platinum after several months. Fueled by the
massive success of the single "Still Not a Player", Capital
Punishment made Big Pun the first Latin solo rapper to achieve
platinum status. More importantly, his incredible delivery and
intricate wordplay helped secure him a spot as one of
hip-hop's greatest new additions.
Sadly, it was Pun's fame that eventually led to his downfall.
Much to the disappointment of his wife, many of the tour
promoters pampered Pun excessively and didn't encourage a
healthy lifestyle. Coupled with the constant pampering, Pun
also had a slow metabolism and often turned to food to either
celebrate or to cope with his problems.
Eventually, Pun was
convinced to check into a weight clinic in North Carolina
where doctors could monitor him and help facilitate his
weight-loss. Pun lost 80 pounds on the program and met
encouragement, yet homesickness and a need to stay more
involved with his family and business affairs brought Pun back
to the Bronx before finishing his program.
No longer under the
watchful eyes of the clinic doctors, Pun quickly gained the
weight he lost, nearly doubling what he had put off. While
staying in a hotel with his family while his home was being
renovated, Big Pun died of a heart attack and respiratory
failure on the afternoon of Feb 7th, 2000. His last heartfelt
words were to his wife Liza, who has continued to stay
committed to the memory of her husband and the father of her