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This Day in Hip Hop History

Christopher Lee Rios (November 10, 1971 – February 7, 2000), better known by his stage name Big Pun (short for Big Punisher).


Hey fam!

Young Bladez here with another blog post. This Friday is what the kids are calling a “Flashback Friday,” so let’s go back in time to 1998 and to the release of one of the most underrated rap albums of all-time.

Growing up I was heavily influenced by hip-hop culture. My brother is 8 years older than me so whatever he was into, I followed suit. During the mid-90’s, rap artists and groups from the state of New York were running the hardcore hip-hop scene. Artists like Nas, Biggie, and groups such as The Wu-Tang Clan and The Lost Boyz were some of the most well-known. A lesser known rapper by the name of Christopher Rios was getting his feet wet in the scene, hailing from The South Bronx and going by the rap name Big Moon Dawg. He was a member of the rap group Full-A-Clips Crew, comprised of Rios, Triple Seis, and Cuban Link. In 1995 Rios was introduced to fellow Puerto Rican and Bronx rapper Fat Joe. He made his commercial debut on Fat Joe’s 2nd album “Jealous One’s Envy.” Around the same time Rios started going by the name Big Pun, he released the underground single “I’m Not A Player.” In 1997, producer Knobody’s production partner Sean C took advantage of his new role as A&R at Loud Records to play Knobody’s tracks to Big Pun. Impressed by Knobody’s work, Pun decided to hire Knobody to remix “I’m Not A Player.” The remixed song featuring R&B artist Joe,  re-titled “Still Not A Player,” and was Pun’s biggest mainstream hit. Big Pun’s Full length debut (titled Capital Punishment) was released in 1998. It became the first album by a Latino rapper to go platinum, peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200, and was also nominated for a Grammy.

I discovered Capital Punishment in my senior year of high school (2006) while searching through some of my brothers old CD’s. I was floored by Pun’s lyrical ability and word play, and that year I listened to that CD until it was unplayable. To pick one song from that album as my favourite is damn near impossible – it’s an amazing album from front to back. If I HAD to pick one song from the album as my favourite, it would be the song Glamour Life. It features original members of Full-A-Clips Crew such as Cuban Link, Triple Seis (and Big Pun… Obvi!!). It also features Fat Joe and Armaggedon – later on Fat Joe and Armaggedon would form a new group with all the members of Full-A-Clips called Terror Squad. The song Glamour Life captures the rags to riches struggle perfectly, with lyrics from Pun like “I used to live in the gutter, me and my mother. Now she’s 50 years old pushing a Hummer.”

So without further ado, I present to you Glamour Life by Big Pun, featuring Cuban Link, Triple Seis, Fat Joe, and Armaggedon. I encourage you to listen intently to the lyrics and share with me your favourite parts of the song. Just to give you an idea of who is rapping I’ll lay out the structure of the song.

 Verse 1: Cuban Link

Verse 2: Triple Seis

Verse 3: Fat Joe

Verse 4: Armaggedon

Verse 5/chorus: Big Pun

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