The late Big Pun was a legendary rapper in the late 1990s and was one of the first Latino rappers to break into the mainstream successfully. Along with fellow Puerto Rican rapper Fat Joe, Big Pun became one of the most popular New York rappers before passing in 2000.
Born Christopher Rios, Big Pun came from the inner city projects of the Castle Hill neighbourhood and was inspired by acts such as Rakim and Big Daddy Kane growing up. Wanting to enter the world of hip hop, Big Pun tracked down Fat Joe, who was one of the most prominent Puerto Rican rappers of the early ’90s.
With their shared Puerto Rican heritage, alongside a group of friends, having successfully found Fat Joe, Rios decided to wait for the rapper outside a Bronx bodega. When Fat Joe exited the Bodega, Pun asked him if he could rap for him, which he did, and, as the head of a crew, Joe made Pun the face of the Terror Squad.
As the face of the Terror Squad, Big Pun signed with Loud Records in 1997 and released his debut album, Capital Punishment, the following year. Capital Punishment debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 and was certified as platinum by the RIAA. Furthermore, it was even nominated for a Grammy but ended up losing to Jay-Z’s Vol 2…Hardknock Life.
Having grown up in New York as a Puerto Rican-American, Big Pun had a vast range of tastes but most definitely loved hip hop, and in a 1997 interview with Leslie Segar on Rap City, Big Pun named KRS-One as well as Ed Lover as some of the artists he was feeling.
However, he let it be known he was a big fan of Rakim, but interestingly he had an undying love for a song that he was featured on. ‘Yo! That’s A Lot Of Body’ by Ready For The World, which samples Eric B and Rakim. You can watch the 1997 Rap City interview in the video below and also hear the Ready For The World track Pun loved featuring Rakim.