On this day in Hip Hop history the late Big Pun released his hit debut LP, Capital Punishment. Being the only album released during Pun’s life, Capital Punishment holds a special place in the heart of New York Hip Hop due to how prolific of a debut it was. The amount of potential for a successful career that Big Pun showed with this album makes losing him that much more painful.
Either the high profile features or the Grammy nomination can prove great of a debut this project actually was. Featuring the likes of: Busta Rhymes, Black Thought, Joe, Wyclef, dead prez, Prodigy, and Inspectah Deck as Rebel INS, this project came with straight heat lyrically. Pun was able to stand his own aside all of these great emcees as well as deliver a flow unlike anything else on the album. His ability to switch audiences through shifting subject matter was also an appreciated skill of Big Pun. On this project alone he was able to reach the streets, bump in the club, serenade women, and still have some lyrical substance.
This album was also a grand commercial success. Not only did it peak at #5 on the Billboard 200 chart and earn the nomination for Best Rap Album at the 1999 Grammy Awards, but it was the first Latino Rap Album to go platinum. Big Pun’s breakthrough single of the album, “Still Not A Player” grabbed the #24 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the most successful single of his career. It is still today hailed as a 90s classic.
Big Pun passed on February 7, 2000 from a heart attack and respiratory failure caused by his struggle with obesity. Posthumously, Big Pun released one studio album, Yeeeah Baby, which he recorded during his final days on earth. Today we remember the life and career of one of the best MCs to come out of New York whose shine was cut too short.