Friday (February 7) marks 20 years since the world lost Christopher Rios, known to hip-hop as Big Punisher, or as he was most commonly referred to as, Big Pun.
It’s no secret hip-hop’s roots are deeply embedded in the Caribbean culture. Kool Herc, the father of hip-hop was born in Jamaica; and Puerto Ricans have been deeply embedded in the culture since the genre’s inception at that “Back to School Jam” in 1973 in the Bronx.
Big Pun rose to prominence during hip-hop’s golden age after he was discovered by frequent collaborator Fat Joe. Today, he’s championed for being a part of a class of Puerto Rican rappers who blazed a path to create a space for Boricuas in hip-hop.
But, Pun wasn’t without controversy. The man behind the moniker dealt with abuse his entire life, carrying that trauma into his relationship with his wife Liza Rios before his untimely death. Today, his legacy lives on musically through his son Chris Junior and his protege Remy Ma.
Latinx power was on full display during Sunday’s Super Bowl LIV halftime show. If Pun were with us today, he would have undoubtedly loved seeing Jennifer Lopez and Shakira represent for Latinidad. Who knows, maybe he would have been watching the game from one of the many suites in Hard Rock Stadium or maybe he would have been on stage with her?
He did get to collaborate with J.Lo, on 2000’s “Feelin’ So Good.” Relive that music video, plus other popular cuts from Pun’s catalogue below.