Puerto Rican hip hop legend the late Big Punisher aka Big Pun, born Christopher Lee Rios was honored in his home turf of the Boogie Down Bronx. The larger-than-life artist who paved the way for many Latino hip hop artists was recognized by city officials in front of his family and beloved fans as the famous intersection in the Bronx, Fordham Road and Grand Concourse was renamed, “Big Pun Plaza.”
Big Pun was discovered by another Puerto Rican Bronx legend, rapper Fat Joe. He made an appearance on Fat Joe’s album, Jealous Ones Envy in 1995. His incredible flow scheme, tongue twisters and legendary lyrics continue to inspire a generation of hip hop followers and artists alike. He was the first Latino solo rap artist to go platinum in 1998 with his debut album Capital Punishment. In 1999, that album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Sadly in 2000, at just 28 years-old, Big Pun passed away due to a cardiac arrest.
Big Pun’s second album, Yeeeah Baby, completed after his death, was released in April 2000. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard charts and earned gold record status within three months of its release. A posthumous compilation album, Endangered Species, was released in April 2001. Endangered Species collected some of Pun’s greatest hits, previously unreleased material, numerous guest appearances, and remixed “greatest verses.” As with his other albums, it also peaked in the top ten of the Billboard 200, reaching No. 7, according to wikipedia.
“It had to happen in the most famous, the most important intersection in the entire Bronx because this is where the family and Big Pun used to walk around here in the Bronx.” – said, City Councilman Fernando Cabrera who sponsored the legislation for the name change.
A well deserved and long overdue recognition for one of the greatest MC’s to have ever lived and impact the hip hop culture. Big Pun’s legacy will reign forever and celebrated at Big Pun’s Plaza one of the most iconic intersections in New York.
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