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Big Pun

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Big Pun.

Big Punisher (Big Pun for short, born Christopher Lee Rios) (November 10, 1971 - February 7, 2000) was a Puerto Rican rapper who emerged from the underground rap scene in the Bronx in the late 1990s. He appeared on albums from Raekwon, the Beatnuts and Fat Joe and eventually signed to Loud Records. Struggling with weight problems his entire life, his career was cut short in 2000 after a fatal heart attack. He was survived by a wife, Liza Rios, and three children. He also has a younger brother and sister who still live in The Bronx today, as well as two older sisters who reside in Florida.

Born in the Bronx during the early years of hip-hop, Christopher Rios grew up in an athletic tradition, enjoying basketball, boxing, and other sports. At the age of five, he broke his leg in a Manhattan municipal park, which would later (after several minimum wage jobs in New York and Miami, where he briefly relocated) net him a settlement from the city, to the tune of $500,000. At the age of 15, Pun dropped out of Stevenson High School. Sometime during the '80s, Rios began to write rap lyrics, forming the Full A Clips Crew with Triple Seis, Cuban Link, and Prospect (rapper. After meeting fellow Puerto Rican and Bronx rapper Fat Joe, in 1995, Pun became increasingly associated with him, making his commercial debut on Joe's second album, Jealous Ones Envy (J.O.E.).

After an advertising blitz, "I'm Not a Player" (featuring the O'Jays) was an underground hit, remixed into "Still Not a Player" (featuring Joe (music). His full-length debut followed in 1998, Capital Punishment, and was the first album by a Latin rapper (and a Latin solo artist) to go platinum. Around this time, Big Pun became a member of the Terror Squad, a New-York-based group of Latino rappers founded by Fat Joe, but with most of the roster supplied by the now-defunct Full A Clips Crew.

Big Pun was also a member of the Digging in the Crates Crew, alongside Fat Joe and various New York hip-hop legends such as Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Big L, and O.C..

Sadly, between issues with Pun's broken leg and various other commitments, his health was taking a serious turn for the worst during these years. The once-athletic man struggled with weight issues for several years, his weight bounding between 450 and 700 pounds. Becoming a superstar, he had little time to eat healthily, and was often encouraged to eat at various promotional and courtesy functions. Though he checked into a North Carolina weight loss clinic and lost 80 pounds, the final effort was not enough to save the rapper from years of overeating. At the age of 28, on February 7, 2000, Big Pun died of a heart attack at 700 lbs. He only lived to see one of his albums released on a major label.

A posthumous album (already scheduled to be released at the time of his death), Yeeeah Baby came out a few weeks after his death in 2000. A second posthumous album, "Endangered Species," was released in 2001, a collection of "greatest hits," new material, guest appearances, and remixed "greatest verses." He is most often praised for his complex rhyme schemes, intricate wordplay, unceasing rhythm, and relentless flow and breath control, despite his immense size. He has been discribed as one of the greatest rap artists and lyricist and is always mentioned in the same breath as Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. It has been said that what Biggie brought to black rap, Pun brought to Latin Rap. They were definately two of the greatest of all time.

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