Blame Canibus

It’s awfully morbid business remembering the exact date when someone died. What do you even call such a thing? Death day? Death date? Death anniversary? Whatever the proper term, it’s something that music fans commemorate. (The tradition isn’t confined to hip-hop: Remember the hullabaloo last December “celebrating” the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder?) And because of that, you will probably hear a Big Pun record sometime today. It shouldn’t be this way.

This is probably the first and last time I will ever write the following words but maybe Republicans have the right idea. Yesterday was the 100-year anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birthday. Coverage of the event saturated the morning and cable news shows as Conservatives raced to hyperbolically praise the late 40th President. Doesn’t that make more sense? Sure, Canibus’ tribute to Biggie on “2nd Round KO” was clever—“The greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th”—but I don’t like remembering March 9, 1997. I don’t like remembering September 13, 1996. I especially don’t like remembering February 7, 2000.

Big Pun’s death impacted me more than the murders of Christopher Wallace and Tupac Shakur. And it wasn’t just because I preferred his music (which I still do). It occurred during that tumultuous, enlightening and awesome moment between adolescence and adulthood called college. On February 7, 2000, I was a junior at New York University. I had just quit my boring gig at a retail clothing store to work as a page at a big time TV show. It was also around the time that I switched majors from education to print journalism. That day, I went home after class and turned on BET Rap City. Some music video was playing but I immediately noticed writing at the bottom of the screen. Now this was before every network installed a crawl; something important must have happened. I read the news. Pun was gone. Damnit.

Tony Soprano once said that “Remember when” is the lowest form of conversation. In a way, he’s right. That said, here goes:

I remember when I first heard “Off the Books.” I remember when I first heard “Firewater.” I remember when I huddled around a stereo in a smoky and crowded dorm room to hear Capital Punishment. I remember when I changed shifts with a friend from work so he could see Pun at the 1998 Puerto Rican Day Parade. I remember when I rode a train to Montreal in December 1999 and repeatedly listened to “What’cha Gonna Do” throughout the nine hour trip. I remember when I found out Pun had passed. And I remember when I learned about Pun’s dark side from the documentary Still Not a Player. (It’s unfortunate but it’s a part of his narrative.)

What do you all think? Should we celebrate the date someone died? Why not their birthday? And regardless, what do you remember when you think of Big Pun? Please share in the comments. Please hit me up on Twitter @golianopoulos

Thomas Golianopoulos

  • http://www.twitter.com/Pierzy Pierzy

    Why can’t we celebrate both? I know in my own personal life, I celebrate both the birth date and the passing date of those that were close to me.

    Also, no one remembers when Pun (or Pac or B.I.G.) was born, but they remember when/where they were when they died so that’s probably why it resonates more with fans.

  • GetRealNYCRunsThis

    Im not celebrating shit for ANY rapper

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XspYmOKSghk these posts are racist

    Click my name for a Pun Tribute.

    XXL, raise funds for Pun’s kids.

    • TPAR is Wack

      Don’t click. Read my name instead.

      Pun Rest In Peace.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XspYmOKSghk these posts are racist

        Word son? Did you click my name and hear the song? 500 ppl and counting disagree with you. Hater.

        • TPAR is Wack

          “And because of that, you will probably hear a [crappy] Big Pun [tribute] sometime today.”

          Yes, I clicked. You are wack.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XspYmOKSghk these posts are racist

            I don’t believe you. Write one line from my tribute.

  • caino

    We remember cos its part of our youth!! It helps us recall times past when we were young, smokin weed, drinking beer being reckless.

  • Q461

    @ Pierzy

    Yeah man you are right. I remember where I was when both Pac and Big died. Roaming the high school hallways straight blunted back in the days. But yeah, once someone dies we celebrate the death anniversary not the birthday in my family.But while they ae here birthdays are def a big deal especially for the kids.

  • flavorblade

    The death of celebrities are remembered more than the birthdays because the death date represents the impact of their lives on us. No-one but the families knew who they were when they was born, so family tends to celebrate birthdays. The rest of us remember the date that meant something to us emotionally. As you wrote you remember that day.

  • []D (()) (()) []D

    u = fag.

  • ___alukardblack

    I’m sorry didn’t read the stupid meaningless

  • Jase’

    FIrewater ……Listened to Capital Punishment first day out back to back non stop no skipping staring into the speakers…..Dead in the middle of little italy…. You know the rest…Ha you don’t got no ends in me casa hey composa you ain’t even in my classe….Pun was the shit rest in peace……..And I never comment Ever BUt for Pun I got opinons All Day

  • alkrdblk

    xxl is illuminati just like we all know. i have been doing deep research and again and again the same thing. i will show examples in a few. just a few more words. the illuminati or whatever you call it has been controlling you since burth. ninja turtles gerber baby and still now with x
    box bp rocawear…

    first i have to say these are factz from
    plain and simple reality which we all live in…

    lets start with the ILLUMINATI in the top corner so i go to that page. ok heard it all before but if you haven’t your better off. but those who chose to be aware no where 2 look. they do mention a couple things tho like the number 3 and the ALL SEEING EYE. flip back to the cover. what do i see? the number 3. JOE BUDDEN throwing up 2 and YELAWOLF throwing up 1. which equals 3. omg its comin true. now look at CROOKED I middle of his shirt ALL SEEING EYE.

    TREY SONGZ name ain’t on the cover but it might as well be. ROCAWEAR whore. JAY Z is ROCAWEAR ROCAFELLA no matter U say we all know its not DAME DASH’S ROCAFELLA or WHITE GUY IN SUIT (OR JEANS; POSSIBLE JEW FRO)’S. DON’T FORGET THE WHITE ELEMENT IN HIPHOP. but we all havent its in the back of our heads. the editior in chief VANESSA SATTEN says it herself. SHE IS PART WHITE. SO IS DRAKE SO is T.I. SO IS OBAMA.
    ok now 10 min break
    PAGE 114 & 115
    ok now PAGE 73 CROOKED I holdin up 3. JOE BUDDEN the TRIANGLE just like JAY Z BACK OF DOLLAR BILL ETC.. NIKE PLUG on BEST MC ALIVE’S feet. read the article big name drops ROSENBERG. L.A. REID ILLUMINATI JAY Z

    i could say more but its all for u to be aware. EVERTHING U HEAR ABOUT IS TRUE. THE ORGYS THE DRUGS THE MONEY THE POWER. and im not talkin bout the new DRAKE RICK ROSS SONG MADE MEN. speaking of RIHANNA SHE IS A WHORE. WILL DO ANYTHING but so would BRITANY SPEARS GAGA MADONNA LIL KIM MARYLIN MONROE BUT IM JUST SAYING I WOULD FUCK RI RI DRAKE IS LUCKY. SO IS JAY Z LA REID ILLUMINATI!!!!!!!

    ok enough with the trash i’ll save that for MTV. because they dump plenty if. LOOK U HAVE 2 OPTIONS ACCEPT OR REJECT. ACCEPT AND U CAN CLOSE UR EYES AND OPEN THEM AND EVERYTHING WILL BE BACK TO NORMAL AS ALWAYS SINCE BURTH. REJECT AND GIVE UP EVERYTHING U NO AND LOVE. FOR EXAMPLE XBOX BP YM ROC ROLLINGSTONE MCDONALDS WALMART XXL GOOGLE MICROISOFT APPLE VERIZON TIME WARNER AND LIVE IN A CAVE FACING AWAY FROM SUNLIGHT TILL U ROT IN HELL WITH THE REST OF US. REST IN PEACE PAC AND BIG MLK JFK MIKE J.

  • http://www.ahmedhoke.com Hunnit Thousand Million

    Pun was ill. Nuff said.

  • King of XXL

    Fuck all dead rappers

  • Really Tho

    ‘Please share in the comments” is the lowest form of blogging.

  • SUPREME BLACkMAN

    Why does everyone keep putting Jay Z and the rest of the rappers with being part of illuminati. Read on this, #1 they are black/african heritage/blood in their bodies,and it will never be allowed dumb asses!!!!!!!!!!!

  • D CAONABO

    WHEN I THINK ABOUT PUN, I THINK ABOUT ‘PANA’
    HE WAS THE ILLEST, LIKE NAS SAID AND WHEN HE SAID IT IT WAS TRUE, THAT NIGGA WAS THE LAST SHINING SUN I COULD FEEL. THANK GOD A COUPLE NICE NIGGAS POPPED UP OUT THE WOODS (SHOUTS: SAIGON, TERM, PAP, NIPSEY, CURREN$Y)

    BUT BIG PUN IS THE GREATEST NIGGA TO EVER DO IT, WORD
    I SAID IT

  • WHO SHOY TA

    big pun is the greatest rapper of all time.
    i prefer nas tbh. but i have mad respect for pun.
    r.i.p

  • Chilly Willy

    Death is the transition from greatness to legend. When we remember their death, we celebrate their lives. Birthday is for his family. As a human, he deserved that peaceful memory from his loved ones. The legend is what belongs to us all.

    Pun, thanks for what you gave to hip hop. Your family will have to cope with the chicken sandwich smack down, it’s not my place. I respectfully tip my hat to one of hip hop’s best ambassador.

    As for the illuminati-tourette’s poo flingin brain damaged test monkey trolling in the comments, go kick rocks….