Big Pun, “Big Papi” (Originally Published March 2001)

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It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a full year since Big Pun passed on. But he’s not forgotten. Through family, friends, artists and his music, he lives on. Reminisce over our amigo with our tribute to one of hip-hop’s most respected MCs.

Written By: XXL Staff
Photos By: XXL STaff

Big Pun was known for his sense of humor and larger-than-life persona. So we decided to have his peoples give us candid, funny stories about the good times they spent with the man who loved to laugh—sometimes at other’s expense.

Liza Rios // Pun’s widow
Pun liked to put stuff in your food. He’d put vinegar in your juice or salt in your soda. His other big thing was water fights. He had water guns stashed everywhere. No matter how you were dressed, he’d blast you with the water gun. One of the rules of our house was the first person to fall asleep got wet. So guys would stay around the house trying to stay up. He would throw a whole bucket of ice-cold water on you. You’d get heated, but that was Pun.

Fat Joe // Terror Squad
When Pun had his first white label,”You Ain’t a Killer,” we was hanging out in this club in the Bronx. He was excited that KRS-One was going to be there. We start performing the record and the crowd is going crazy. Pun is ripping it and the next thing I know, he just falls off the stage—a crazy, big tall stage. I think he landed on KRS’ wife Simone. I think she got it on video tape. When he fell, the whole crowd was like, “Oh shit!” You probably think he so big he got hurt, but the minute he hit the floor he just jumped right back up and kept rhyming like it was part of the show! Oh man, that was dumb funny. We teased him for years about that.

Cuban Link // Terror Squad
Back in the day before Pun even got the deal, we went with Liza, his wife, to see her father in Long Island. Two shorties were playing on this little basketball court they had in the street and we was like, “Yeah, yo shorty, let me get a shot.” He gave me a little shot and then Pun asked him, “Hey shorty, let me get a shot,” and shorty was like, “You fat, boy.”

Pun was like, “What’d you say, short?” Shorty was like nine-years-old. Pun just said, “Fuck it, shorty. I will stick my dick through your father’s heart.” And I seen shorty’s expression on his face, and me and Pun just started gigglin’, yo. That was the funniest. The kid started laughing, too, and he gave him the ball and we started playing. Shorty had to respect that snap right there. Pun was not the type of guy to let you snap on him and think you good at it. You can have your laughs on him, but he’s gonna have his laughs on you.

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Rockwilder
He always had me laughing, man. When we was doing “You Came Up” in the studio, Pun used to call me an over-sized Redman doll. He said, “Don’t Rock look like a Redman balloon?” I told him he looked like a big Hostess Twinkie.

Steve Rifkind // Loud Records
You know what our first conversation was? He wanted to be the first Spanish rapper to go gold. When the “Still Not a Player (Remix)” came out, I said, “You’re going platinum.” He said, “If I go platinum, I’m buying you a gift.” When he knew we were certified platinum, he came to the office and I said, joking around, “Yo, where’s my gift?” He said, “We’re certified.” And I said, “I know. Yo, where’s my gift that you said you were gonna get me?” Now, we were like a million point five, six. He goes, “Well, I had to wait for certification.” “It was certified two months ago!” “No it wasn’t. It was certified an hour ago.” Then, as he says “an hour ago,” he goes into his pocket for a box with a diamond bracelet with my name on it. He already had it and I put my foot in my mouth saying, “Yo, where’s my gift?” This was the type of man he was. When he said he was going to do something, he did it.

Psycho Les // The Beatnuts
Ju Ju told this funny story of how Pun wanted to do this video like Baywatch. There was some girl drowning, he was going to rescue her and then get eaten by a shark. Then the whole video was going to take place inside the shark’s stomach. He was even planning to run toward the girl in slow motion in the video.

Knowbody // producer // Terror Squad
Pun thought everything was funny. When somebody would ask him if he were hungry, he’d say, “Yeah, bring me a barbeque elephant.”