It’s been 8 years today since we lost Big Pun, who died of a heart attack at the young age of 28, just as he was becoming a hip-hop superstar. Today, Si Entertainment posted an interview with his widow, Liza Rios, where she talks about how the family is holding down his legacy. She speaks in depth about the mission of the Big Pun Foundation, and her plans to release a 10 year anniversary special edition of Pun’s debut Capital Punishment, along with a documentary called The Definitive Series: Big Pun: 10th Anniversary of Capital Punishment. She also answers questions about rumors that her family was not taken care of, financially, after his death. It’s an interesting look into the struggle that families of artists have to deal with far too often. Check out this excerpt:
Si Ent.: Things haven’t been so well for you financially since Pun’s death, is that correct?
LR: People really think that I have a couple of millions and a couple of furs and cars [but] that’s not the truth. The truth is that after Pun hit platinum he started asking where his royalties were. He asked [Fat Joe] in my living room several times, “Where are my royalties?” He already went two times platinum and [was] working on Yeeeah Baby and asking about his checks. The answer was always that it was recouped. Pun let it slide by and just trusted that things would be good. I know he always trusted the fact that if he passed away, his family was going to be good. We even argued about that. He swore, “You’re TS, I’m TS!” He punched his chest and said “I’m TS.” And I was upset because I didn’t trust that-meaning trusting another man to make sure that I’m good.
Si Ent.: So Pun believed his family would never be broke?
LR: I don’t know. I know he thought he was always going to have money. I mean he had money and he would spend it quick! That’s the thing, you give a ghetto n***a some money and it’s going to be gone. We always had money. We got together when he was 18 and I was 17 and he won a lawsuit which brought him half of a million dollars; that had nothing to do with the music. And like I said, you give an 18-year-old $100,000, who never had any parental guidance or ever had anything, he’s turning ghetto fabulous. Buy this, buy that, you know. Take care of this and that person and he was very generous. When he passed away I had $8,000 in the bank. He had spent all his money. I had to get paid off his cars. I lived off that for a little bit. A regular person would think that I would have millions from those record sales. But the truth is that I was supposed to get $100,000 from Endangered Species; $50,000 upfront and $50,000 afterwards. But instead I received $50,000 upfront and $25,000 afterwards. Why? Because they split the last $50,000 into two checks and one check was stolen. So I acquired $75K, then I received one royalty check for Endangered Species two years ago of $14K.
The deal Joe made with Pun is that, Joe would be the administrative of his estate. So all the money would go to Joe first and he’ll break Pun off. Now that Pun’s not here, he’s supposed to be breaking me off, but he’s not. He’ll say it hasn’t been recouped but if you figure over two million [records sold], c’mon, he’s been recouped. I asked to transfer Capital Punishment‘s and Yeeeah Baby‘s rights to Pun’s estate. The response I got [from the lawyers] was that only Joe could do that. So who’s getting the checks then? And even still I’ve tried to reach Joe, but it never works out. I don’t get an answer or anything. I don’t hate him. With the times we shared I know we were genuine whether Joe was or not. And I know if it was Joe who passed, best believe that his two kids would’ve been in my house. I would’ve taken care of his kids, Pun would’ve looked after the family, his mom, all of that. Even if Joe doesn’t like me, it’s about Pun’s kids more than anything else.
CLICK HERE to read Sí Entertainment’s full interview with Liza Rios.