On this day, April 28, in hip-hop history...

Loud Records
Loud Records

1998:  Big Pun released his debut album Capital Punishment, a project that immediately established the Bronx-hailing rapper as one of the most devastating lyricists in the rap game.

In the years leading up to the project's release, Pun had cut his teeth alongside the likes of Fat Joe, the Beatnuts and even Shaquille O'Neal on guest features. However, it would be his 1997 single "I'm Not a Player," produced by Minnesota, that would help Pun attract the attention of Loud Records.

Known for his dense rhyme schemes, Pun quickly turned heads on tracks like his Fat Joe-featuring cut, "Twinz (Deep Cover '98)." The lyrics, "Dead in the middle of Little Italy, little did we know/That we riddled two middlemen who didn't do diddily," remain a sort of definitive example of the rapper's nearly unmatched technique.

With a technical mastery that matched hip-hop's best wordsmiths and a charm not unlike that of The Notorious B.I.G.'s, it was clear Pun was on his way to big things. Commercial success was inevitable

Upon its release in 1998, Capital Punishment peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Fueled by the melodic singles "Still Not a Player" and the rags-to-riches tale "You Came Up," Pun solidified himself as the first Latino rap star.

The LP was also hailed as the first Latin hip-hop record to ever go platinum. The album even earned a Grammy nomination in 1999.

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