Big Punisher

Big Pun was the stage name for Christopher Lee Rios, a Grammy-nominated rapper whose solo debut, Capital Punishment, was the first hip-hop record by a solo Latino artist to achieve platinum status. Born in New York City on November 10, 1971, he was raised in the Bronx, where he began rapping under the name Big Moon Dawg. After changing his alias to Big Punisher (and subsequently shortening it to Big Pun), he met fellow Bronx-based rapper Fat Joe in 1995, making his commercial debut as a guest artist on Fat Joe's second album, Jealous One's Envy. Big Pun scored an underground hit in 1997 his own song, "I'm Not a Player," but it was the song's popular remix, 1998's "Still Not a Player," that transformed his underground success into mainstream acclaim. Capital Punishment, Big Pun's only album to be released during his lifetime, arrived that same year, selling more than a million copies in America and earning the younger rapper a Grammy nomination. In 1999, Big Pun appeared on Mr. Serv-On's hit single "From N.Y. to N.O.," as well as Terror Squad's debut record, The Album. He also began working on his sophomore album, Yeeeah Baby. Before the record could be completed, he died on February 7, 2000, the victim of health issues caused by his obesity. Yeeeah Baby was released posthumously in April 2000, with a greatest hits compilation, Endangered Species, following in 2001.

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