There’s a great moment at the top of It’s So Hard by Big Pun, when you can hear Pun take a deep breath, right before he starts rapping. It’s weird magic. Just a dramatic pause right before a man starts speaking straight from his heart without worrying about how it’ll be taken.

By the time his excellent second album, ‘Yeah Baby’ came out, Pun had died, lost to health complications extending from chronic weight problems. But this track has been on my mind quite a lot of late, with the launch of gen ñ going on. I love the feeling that things are about to start happening, that deep breath says it all. Whew. Gut Check Time Dupree.

I love the feeling of sudden fame, and the hangers-on that come with it. I love to watch J.Lo lip-synch the lyrics in the posthumous video. It’s touching, it’s real.
“What’d you say your name was? And I know you from where? Elementary School? I don’t know you man…”

Watch for LL, Xzibit, etc… With Pun not around to do the video, everybody from Nas to Wyclef is raising a lighter in his honor. Very ‘Rock Show’ thing to do in the era I grew up in. Better than folks raising cell phones for sure. Some rhymes are pure blockhead. He thinks Nazi rhymes with Dibiase. (Ted, for those not in the squared circle know.) But most rhymes here, they’re just so good and The feeling of a rush of hard won, plenty loved, plenty resented, plenty cocky assuredness/sureness is reassuring.

“I just lost a hundred lbs, I’m trying to live, baby, I paid for them titties, get your own ya heard?”

The challenges of bad health standing toe to toe with dreams of a better life and the fast (but not hurried) delivery of phrases that marry domesticity to thug-out gun waving as well as the Sopranos did it – “Straight from Paris, checkin Gaby’s new baby carriage, Perry Ellis (nice), auburn cherry reddish, Fresh out the dealer, got the Tec for the squealers”. I give you Big Pun. Explicit lyrics in tha house.

More? Try flying Air Goya to this funked up bit Puerto Rican by way of Nuyorican pride and power, another posthumous video, this one for “100 %” featuring your waitress, claiming to be Iris Chachon.

Straight from Paris – Auburn Cherry Reddish

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