Happy 20th Anniversary to the late, great, Big Pun and his second album “Yeeeah Baby.” This would be Pun’s final solo album to be released posthumously in the wake of Big Pun’s death in February 2000. “Yeeeah Baby” was released April 4th of the same year as planned, peaking at number 1 on the Billbords and selling 179,000 units during the week it was released. It becomes certified Gold in three months and would go on to be certified Platinum. The album has sold over 1,100,000 copies in the United States alone.
“… An even more in-depth peep inside the heart and soul of a man in constant struggle with himself. … a backstage pass to the all-out jam that was Pun’s personality: street-wise, intellectually sharp, sex-crazed – and funny as hell …“
The Source (5/00, p. 186) – 4 mics out of 5
Big Pun’s biggest hits were produced from this album, the first single “It’s So Hard” and the Puerto Rican anthem “100%”. In an interview with Industry Insider, Pun detailed that his approach on Yeeeah Baby was not as “hardcore” as his previous album Capital Punishment, in an attempt to reach out to an even wider fanbase than his debut album already had. This would be Pun’s last magazine interview, he died a week after the interview.
The late, great, Christopher Lee Rios better known as Big Pun (short for Big Punisher), emerged from the underground hip hop scene in The Bronx to go on to work with Fat Joe and the Terror Squad. Pun’s lyrics are said to be technically efficience, having minimal pauses to take a breath, heavy use of alliteration as well as internal and multi-syllabic rhyming schemes. He is frequently mentioned in conversations about being one of the best MCs of all time.
Big Pun was discovered by Fat Joe, and made his earliest appearance on Fat Joe’s 1995 album Jealous One’s Envy. Pun would go on to appear on the song, “Watch Out”. He also and also “Firewater” appearing alongside Raekwon. He also appeared on The Beatnuts’ song “Off the Books”.
Later, “I’m Not a Player” (featuring an O’Jays sample) was supported by a significant advertising campaign and became an underground hit. The feature that got the most attention was “Deep Cover 2,” that song put Pun in the spotlight.
Big Pun signed his first deal with Loud and released his debut album Capital Punishment to critical acclaim and commercial success. His album was nominated for a Grammy and went on to get certified Platinum by the RIAA and the album peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200. Big Pun would become the first Latino Hip Hop Artist to go platinum.
“Yeeeah Baby” would become Big Puns best selling album. This album showed Pun’s personality come to life. He still had some hard street lyrics, but he also showed a lighter side. Not backing down from being lyrically inclined, Pun showcased desire to make great songs. My favorite song, and maybe most people, “It’s so Hard,” is an example of Pun’s newfound sound. His second single he showed love to his heritage with “100%” and also showed off his storytelling lyrics. Songs like “Watch Out” and “New York Giants” featuring M.O.P. showed more of the hardcore street sound Big Pun was known for. Overall a very dope album and still gives me the same feeling it did 20 years ago.
Continue to Rest In Power to Big Pun and salute on the 20th Anniversary of “Yeeeeah Baby”