Some rappers die because they get shot. Some die of AIDS. But corpulent Latino rapper Big Punisher died of a massive coronary; at the time of his February 2000 death, he weighed over 600 pounds. While this made Punisher a suitable poster boy for the dangers of conspicuous consumption, on his platinum 1998 debut album, Capital Punishment
, he's eager to poke fun at the creed of greed: "I'm not a player", he announces, "I just fuck a lot." But while Capital Punishment
is perfectly adequate gangsta fare, Big Pun doesn't deserve the deification that dead rappers so frequently receive; here, he deviates little from the egomaniacal posturing that the Notorious B.I.G.
branded his own. "If it doesn't make dollars, then it doesn't make sense," splutters compadre Fat Joe
on "Glamour Life." Suitable, then, that Big Pun died in an industry where rigor mortis
is the ultimate unit-shifter. --Louis Pattison