With classic songs like “Twins,” “You came up” and “Still not a player,” Big Pun was not only a Bronx legend, but one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time.
On March 22, family, friends and elected officials gathered at Fordham Road and Grand Concourse where a joyous ceremony was held as it was renamed Big Pun Plaza in honor of the late rapper.
Pun, born Christopher Lee Rios, was discovered by fellow Bronx rapper Fat Joe and made waves in the 90s. He was the first Latino rapper to have a platinum album and was also nominated for a Grammy.
In 2000, he died from a heart attack at the age of 28, leaving behind a wife, Liza, and their three children, Star, Vanessa and Christopher Jr.
“We’ve been trying to do this for a long time,” said Pun’s mother Gail Tirado. “I’m humbly honored that this is happening. It’s an incredible block and it’s fit for a legend.”
Among the many people at the event was music journalist Riggs Morales. Morales, who is credited as the writer who discovered Eminem, is a diehard Big Pun fan.
He noted that before Pun came onto the hip-hop scene there were very few Latino rappers.
“With Big Pun Latinos finally found an artist who represented the synergy of Blacks and Latinos collected in the streets of the Bronx,” he said. “In the end Pun changed the perception of Latinos in the music industry as he did for hip-hop as a whole. This is one of the proudest moments in hip-hop history. God bless Pun and his family.”
Joining Morales at the event was none other than Borough President Ruben Diaz. Diaz thanked Councilman Fernando Cabrera and the city council for making the street renaming happen.
He told the attendees this was long overdue. The BP noted that while he still has to look at YouTube to follow Pun’s lyrics, it is his music of choice when he works out.
“For those of you who are from the Bronx, who are Puerto Rican and Latino, he’s our Biggie,” he said. “Pun is going to be right here in the liveliest corner in the Boogie Down Bronx.”