How Big Pun Changed My Life

How Big Pun Changed My LifeOn the anniversary of Big Pun’s death, I couldn’t help thinking..

I didn’t speak to Big Pun as much as I should have.

Being a young producer from the North East Bronx, and being in the studio for the first time with a major label artist, sort of had me on edge. My production partner Mike “Trauma” D, worked at Loud Records at the time so he had established a cool relationship with Pun. We traveled all the way to Staten Island to Mystic Studios to lay the track for “Capital Punishment”. I didn’t really know what to expect, I was just happy to be doing this music producer thing. Little did I know, I would be part of a hip-hop classic in the making, and how my life would never be the same after that session.For some damn reason the ASR-10 (Advanced Sampling Recorder) rack in the studio fried my floppy disc. Being the cautious person that I am, I made not only 2, but 3 copies just for times like these. The ASR-10 just didn’t want to load the beat and systematically destroyed all the copies I had.  The beat just couldn’t get laid that day. We had to return back to Mystic, this time I brought my zip drive (remember those?) and we were able to lay the track. To my horror, Pun wanted us to reprogram the track, and the sequence was at my crib studio on my computer.

Back to the drawing board.

So we went back and reprogrammed the track. Did all the final touches.  It was a while before we were called in to lay the track.  I was nervous Pun might’ve lost interest in the record. Out of no where, we got the call to lay the track a final time. Pun wanted that beat something bad. This time I had already laid the track on digital audio tape, so Sounboy (the engineer) transferred it to analog reel with no problem. They bought in a chair in the booth, Pun went in, and we watched history unfold that night. Prospect went in after Pun laid his verses, and “Capital Punishment” was born. It was the last record Pun recorded for the album, and it was the title track for the album.

“Capital Punishment” was the first record we produced commercially. We were happy just to be a part of the project. Then it happened. “Capital Punishment” Certified Gold. Then, it Certified Platinum. That’s when my life started to changed. Pun gave us a shot, he didn’t have to, but he believed in what we were bringing to the table musically. With the success of “Capital Punishment”, we started to get more opportunities in the industry.  “Capital Punishment” opened up doors, and enabled me to travel out of New York and work with some of hip-hop’s elite across the country. We started getting press, etc.

The Terror Squad Album came next, Pun called on us to give him some more heat and we delivered “Triple Threat”. Soon after, Pun was working on his sophomore LP, “Yeeah Baby”. Our working relationship with Pun was solid so we got “Leatherface” to him. Funny thing about the “Leatherface” record, it was originally intended for Wu-tang’s Raekwon and Ghostface Killah.  It didn’t work out and found it’s way to Pun. I guess it was meant to be. I remember us going to Sony studios to mix the record. At the time Pun’s home was being renovated and his kids and wife were at the studio while he was working. “Leatherface” ended up being the B-Side to his single “It’s So Hard”. Both records were getting played on New York radio, things were looking extra good.

That mixing session at Sony would be the last time I saw Pun alive.

We traveled to L.A. to do a remix for “Leatherface” with alternative metal band the Deftones. Shortly after we landed in L.A, we got the call that Pun passed due to a massive heart attack. We were numb. The rest of the day I felt like I was in a fog. We had to pick up Pun’s A&R on the project from the airport, and broke the news to him. Needless to say he took it hard, as he was very close to Pun and his family. We then made our way to Jonathan Rifkind’s (VP Loud Records) home in Beverly Hills. Steve Rifkind (Pres. Loud Records) was on vacation in Hawaii, he flew back to Cali, and we met him at the airport to take a private jet back to New Jersey where Fat Joe stayed. We spent that morning after with Fat Joe as he did radio interviews for Hot 97 in New York. He spoke on how Pun impacted his life, and how Pun would be a legend in hip-hop. He was definitely right about that.

I didn’t speak to Big Pun as much as I should have.

I never got the chance to say thank you for helping me live out this dream. For giving a young dude from the Bronx an opportunity to better his life, and go places I’ve never gone before.

Big Pun is a Hip-Hop legend. He changed my life, and I will always be grateful for that.

R.I.P. Big Pun