Although Big Pun’s 1998 record “Still Not A Player” catapulted the late rapper into the mainstream market and was featured on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, Joe, a collaborator on the song, says the success of “Still Not A Player” was unexpected.
“The ‘Still Not A Player’ record was kinda funny because I had ‘Don’t Wanna Be A Player’ as my single at the time. And Pun had, I think, a similar record too,” Joe said. “I’m not sure what it was called, but anyways the two songs were so similar we just sat down and chopped it up and was like ‘Yo, we should just merge the two.’ And played a few tracks and it came around to this one particular track. It just felt like the right one. And Fat Joe got with us. We got in the studio and I put the hook down. Pun apparently had his verse written out to a t. I didn’t think the record was gonna take off like that to be honest with you. It was one of those records where I loved it. I thought it was fun, but I didn’t know it was gonna be like a mega-mega-hit.”
Joe later admitted that he was also a fan of the original version of the song, which was titled “I’m Not A Player.” The crooner also recalled singing the “Boricua, Morena” portion of the hook, an addition he gave credit to both Big Pun and Fat Joe for.
“Blew him up crazy. Blew him up seriously,” he said. “Because you know it’s funny I liked the original record too he did. Cause his flow on that original joint was sick to me. But the remix of course it touched a broader audience…I didn’t even know what that meant. So, definitely wasn’t my idea. Just trying to say the words was a challenge for me. But of course those guys being from the Bronx. You know, Fat Joe and Pun they understood what the Latin market [and] Latin community wanted to hear and how that would bridge the gap between black and Spanish. I thought it was perfect. Perfect for me to sing it.”
The release of “Still Not A Player” came roughly two years before Big Pun’s untimely death in February 2000. While in White Plains, New York with family at the time, the rapper suffered a fatal heart attack.
On the anniversary of his death this year, numerous artists including Raekwon, DJ Khaled, and Fat Joe honored his legacy in a series of messages sent via Twitter.