Christopher “Big Pun” Rios died February 7, 2000, and various members of the Hip Hop community commemorated the fourteenth anniversary of his passing. A longtime friend of Pun, N.O.R.E. was one of several emcees to to honor Big Pun.
N.O.R.E. and Pun collaborated on Pun’s “You Came Up” as well as N.O.R.E’s “Banned From TV.” The former track appeared on Pun’s debut Capital Punishment—a release that made him the first Latino rapper with a platinum album. But, as N.O.R.E. recounted during an appearance at Cipha Sounds’ “Take It Personal: The Hip Hop Improv Show,” Pun’s appearance on the posse cut “Banned From TV” wasn’t planned.
“Actually, Pun bullied his way on there,” N.O.R.E. said during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “I had Nature on there, and Pun was in the studio. I went to take a shit, and Pun snuck himself on there. I wanted to erase [Pun’s verse] ‘cause he violated. But I never did erase it. That was always my brother.”
Pun’s son, Chris Rivers, also appeared at Cipha Sounds’ improv event, and N.O.R.E. indicated holding his late friend’s offspring in similarly high regard.
“I love his son,” N.O.R.E. said. “I would love to sign him and have him down with the movement. I said it on Twitter, and I’ll say it to HipHopDX, and in his face now: Pun was my brother, and I would always take care of his son if he came with us. I am a CEO. I don’t want to rap shit no more except a gift on Christmas. I don’t want to be a fucking rapper. If he fucks with me, I will fuck with him ‘cause I love Pun and I would definitely love his son.”
Fellow Queens native Ja Rule made a surprise appearance at Cipha Sounds’ “Take It Personal: The Hip Hop Improv Show,” telling the audience how a crazy night out with Pun led to a high-speed chase and arrest. And Chris Rivers joined in the hour-long show with a freestyle. Cipha Sounds’ “Take It Personal: The Hip Hop Improv Show” takes place every Friday night in the East Village of New York City.