The late Big Pun left behind a wife and three children when he passed away at age 28 in 2000.
In a recent three-part interview with AllHipHop, Pun’s widow, Liza Rios, and her attorney, Lita Rosario, discuss their recent lawsuit against Fat Joe and musician Jellybean Benitez.
According to Rios, Pun’s family has not been compensated appropriately since her late husband’s death. For nearly a decade, she’s claimed that Fat Joe has not honored an agreement they made to split the revenue from her husband’s catalog. Rios claims she has not received any royalties since 2005.
“He loved Joe and the squad,” Rios tells AHH. “That was his heart. So for him to give so much to them, and give so much to Terror Squad, and make Terror Squad what it was, because he made it what it was…for them to turn their backs on his family, his kids… he’d be heartbroken.”
Rios’ attorney has been in this situation before. Lita Rosario has advocated for Missy Elliott, Tank, Mr. Cheeks (The Lost Boyz), Lauryn Hill, and more in the past and feels confident in this case.
“The big question is ‘where’s the money?’,” she asks. “Some new info. has come to light, that is shedding some light as to where the money is…Over time, you’re supposed to get royalties twice a year.
“We found out that in foreign territories overseas, the writer splits are not properly reflected for the songs the way they should have been. That’s indicating there was some money there that was collected and should not have been.”
Rios also opens up about Big Pun writing Fat Joe’s rhymes and giving him his moniker.
“I was there from the beginning,”she says. “To see him coming from nowhere and just create. Not for nothing, he gave Joe his name. To see him create, it was a beautiful thing… He wrote his[Joe] stuff. Joe put a lot of pressure on Pun. He knocked it out. We all know, the whole crew knows. He gave Joe his name, he said ‘we’re not going to call you Fat Joe anymore we’re going to call you Don Cardagena.’ A rapper’s not going to admit he had ghost writers. Every song Pun was on with Joe, Pun wrote the whole song, including Joe’s verse. Then when Pun passed away, you had other people step in.”
Check out the full interview below: