It’s been 21 years since Big Pun suffered a fatal heart attack and respiratory failure at a White Plains, New York hotel, but his legacy lives on.
According to News 12 Long Island, the late Bronx rapper was honored in his hometown borough on Monday (March 21) with a street named after him. Big Pun Plaza now sits on the corner of East Fordham Road and Grand Concourse as a way to immortalize the Hip Hop legend.
Video of the momentous occasion was uploaded to Big Pun’s official Instagram account and shows a sizable crowd rocking masks as Pun music bumped in the background. Fat Joe also shared how much this moment means to him with an emotional Instagram post.
“Congrats to my big brother BIG PUN on getting a Bronx block named after him,” he captioned the post. “My brother you deserve it I’m proud of you and the Bronx for acknowledging my brother PUN God bless you rest in paradise.”
Born Christopher Lee Rios in 1971, Big Pun rose to prominence in the mid-90s under the tutelage of his Terror Squad brethren Fat Joe, appearing on his sophomore album Jealous One’s Envy.
In 1998, Pun dropped his inaugural solo album, Capital Punishment, which included the track “I’m Not A Player.” The subsequent Knobody-produced remix, “Still Not A Player” featuring R&B singer Joe, became Pun’s breakout anthem, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart and No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100.
As a result, Capital Punishment catapulted to platinum status and marked the first time a Latin rapper had ever achieved this feat. The project peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Beat Rap Album category.
Pun’s sophomore album Yeeeah Baby was released posthumously, just two months after his death. Once again, the project was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling over 179,000 copies in its opening week and landing at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
Last November, NBA legend Patrick Ewing’s Ewing Athletics released their fourth and final collaborative shoe in their series honoring Pun. Retailing at $150, the Ewing 33 High Big PUN featured a black, yellow, white and red colorway inspired by both of his studio albums. Meanwhile, his son Chris Rivers carries his father’s torch with consistent references in his own rap music career.