Buckwild, Green Lantern Join Forces for Big Pun Tribute
Big Pun celebrated life through his incomparable lyrics and expected listeners to follow suit, even in death. "Try to remember me for my aggressive will/ The way I kept it real was more important than any record deal," he rapped on 1998's N.O.R.E.-assisted 'You Came Up.' To showcase the Bronx-bred emcee's consistent resolve, producers Buckwild, Green Lantern, and Sean C & LV will be honoring his lyrical wish with the release of the 'Big Pun Tribute,' a song collection of rarities, classics and remixes available for download on Feb. 7, the 10-year anniversary of his death.
The mix -- compiled by DJ Soul and G Bo the Pro -- is the brainchild of D.I.T.C. member Buckwild. The hip-hop producer, noted for his work on Pun's 'N---- S---,' was eager to praise the platinum-selling Latino rapper's works in the form of a compilation. After Buckwild met DJ Soul, who last year created a similar tribute project dedicated to fallen Harlem rapper Big L, the two began executing the project. "Pun doesn't get the light that he deserves when they talk about great emcees," DJ Soul tells The BoomBox. "But I initially didn't want to do a Pun mix because there isn't too much unreleased music out there. Everything that's been recorded has pretty much been released. So [Buckwild] said what if he remixed some of the songs. I knew if we were to do this project it would have to be with Sean C."
Sean C., Pun's A&R during his tenure at Loud Records, and Pun's former touring DJ LV, both of Grind Music, join the fold of producers creating beats for the homage. 'We're putting together a lot of the a cappellas," Sean reveals. "Some that weren't used for the last album and a couple features that maybe one or two people heard. There will be some new records." As for featured collaborators, don't expect the revered producers to put out any names just yet, though LV does hint that a prominent rapper will make a guest appearance on a track.
With six men combining talents, the end result is a creative alliance. New York-born DJ Soul, with the help of G Bo, has the arduous task of turning the submitted records into a blend of sonic gems. "DJ Stretch Armstrong gave me some [Big Pun] freestyles," says Soul. "In regards to Pun music that has never been put out there, there is definitely a freestyle I got from him that I never heard and it's not on the Web."
Before Sean C and LV hand off their tracks to Soul, they'll turn back the hands of time to reflect on studio memories with the nimble lyricist. "When making these records, I'll remember ideas that he told me or remember him saying he wanted to do a song with this person," discloses Sean. "LV was around him a lot, so [we'll] just try to remember the beats he liked and keep it true to him."
From The Punisher's lyrics to his videos, "true to him" often times meant silly and harebrained. Pun's wild antics are prominently displayed in his video for the club-ready track, 'Still Not A Player.' As the rotund rapper exits from a helicopter, he reaches into his shirt as if readying himself to pull out a gun. Only the goofy emcee surprises a waiting entourage by grabbing hold of a device used to set the alarm on his parked chopper. Practical jokes like this are some of the fondest memories LV has of Pun. "[Pun would] come in your room at 6 a.m. with buckets of water, make you feel like you were drowning," the producer describes. "You would wake up, right before the water hits your face, like, 'Oh s---, what the f--- is going on?' Anywhere I went to sleep I got water poured on me."
DJ Soul looked to the rhyme slinger's animated personality while deciding on the effort's cover art. Devout followers of the rapper will remember the 'Yeeeah Baby' promotional posters bearing a Michael Jordan-esque silhouette of Pun flying through the air while holding a microphone.
"I had that hanging on my wall a couple years ago," says Soul of the sticker that inspired the artwork. "I thought about what I could use for the tribute and that was the first thing that came to mind. I think that sticker was a great representation of him as an artist because of his personality. Not only was he a great lyricist but he was also a fun character which was exemplified through his videos, his interviews and through stories from his friends."
While just a few of the industry veterans involved in the making of the 'Big Pun Tribute' were personal friends of the lauded emcee, all remain ardent fans of his clever rhymes.
The release will be available for free download across the Internet on Feb. 7.