"It's not a game, it's war
Plain an raw
Blood stain the wall
when I bring the chain with the saw"
- Big Pun(Leather Face)
Big Pun was definitely one of hip-hop's biggest contributors in more ways than one. Pun's lyrical ability without a doubt is comparable to the likes of Eminem, Jay-Z or any other top artist in your rotation. He was at the beginning of his career when untimely events took him from this world, but his music still plays on to this very day.
Pun's last studio album Yeah Baby which was released in 2000 demonstrated his uncanny ability to balance hardcore rap and commercial at the same time. "Leather Face" is a standout track from YB that deserves recognition.
I've got to say the intro to this song clearly expresses the level of confidence and clarity that he had in his vision for hiphop. "I am the nicest, ever", that is a bold statement, but Pun was on the brink of greatness and had track after track to substantiate his claim. The beat selected for the track provided plenty of room for Pun to flex his agile wordplay from hard-concise to supernatural. It's evident in this track, as with most of of his music, that Terror Squad was more than just a group of band-mates they were family. Pun made it a point to put his heart into his music which I feel is largely a part of why "Leather Face" and other songs were so successful.
Anyone that listens to Pun's Yeah Baby can immediately see the ease at which he utilized all facets of bilingual communication and intense imagery to drive a message home. These are only two of many reinforcements of versatility that Pun was able to wield effortlessly in his lyrical assaults. Now, Pun wasn't all killer lyrics, he also had a sense of humor that he would place into his music that broke up the tension from time to time. Even in "Leatherface" he spits "I rip you in half blast that *ss through a glass window, laugh a little [ha ha} and dash in a S-class limo", so even as he's tearing you a new one he leaves you smiling. Hip hop for some is just words to music, but for Pun, music allowed him to transcend the limitations of the physical form.
I was fortunate enough to catch Pun at a concert in Charlotte once I believe it was and let me tell you he rocked it. From the time that he took the mic, to the time he stepped offsite it was captivating from beginning to end. True to his name, Big Pun's presence on stage dropped jaws, but when he ripped that Deep Cover track folks went Ba-Nanas! Straight Insane! I was like "Daaam", dude killed it! He's probably one of the very few MCs whose image, craft and life actually lived up to expectations. Rest In Peace Pun, we miss you.