Big Pun: The Legacy

posted September 17, 2009 12:09:00 AM CDT | 28 comments

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We as Hip Hop fans often take for granted Big Punisher. We are quick to give him his props for being the first Latino rapper to go platinum but somehow sleep on his abilities when naming our always argued Top 5. With only two albums to his name, Vlad Yudin’s [click to read], Big Pun: The Legacy is still aptly named. The DVD captivates throughout, from its opening scene of Big Pun doing what Big Pun did best, to the opening credits, where Yudin creates a montage of the Bronx by using an assortment of video and photographs. To its conclusion, seeing Pun’s last days, and hearing from those that he influenced both personally and professionally. It is apparent that this documentary was done not merely in homage but also in the spirit of the art of film.

Big Pun: The Legacy is nothing short of a tragedy. It is filled with hope, overcoming obstacles, and even heroics but we all know how the story ends. Yudin spends the 90 minutes showing the world Pun, and how he accomplished what he accomplished and ended where he ended. From hustling to food addictions, to the depression and candid interviews with his wife Liza Rios [click to read], no stone is unturned, yet you leave the film with an appreciation of Pun, even with his problems.

The viewer get a rare glimpse of Pun’s childhood, from his father dying young and living with a mother who was addicted to drugs, to a step-father who was extremely hard on him, and how that effected him. Old Bronx friends share their memories of Pun as a kid and later as a teen. Pictures support every scene, allowing the viewer to see the evolution of Pun. Sure some of it is a physical evolution, from a 150 pound, basketball dunking teen, to a 500 pound man playing with his son in the pool, but Yudin spends time on the emcees psyche as well. Detailing his food addiction with stories told from best friend, Cuban Link [click to read] to unbelievable tour stories told from Prodigy [click to read], the viewer truly grasps how debilitating the addiction was and see how and why his life ended so prematurely.

The film indulges hip hop with previous unseen footage and vast amount of information that most fans wouldn’t know. One of the films highlights is the time spent on his rise to Rap stardom starting with the formation of Full A Clips crew. Interviews with founding members, Triple Seis [click to read] and Cuban Link, provide a peek into Big Pun when he went as former alias, Big Moon Dawg. The film provides audio clips of the group and even at that point Pun was years beyond his talented peers' time. Yudin’s follows Pun’s development as an artist, from that point to being a multi-platinum artist that changed Hip Hop drastically. Countless emcees show up to attest to this point, from a praising Raekwon, to a very somber Xzibit [click to read] and Redman, Hip Hop's finest show up and say what we all should, Pun was one of the illest to ever pick up the microphone.

Liza Rios is candid throughout, but never smearing her late husband’s name. She describes their relationship as “love hate” but also goes to great lengths to describe Pun as a loving father, though at times misguided, and a caring husband. The films only missing element is Fat Joe’s [click to read] lack of contribution. Though there is footage throughout, Fat Joe never sits down and conducts a single interview. This however does little to affect the film’s final value considering the other names, many surprising, that take a moment from their lives to reflect on Big Punisher.

The Tupac and Biggie stories have been told and repeated. We all have come to a overall understanding of what made them great, and how situations throughout their lives shaped them as a writer and performer. In return we love them, treat them like the Hip Hop royalty they are, and honor them at every chance. Big Punisher's posthumous career has taken a different path. We have spent time on his dark side with his wife, enjoyed one release and forget to embrace the importance of his figure all too often. Yudin paints a posthumous look at who Pun was and enlists a who’s-who of Hip Hop heavyweights to praise and tell their own stories of Pun. The end product is an engagingly brilliant top notch documentary that honors who Pun was without glorifying his flaws.

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