Last month fans, friends and family of Big Pun gathered in the South Bronx to bring attention to their efforts to have a neighborhood street renamed in honor of the late great rapper.
If approved by the city, 163rd Street and Rogers Place would consequently become Big Pun Place, territory that is already marked with a giant mural of Pun.
Now, while I can admit that Big Pun is probably one of the single most talented lyricists and rappers that Hiphop has ever come across, I can also admit that I don't think that's a good enough reason to have a street named after him.
This goes beyond the allegations that Pun was a wife beater; allegations levied and later backed up by his widow, Liza Rios, who has shared video footage and other proof of Pun's violence against her.
There are literally tons of Bronx Hiphoppers -- including plenty of pioneers -- who have actually done plenty of good for their communities over the past two decades.
Aside from penning and spitting lyrics in the most complex of rhyme schemes, Pun's next best attributes were all scourges of minority communities worldwide: obesity, misogyny, gun violence, materialism, and [over]use of the "N word," which is doubly offensive considering Pun is not African-American.**
Why not name a street after KRS-One, who continues to exude positivity since his debut in 1986?
What about Kool Herc? After all, he is the DJ largely credited with creating Hiphop, and the building in which he is said to have created Hiphop has been turned into a national landmark. So why not name a street in Soundview after him?
Afrika Bambaataa's 1982 single Planet Rock is still a great musical influence for many Hiphop producers, and he is the founding father of the Universal Zulu Nation, a group that took neighborhood gang members and channeled their negative energy to use it for positive means in the community. This group, through one common cause -- Hiphop -- is thriving and continues to unite DJs, rappers, dancers and artists around the world.
The list of other viable candidates to have Bronx streets named for them is a lengthy one; one that down the road might very well include Big Pun. But right now there are others more deserving of consideration before Pun, and that's no knock on him at all. If we're going to honor Pun, we have to honor everything about him, not just his rhyming abilities.
However, if you disagree, you can sign the petition HERE for the street to be renamed.
** This is not to excuse black rappers using the N word to no end. With that said, in my opinion there is only one ethnic group deserving of using this word, and that is the group of folks who it was originally aimed at. It makes no sense for other ethnic groups to fling this word around casually when the history of that word is not their own. More on this later.