It recently came to my attention that Christopher “Big Pun” Rios, celebrated and revered as one of HipHop’s greats emcees, physically and verbally abused his girlfriend and wife Liza prior to and throughout their 10-year marriage.

This information is apparently common knowledge amongst the TMZ, blog, gossip set, but came as a surprise to me, not because spousal abuse is hard to fathom, but because there is accompanying video footage I was also unaware of that shows a reprehensible assault on Liza by a gun-wielding Christopher.

Seeing the video gave me the same type of disgusted, sick feeling I got watching the Rodney King videotape – a visceral gut-level reaction in which you feel intense anger toward the attacker and immeasurable sympathy for the defenseless victim.

After a search I found the video clip below, taken from the E! True Hollywood Story – Big Pun, in which Liza recounts the years of abuse she suffered and experienced at the hands of the man whose morbid obesity left him incapable of performing for himself the most basic of tasks, which Liza dutifully carried out despite the abuse.

My initial reaction after listening to Liza’s heart-wrenching account in the video was to remove the Big Pun print I created five years ago from the site. After further consideration I decided against that approach because removing the piece would not serve to advance any dialogue around the issue of domestic violence in general and how that does or does not correlate to the continuing misogynistic themes that remain prevalent in so much HipHop music.

So what to do? The fact is that only doing pieces based on rappers with squeaky clean, thoroughly vetted backgrounds would leave me with an empty site. Slick Rick shot two people, Jay-Z stabbed a rival, Ice-T was a pimp, etc.

It all also raises a variation of the age-old question regarding hating the sin and loving the sinner – Meaning, is it possible to love the art but loathe the artist?

I haven’t truly answered this question for myself, but two things are clear – Capital Punishment, the album that inspired the Big Pun piece, is a classic album by all standards. Conversely the actions of Christopher Rios are heinous and reprehensible.

Therefore, from September 2009 on, ALL proceeds generated from the sale of the Big Pun print will be donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (

It is a small act in the grand scheme of things, but hopefully through promoting dialogue around this issue can help generate discussions amongst HipHop fans about this serious and too often overlooked issue.


I decided to leave my original comments on the print intact because despite Big Pun’s inexcusable acts of violence, his art remains some of HipHop’s finest.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is not affiliated with

at DimeWars.Com

BIG PUN - THE PUNISHER: Another in an unfortunately too-long list of rappers who died too soon, Big Pun was right there with the legendary Biggie Smalls as an emcee superbly adept at spitting rhymes be they battle, story, freestyle, or party.

With this piece, along with the images of Pun, I wanted to work in two specific elements — the Puerto Rican Flag (Pun repped hard for Borinquen) and the symbol of the comic book character Punisher. How to pull it off was the trick. I went through quite a few preliminary attempts before I achieved the scuffed-up, rough and grimey look I was chasing. As for the featured lyrics, those are from "Beware" off Pun's ill debut "Capital Punishment."

Yo, what you thought punk, shit was sweet, now you can't sleep
Gotta keep ya eyes open wide and hide ya face from the streets

I'm like the beast with a warrant, far from alarmin'
Gave you fair warnin' now you on the stairs swallin'

I'm callin' out any rapper that I doubt, smack 'em in the mouth
Throw 'em in the yoke, BOOM!, then I knock 'em out

No doubt, Freddie Foxxx files 20-shot auto glock, BLAAOW!
Benny Blanc Puerto Rock style

With a twist of black in the brow, twist ya cap and I'm out
Sleep with the fish-dips for yappin' too loud

What's happenin' now? Niggaz is hard as hell but they Gargamels
Pickin' on the smallest victim gives 'em heart to kill

My squad is real and holds it down the hardest regardless
Besides of the largest, we polish the floor with the rawest hardcore artists

Flawless victory you niggaz can't do shit to me
Physically, lyrically, hypothetically, realistically

I'm the epitome of catchin' wreck, catch you when you cash your check
Smash you when you pass then jack you for your fuckin' Lex

Nothin' less than the best if the squad did it
Hard-headed niggaz better beware and fear like God said it

Ay-yo I warned you, now all niggaz could do is mourn you
I'm born to kill and still thrilled, I put it on you

There's no regrets, remorse, only results and loneliness
Only the strong survivors strive through life as warriors

All of us die, some of us kill, even massacred
Who wanna try? Punisher will if you ask for it

I'm hazardous for your health and hell's your next stop
For real my shit's cocked the world has just stopped...

I'm not the one you should be underestimatin'
Come test your fate an' I guarantee I'll be under investigation

You can't handle the whole, I'll slam you on your skull
Or we can go blow for blow like Evander and Bowe, ya never know

However though I still hold the title
When all my rivals the chance to dance who missed the homicidal

Hand on the bible I swear to defend my crown
I've been around since forever and never let it touch the ground

Don't fuck around and catch a rude awakenin'
My crew's basically waitin' patiently for you to move your patrons in

Then we'll surround you, form Desert Storm and pound you
Look around you, Terror Squad's everywhere like Soundview

The Boogie Down do it like nobody, who are we?
The foundation, you're facin' a whole army.