Twenty-two years ago, one of the greatest technical achievements in hip-hop history arrived -- Big Pun's debut album Capital Punishment. Boasting an onslaught of standout tracks like "Beware," the Black Thought-assisted "Super Lyrical," "Twinz," "Still Not A Player," and countless more, Pun's instant classic immediately captured attention thanks to a confident and unparalleled level of emceeing.

Big Pun Capital Punishment

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Despite his heavyset appearance, Pun stood among the most verbally dexterous rappers of his generation, discovering pockets that lesser wordsmiths might have easily overlooked. Fueled by gritty production from Rockwilder, Domingo, Young Lord, a remixed Dr. Dre classic, RZA, and more, Pun came through with relentless flows, all but strongarming his way into the GOAT conversation -- one that was cut tragically short when he passed away from a heart attack at the age of twenty-eight.

To this day, Capital Punishment remains his surviving masterpiece, the only album Pun delivered while still breathing. Though it often feels overlooked when the classics of the canon are discussed, it should be noted that the project is historical in a sense, preserved in time as being the first album from a solo rapper to go platinum. On its twenty-second birthday, the legendary DJ Premier -- himself having become synonymous with hip-hop history -- took to Instagram to commemorate the occasion. "THIS CLASSIC IS 22 YEARS OLD TODAY," he captions, alongside the iconic cover. "1st SOLO EMCEE TO GO PLATINUM...SALUTE TO BIG PUN (R.I.P.) Peace To @fatjoe and #TS.."

Rest in peace Big Punisher, and should you be interested to hear a true beast on the microphone, look no further than Capital Punishment. What's your favorite track?