In the wake of the revelation that the late Big Pun's wife and kids are living in a shelter, and Fat Joe's subsequent response that he secured Liza Rios hundreds of thousands of dollars thru the release of Endangered Species and even wrote her a follow-up check out of pocket, it really makes the mind wonder.
While I do feel for Pun's children, who haven't done anything wrong in all of this and are the only ones who have to suffer for their mother's foolishness, something has to be said for a mother who let at least $160,000 run through her hands, and that's by her estimate and the real number is surely at least twice that. We all know at least one person like this in real life, and trust me, by the time they are crying poverty to the world, they have likely been through the amount of money they are claiming "all went to bills" 2 or 3 times over. And from the looks of her on that video on WSHH, she clearly hasn't skipped any meals, so its hard to believe she's in any discernible financial dungeon. For her to feel like Fat Joe has some level of responsibility is valid to some extent, but clearly not the extent that she seems to believe.
Big Pun has been lionized in rap, and rightfully so, the man was one of arguably the top 10-15 MCs ever to pick up a microphone. But, in death, we seem to blow certain things in proportion in our minds. Capital Punishment sold in the neighborhood of 1.5 million copies, but this was when album budgets were absolutely ridiculous and I'm sure that Wyclef, Joe, Noreaga, Busta, and the like did not come cheap. Likewise for the all-star cast on the beats. Yeeah Baby barely went gold and due to Pun's death, did not receive all that much promotion beyond the first couple of singles. And the aforementioned Endangered Species barely made a dent at all and surely cost a fortune to make.
So, it seems inherently stupid for Mrs. Rios to believe that she should be set for life off her deceased husband having sold 2 million and something records in his lifetime. I'm sure the two of them had a quite bit of fun with the money while it lasted, and she should resign herself to reality and go get a 9 to 5. But, I'm sure some of you will say, what about all the other widows who live off their husband's musical catalog? This is where Liza Rios' selfish attitude really burned her. Instead of rushing to put out a DVD where he's pistol whipping her, she should have been ensuring that no one ever found out this ugly side of Pun. That is, since you're intending to eat and eat and eat off him for life.
Many deceased artists continue to produce cash for their next of kin in the afterlife, but this isn't with album sales money, that dries up for the most part, especially since rap albums in the '90s cost a mint to make and with the ginormous advances artists were receiving, many barely recouped on them. And with hardly anyone even buying new albums these days, its doubtful that Pun's catalog moves even 2-3K a year. Artists usually continue to make money with licensing deals, for movies, TV shows, commercials, etc. This is where it was in poor taste to release that DVD. While I'm sure Big and 'Pac had their dark sides, their mothers/wives/mistresses/side pieces have for the most part sung their praises, which has allowed to gravy train to keep rolling. By painting Pun as a vicious wife-beater on that DVD and again on E!'s special on hip-hop wives, mainstream media will never use his music for anything of consequence because of the negative connotation he has to a lot of people. The 700-pound Spanish dude who smashed his wife's face with a gun butt is a lot less appealing than say, the charismatic thug with the Napoleon complex or the less fat Brooklyn rhyme slinger with radio hits for days. Big L is probably more positively remembered by mainstream audiences at this stage than Pun is.
Let us not forget that Pun had maybe 2 or 3 legitimate crossover hits by the time he passed. And only one that any casual fan of rap will remember. Long story short, get a job, Liza Rios. Your time to cash in would have been not taking two quick checks to paint him as an abusive animal. Although I'm far from one of Fat Joe's most enthusiastic supporters, the man has a point here. After someone lets hundreds of thousands run through their hands with nothing to show for it, why would you continue to give this person money? I feel for the children here, but if their mother is this financially irresponsible, short of moving them into your own home, there is not much that can be done to help them here, as their primary caretaker is too self-absorbed to realize what she has done to them by refusing to move on from the idea that Pun's music should have been enough to ensure her a lifetime of laziness.