Tale of the Tape | Big Pun's "Glamour Life" ft. Fat Joe, Cuban Link, Triple Seis, and Armageddon
We’re revisiting this track from the late Big Pun’s debut album, ‘Capital Punishment.’
In hip hop, fans and critics often marvel at and put a premium on the supreme soloists or groups who can craft classic songs and bodies of work while remaining the central figure. However, the most electric moments in the culture occur when multiple emcees collaborate on a track with the sole purpose of asserting themselves as the most lyrically gifted by delivering an epic rhyme spill that outclasses the others. Throughout the years, the songs — which are generally referred to as “posse-cuts” — have become some of the most memorable in the genre’s history, as rap’s most legendary stars team up on wax and bringing the most rabid of rap fans’ fantasies to reality.
In celebration of these historic songs and what they mean to the culture, REVOLT Presents: Tale of the Tape, our series in which we break down the greatest posse cuts of all-time and rank the verses from worst to first.
In our latest installment of the series, we’ll be revisiting “Glamour Life,” a song from late rap icon Big Pun, who came out of the Bronx and took the rap game by storm during the latter half of the ’90s. First rapping under the name Big Moon Dawg as a member of the Full-A-Clips crew, Pun caught the attention of fellow Bronx native Fat Joe, who the rapper took under his wing. Putting rap fans on notice with a list of standout guest appearances, Pun’s buzz reached a crescendo with the release of his own solo single “I’m Not a Player” and “Still Not a Player.”
In 1998, Pun released his debut album, Capital Punishment, which minted him as a superstar and earned him the distinction of being the first solo Latin rapper to reach platinum status. In addition to hits “You Came Up” and Twinz (Deep Cover ’98), Capital Punishment was acclaimed for its murderers row of quality material. One song that stood out from the pack was “Glamour Life,” a track that saw Pun’s Terror Squad brethren forming like Voltron over production by L.E.S. In a year that was dominated by posse-cut releases; Big Pun, Fat Joe, Cuban Link, Triple Seis and Armageddon stepped up to the plate with one of the best of 1998. It is still regarded as one of the more memorable selections from Big Pun’s Capital Punishment album decades later.
Without further adieu, check out our ranking of the verses on “Glamour Life” below.
5. Big Pun
As the unquestioned star of the Terror Squad collective, Big Pun was used to being front and center. But, he opts to play the back position on this occasion and let his group-mates shine. Making his presence felt with an enthralling hook between each verse, Pun ends the song with a few bars of his own, which are memorable in their own right. However, if you put name recognition aside, the Bronx icon’s performance is bested by his costars. This was a testament to the talent that Terror Squad possessed.
Standout Lyrics: “The glamour life, this life I live is trife as shit/Least my wife and kid got somewhere nice to live/I used to live in the gutter, me and my mother/Now she’s fifty years old, pushing a hummer/The glamour life, hand me a knife I’ll slice and dice/Mini-mize, send them to Christ in the after life/Pass the mic down the line, let them hear it/Let them fear it, send it screaming to the Holy Spirit.”
With a rap name like Armageddon, holding your own when pitted against other artists in a sparring session is paramount to attaining any respect, which the Bronx rep accomplishes with his contribution to this track. The fourth member of TS to lay down a verse, Armageddon gets graphic when describing how the love of money has corrupted young men and women in the inner-city — himself included. Evocative in nature, Armageddon’s rhyme spill borders on poetic and is one of the rapper’s strongest showings to date.
Standout Lyrics: “Money, money, sweet as the smell of magnolia/It gets you dime bitches spitting image of Apollonia/Now how can I go broke, pumping twenties of coke/Plus songs I wrote, milkin’ dumb honies I poke/The young blood sat on the bench in Vant Courtland, slingin’/Singing how he trying to get cash for Jordans/Another cat toss his Beamer to get the insurance.”
3. Triple Seis
Triple Seis makes his first significant appearance on wax with this guest spot, which showcases the rapper’s ability to make a lasting impression, even when matched against his more polished cohorts. Employing a lyrical first step that instantly captures the listeners’ attention, Seis reels off a string of couplets that display his willingness to go to extreme lengths to become financially secure. Delivering his lyrics with an intensity that makes his bars palpable, Triple Seis shines on this selection, but not enough to have him walk away with first place honors.
Standout Lyrics: “Bullets of breeze at light speed/Taking your pretty wife life and sacrificing your seeds/Indeed, we let him bleed for 50 G’s/Ship his body to the states, filled with 50 keys/Please, no remorse for your two face/As I assemble my rifle out the motherfucking suitcase/You about to take who’s place? Not Seis/Your body’ll be laced, and left without a trace.”
2. Fat Joe
The leader and most tenured member of the Terror Squad, Fat Joe’s guidance helped turn Big Pun into one of the greatest MCs of all-time. But, it also elevated his own stature in the rap game. Despite having already proven himself to be a viable and respected rap artist, Pun’s sheer lyrical ability and star-power made some hold Fat Joe in a higher regard than he previously experienced. Unfazed, Fat Joe welcomed the challenge by answering all critics with a string of awe-worthy performances, including this one. Bringing his reign of terror over the L.E.S. produced track, Fat Joe kicks a verse that showcases his dexterous bars.
Standout Lyrics: “My squad’s equipped with an arsenal of ammunition/Hollow tips an’, cop killers with the carved initial in/Accounts in Switzerland for rainy days/Nigga I’m staying paid, you’s a joke, always broke with your lazy ways/Anyway, back to the subject, in the bub-Lex/In the back seat, having rough sex.”
1. Cuban Link
Fat Joe and Big Pun may have been the most recognizable faces in Terror Squad, but the group’s ascent can be credited in large part to the lyrical contributions of Cuban Link. Building off his breakout performance alongside Big Pun on the Beatnuts’ 1997 single “Off the Books,” the TS member was tapped to lead the charge on this posse-cut. Visualizing himself as a wealthy drug merchant who rose to be the King of New York, Cuban Link mixes nifty wordplay with clever quips to clinch first place on one of the criminally underrated tracks of its era.
Standout Lyrics: “Oh yeah, Cuban Link is into getting Benjamins/Cause if doesn’t make dollars, then it doesn’t make sense/I represent, I meant to be the king of New York/Went from living in tenements to a penthouse resort/I’m the Latino, that’ll take you to war like Al Pacino/Even DeNiro know not to gamble in my Casino.”
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