Big Punisher's efforts to promote Capital Punishment, his hit debut album, have resulted in an unexpected vacation for the rapper, with his doctor ordering him to take two weeks off after he started to show signs of exhaustion on the promotional trail.
According to Loud Records publicist Vicki Charles, Big Punisher (a.k.a. 26-year-old Christopher Rios) had been maintaining a busy schedule to promote Capital Punishment, but it was a bit more than the up-and-coming rapper bargained for. "Ever since the single and the album came out, he has not had a day of rest," Charles said, "not a single day off."
Big Punisher's Capital Punishment was released on April 28 and hit #5 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in its first week of release, spurred on by the success of "I'm Not A Player" (Real Audio excerpt) and its remix, "Still Not A Player." The album is currently lodged at #19.
"He's not accustomed to the schedule we've put him on," Charles said, "so the doctor has ordered him to rest for two weeks."
Charles also said it wasn't unusual for artists to be worn down by the grueling duties of promoting their albums, noting that "we've had to give members of the Wu-Tang [Clan] a month off after a promotional tour."
The first public indication that Big Punisher was suffering from exhaustion came when he canceled an appearance at "KMEL's Raise The Roof Jam," which was scheduled to take place May 29 at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Also scheduled to perform at that show were Miami-based legend Luke (former leader of Two Live Crew) as its headliner, along with rappers WC and Link.
Representatives for Big Punisher sent word the day before the show that he would not be able to perform due to health problems, according to KMEL-FM program director Joey Arbagey. "They said that he fainted and that he was having a problem with his heart," said Arbagey. "They also said he was on a strict diet."
Without too much hesitation, Arbagey canceled the show. "I don't need 25 people telling me they're upset because Big Pun wasn't at the concert," Arbagey said. "When you have the #1 song on the radio, it isn't too difficult to figure out who those people would be there to see."
Charles denied that Big Punisher had fainted but acknowledged that he's recuperating. "The doctor ordered him to rest for two weeks," Charles said. "I believe that period of time started on June 1."
According to his own press materials, Big Punisher weighs in at 400 pounds. The National Institute of Health reports that being overweight can put a person at risk for diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses.
In an interview with SonicNet Music News on May 20, Big Punisher's speech sounded winded and somewhat rambling, but his spirits seemed up. Asked why he hadn't gone the route of other rappers of considerable size (such as Heavy D or the Fat Boys) and focused much of his lyrics on his girth, Big Punisher seemed to dissociate his rapping skills from his waistline. "I just write about my life," he said.
"I'm glad that so many people recognize me now, you know what I'm sayin'," Big Pun said. "But I'm a rapper. People don't like me because of this or that; they like me because I can flow."