This week will mark the final studio release for one revered rapper and the first for a rapper who hopes she can achieve equal notoriety.
Big Punisher's Yeeeah Baby, which hits stores Tuesday, is the second and final album from the rapper, who weighed 698 pounds when he died Feb. 7 in White Plains, N.Y.
Big Pun's friends and those who worked on the album said it builds on the humor and the lyrical ability that helped him gain an audience with Capital Punishment (1998). That album, buoyed by the hit "Still Not a Player" (RealAudio excerpt), made the Bronx, N.Y., native of Puerto Rican descent the first Latino rapper with a platinum record.
"He was the closest thing to being a brother to me than my mother could have actually produced herself. I don't know how to explain it," said Fat Joe, Big Pun's mentor.
"I was definitely spoiled because I stood under his shadow a lot," said Soundboy, who engineered most of the record. "You know when they say you don't appreciate something until you lose it? I lost a great friend."
Yeeeah Baby's "It's So Hard" has become a staple on hip-hop radio and in clubs. Other titles on the album include "Laughing at You" and "Leather Face." Fat Joe and Drag-On make guest appearances.
Rah Digga, the only woman in Busta Rhymes' Flipmode Squad, will release her brashly titled solo album, Dirty Harriet.
The Newark, N.J., native offers bold, fierce and raw lyrics throughout the album, especially on "Do the Ladies Run This" and "What They Call Me."
While female rappers Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim engage in frank sexual talk and calls for sexual independence, Rah Digga said last month her focus was on beating male rappers at their own game by outrhyming them on the mic. Her hero, she said, is champion '80s battle-rapper MC Lyte.
"That's the best way to interpret it to people now who may or may not understand Rah Digga and what I represent," she said. "I just sum it up by saying, 'I'm just this female who likes to spit raw rhymes in a manner such as MC Lyte back in the day. ' "
Dirty Harriet's first single is "The Imperial," a duet with Busta Rhymes, which samples Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie." Rah Digga originally named the album Harriet Thugman but decided that was over-the-top.
Big Pun actually will arrive on store shelves twice Tuesday. He also is featured on Louder Than Ever Vol. 1. The album is a compilation of previously released songs from artists signed to Loud Records, including members of the Wu-Tang Clan and the duo Dead Prez. Pun's duet with Noreaga, "You Came Up," is the lead track. Krayzie Bone's "Paper" and Raekwon's "Live From NY" also make the cut.