First Impressions: The 50 Best Album-Opening Songs in Rap History

19. Big Pun "Beware" (1998)

Producer: Juju
Album: Capital Punishment
Label: Terror Squad/Loud Records


"I gave you fair warning / Beware." The opening track on Big Pun's 1998 album Capital Punishment is not only a beginning, but a grand entrance. The album's refrain is beamed in from Prodigy's opening verse on "Shook Ones," and Pun's commencement song feels like a rumbling rejoinder to that earlier classic, which only came out three years prior but had quickly become the adopted hymn of inner city New York. Because the track is basic in its construction (in 1998 everyone wanted that "Don Corleone Warming his Hands Over a Gas Can Fire" vibe and Juju's beat nails it) "Beware" is primarily a showcase for Pun's Bronx-sharpened lyrical skills: "Sleep with the fish-dips for yapping too loud / What's happening now / Niggas is hard as hell but they Gargamels / Picking on the smallest victim give them heart to kill." —Sam Sweet

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