Released: 1998

Features: Joe

“Still Not a Player” by the late, great Big Pun, featuring the velvety vocals of R&B crooner Joe, is an iconic slice of late ’90s hip-hop. This lyrical exploration is essentially a declaration of Pun’s approach to life, love, and success. It’s a clever tug of war between being a player and being a gentleman, with Pun insisting that he ‘just crushes a lot’. It’s about enjoying the trappings of success, but not being consumed by them.

The track’s hook sees Pun and Joe flowing effortlessly together. They’re wrapping their tongues around a playful, yet emphatic mantra, “I don’t wanna be a player no more / I’m not a player, I just crush a lot.” The wordplay here signals a shift from a life of meaningless encounters to one of selective conquests, while still relishing the chase. The usage of “crush” is a playful nod to casual flirtations.

In the first verse, Pun paints a picture of his opulent lifestyle: penthouse suites, in-house beaches, and high-end leases. He’s the epitome of the high-rolling, jet-setting hip-hop star. Yet, amid these trappings of success, you can feel Pun’s loyalty to his ‘kiko from Queens’, and his root origins of wearing PJs and running PA’s (Public Assistance). Here, “kiko” is a term of endearment for a close friend, a homie, while PA’s is a term for government assistance, highlighting their humble beginnings despite the flashing lights.

Big Pun Still Not a Player (feat. Joe) - Radio Version

Going further, Big Pun demonstrates his tongue-in-cheek wordplay, delivering lines like “I’m thick, huh? I’ll rip my – through your hooters” and “you couldn’t measure my – with six rulers” which is a braggadocious nod to his sexual prowess. He then switches gears to emphasize his drive: “I’m all about gettin’ loot/ But I’ll knock that boot if you out to get koofed.” Here, ‘gettin’ loot’ refers to his pursuit of success and wealth, while ‘knock that boot’ is a colloquial reference to sexual encounters.

Pun’s reputation for lyrical dexterity shines in the second verse where he praises inclusivity: “I love ’em Puerto Rican to blackberry molass’ / I don’t discriminate, I regulate every shade of the ass.” Showing that he respects and admires all women, regardless of their background or skin color, Pun also asserts his standards in the same breath: “Long as you show class and pass my test.” He’s a man of discernment, valuing intelligence and character over physical attractiveness alone.

Further demonstrating his deftness with language and sexual innuendo, Pun proclaims: “Round here they call me Big Pun, if you with the big guns / Thick tongue, known to make the chicks.” These lines solidify his repute in the street and in the bedroom, highlight his quick-witted humor and play into his larger-than-life persona.

The chorus and bridge feature the repeated phrase “Boricua, morena”, a celebratory shout-out to Puerto Rican (Boricua) women of a darker complexion (morena). It’s a clear nod to his Puerto Rican heritage and his preference in women, adding an authentic multicultural flavor to the track.

Before closing the track, Big Pun delivers the line “No more rollin’ with an entourage / Unless it’s Pun and the Terror Squad.” Here, he distances himself from the player lifestyle and reaffirms his loyalty to his original crew, the Terror Squad. The mention of “Terror Squad” is not just in reference to his collective, but is also a shout-out to their journey and unity despite the fame and wealth.

Throwing it back to the golden age of hip-hop, “Still Not a Player” is a testament to Big Pun’s unrivaled lyrical acumen, endearing humor, and lifestyle. Despite his untimely passing in 2000, Big Pun lives on through such timeless tracks, reinforcing his status as one of the most influential figures in hip-hop history.