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Here’s Why a Green Statue of Liberty Never Made It to Big Pun’s ‘Capital Punishment’ Album Artwork

Loud Records
Loud Records

Big Pun fans will remember that the inlay artwork for his legendary Capital Punishment album includes an image of the rapper clasping his hands on the chest of a woman—painted in gold—posing as the Statue of Liberty. It turns out, the original image was supposed to be of a green, hip-hop Statue of Liberty, but Pun ended up not going that route.

Now, nearly 20 years later, Danny Hastings, who is the man responsible for shooting the cover and other artwork for Pun’s project, has come forth to explain why Pun decided against the original idea. He used an Instagram post including an image of the shot they ended up choosing and the green “statue” to recount the tale.

“HOLD THE PRESSES DANNY!!! NO WAY, THAT AIN’T FLY… Those were the words from PUN after our first “failed” attempt at our Hip Hop statue of liberty. It happens!!!, what are you gonna do When the client aint happy… You re-shoot it. No pasa nada… It’s part of the job,” writes Hastings, who also shot artwork for Nas’ I Am, Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang, and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. 

He continues, “We were really excited we were going to recreate the statue of liberty, with green copper bodypaint. My boy Dave Cortes Sculpted a dope headpiece and tourch..but we went too realistic for PUN… When he saw her he said: She looked like the Jelly Green Giant… You know the one from Del Monte Canned vegetables…. DAMN!!! He killed us… lol.. I just scanned it so you can check it out and laugh a bit… I mean. shit came out kinda horrible. lol.. poor girl.. she was a good sport. after many hours of painting we had to let her go… Bendito.”

For Hastings and Pun, it was just a bump in the road, though, and it eventually led them to the iconic image people are familiar with now.

“But we geared up again.. Pun said let’s make her golden, forget that green realistic paint and I want her super sexy, add a turntable and a mic and We good,” Hastings recalls. “When she put on that golden bikini, All the dudes we were like, YUP… PUN WAS RIGHT!!! I don’t mean to sound sexist, Pero, Real women have curves baby.”

Hastings is proud to have played a role in Pun’s rap history. “That poster was probably in a lot of homes, more than a million to be exact. Pun was the first Latino Rapper to go platinum. I loved working with him, he was full of ideas. It was crazy.”

Check out the Hastings images from the Capital Punishment shoot below.

HOLD THE PRESSES DANNY!!! NO WAY, THAT AIN'T FLY… Those were the words from PUN after our first "failed" attempt at our Hip Hop statue of liberty. It happens!!!, what are you gonna do When the client aint happy… You re-shoot it. No pasa nada… It's part of the job. We were really excited we were going to recreate the statue of liberty, with green copper bodypaint. My boy Dave Cortes Sculpted a dope headpiece and tourch..but we went too realistic for PUN… When he saw her he said: She looked like the Jelly Green Giant… You know the one from Del Monte Canned vegetables…. DAMN!!! He killed us… lol.. I just scanned it so you can check it out and laugh a bit… I mean. shit came out kinda horrible. lol.. poor girl.. she was a good sport. after many hours of painting we had to let her go… Bendito. I was working closely with Olla Kudu on this one. Remember that shit @kokujin2000 ? But we geared up again.. Pun said let's make her golden, forget that green realistic paint and I want her super sexy, add a turntable and a mic and We good. When she put on that golden bikini, All the dudes we were like, YUP… PUN WAS RIGHT!!! I don't mean to sound sexist, Pero, Real women have curves baby. That poster was probably in a lot of homes, more than a million to be exact. Pun was the first Latino Rapper to go platinum. I loved working with him, he was full of ideas. It was crazy. I just re-degitzed the negative and recreated the poster for yall. who had this poster in their crib? REMEMBER EXHIBIT IN LA NEXT WEEK SEPT 8/9/10 @artshare_la @paperplanesla "RUFF, RUGGED AND RAW" @hiphopphotomuseum #pun #bigpun #bigpunisher #terrorsquad #fatjoe #90shiphop #realhiphop #hiphopgoldenera #hiphop #greatestofalltimes #rapgod #hypebeast #beastmode #hiphopclassic #urbanandstreet #goldeneraofhihop

A post shared by Danny Hastings (@dannyhastings) on

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