Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the 1994 film Above The Rim, Marlon Wayans shared stories about seeing both The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur less than an hour before each was shot and killed. Appearing on ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie series hosted by Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, Wayans explained working alongside Tupac in the Jeff Pollack directed movie.
“Me and Pac had a great relationship,” Wayans said. “You know what was great about Pac? Everybody think he was this thug, this gangster. First of all, he was a performance high school kid. Pac was very smart and he was very silly. He was a clown. He wasn’t real gangster but he acted gangster. He was a method actor, so he went a little too far. He was like, ‘Oh, I’ll shoot you!’ Pow! He’d really shoot you. He’d overcommit. I could tell he wasn’t a gangster because he had the softest hands. No gangster has hands [like that], I call him a Palmolive thug. He’d be like, ‘Come here, you want some of this,’ and then he’d give you this gentle hand. It was soft. Then he had these long eyelashes looking like [Mr.] Snuffleupagus, just like, ‘You don’t want none of this. I’m thug!’
Asked what he thinks Tupac might have gone on to accomplish had his life not been cut short, Wayans explained feeling like the rapper was at a turning-point in his life and career around the time of his murder.
“I think he would have matured at this point to be the leader that I think this generation could use in a lot of ways because he was that,” Wayans said, apparently touching on the emcee’s gangster image. “I think Pac was about to come to his come-to-Jesus moment where he actually became the philanthropist and the teacher that he honestly could have and should have been. He was an amazing dude. He was a well-rounded dude. He’s missed. And he was silly. We had a lot of fun. We laughed a lot.”
Marlon Wayans Describes Spending Time With Tupac & Biggie On The Night Of Their Respective Deaths
Near the end of his appearance, Wayans went on to share a story about seeing both Biggie and Tupac separately on the night of their respective deaths.
“I saw Biggie and Pac perform together,” Wayans said. “But before that. Okay, so Pac, the night he died, I saw him. Me and Omar Epps who I went to school with...I was with them. I was with my best friends. So we saw 'Pac standing outside of the Luxor. So we went on over to say what’s up and Suge [Knight] was there. Omar was like, ‘Yo I’m gonna go say what’s up.’ I was like, ‘Hey Pac!’ from far away. I was like, ‘Mmhmm.’ He had all these thugs with him. So we went over, shook his hand, said, ‘What’s up,’ gave him love. We got in a cab, went off. Pac looked at us, and then he went in the car that he wound up getting shot.
“Biggie, I saw at the museum at that party,” he continued. “I went to that party. I saw him 20 minutes before. He goes, ‘Yo, I love your family. I love what ya’ll do man. Yo, you heard the shoutout I gave you in the song?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!’ So, I got to meet him, 20 minutes later, he got shot.
“If you see this shot, there’s a famous shot of Tupac and Biggie," he added. "It’s on Vibe magazine. In the corner—it’s at club Glam Slam downtown L.A.—I’m in the corner just twisting my hair looking at both of them. It was crazy because I saw both of them right before they got shot.”