Tupac Shakur left a lasting legacy on this planet when he passed. The rapper has become known as so much more over the years as his famous friends have continued to tell stories that open up our perspective on the gangster rapper with a heart of gold. No one has possibly given a more unique take on Tupac than his friend, comedian Marlon Wayans. Wayans shared some very fond memories of Pac that some found hilarious. Let’s see what Marlon and some of Pac’s other famous friends have had to say about him over the years.
While it was obvious during his lifetime that Tupac was a special artist, he never got to reach his full potential. The rapper was becoming renowned for his acting skills, intelligence, and desire to really lead his generation. At the same time, he was still well respected in the hoods and loved by the ladies. It’s rumored that Pac had a fling with Madonna and that his chemistry with Janet Jackson on Poetic Justice was so apparent that the then-married pop star changed her number immediately after filming wrapped to put some distance between them.
No one has done more to shift the narrative around who Tupac Shakur was than Jada Pinkett Smith. Jada and Tupac were childhood friends with a powerful bond they carried into adulthood. As both their stars rose, the two would head down different paths, but the love was always there. Pac would go to jail at one point, and while there, he sent letters to Jada. She always kept them private but decided to share one in 2021 for his birthday. The poem was an earlier version of the song “Lost Souls,” and Jada believed he wrote it while incarcerated on Riker’s Island.
Jada also shared Pac’s impact on her family. Husband Will Smith admitted to being deeply insecure about Pac and Jada’s friendship when he first started dating her. Daughter Willow confessed to writing a letter to Pac, asking him to come back and make her mother happy again when she was just a kid.
Another young woman impacted by Tupac was Keyshia Cole. The R&B vocalist was signed to Death Row records at a very young age and was being developed by label head Suge Knight. She and Tupac developed a bond as he would also mentor the young singer and became very close with her. Keyshia was with Tupac the night he was gunned down in Vegas and confessed that he told her his plans to leave Death Row and sign with Quincy Jones. He tried to convince Keyshia to come too, but this never came to pass.
While the ladies of Pac’s life tried to show off his softer, more caring side, friends like Marlon Wayans really wished people got to know how funny and smart Tupac was as well. Marlon says he met Tupac on the set of Juice while visiting his best friend, Omar Epps. The trio hit it off well, and Marlon says they all bonded over being “performance arts high school kids from the projects.”
Marlon sympathized with Pac because he felt like he was not allowed to put as much distance from himself and the gangster persona as Marlon and Omar could. Despite this, Marlon remembers Pac being a real person and more dynamic than just his image. He called him a “callus thug” and an artist and joked that Pac would still shoot you in the face, but then he would make a painting with the blood.
Marlon and Pac used to play pranks on Omar Epps, who famously sleeps with his eyes open. This would include putting playing cards in his hands, applying lipstick to his face, and placing wigs on his head. The guys would get a kick out of it. Marlon joked that Tupac was the “Palmolive” thug because he had the softest hands. He also recalls Tupac having nice eyelashes. “I told him he had eyelashes like Snuffleupagus,” Marlon jokes as he mimicked lashes over his face with his hands.
Overall, Marlon Wayans feels like sometimes people do not want to acknowledge that side of Tupac and even admits that he has gotten some push back from fans who say he’s tarnishing Pac’s gangster image when he tells these stories of him.
“Shut up; you don’t know him. He was a friend of mine. You didn’t drop a tear for him like I did. I knew the boy,” he told radio host Big Boy in 2014.