Kanye West has compared himself to everyone from Walt Disney to Steve Jobs to Pablo Picasso. But actor Omar Epps sees in Mr. West the passion of another superstar rapper: Tupac Shakur.
In Myspace’s oral history on the film Juice, Epps compares Tupac’s honesty as the rebellious character Bishop to that of Chi-Town rapper/producer Kanye.
“Pac was just a powerful spirit, man,” says Epps, who played Q in the classic 1992 flick that turns 22 tomorrow (Jan. 17). “I never really spent time with Kanye West, but when I see him I see the same honesty Pac had. A lot of people wouldn’t think that about ’Ye, but his honesty is gangsta. And that’s how Pac was. He was that way from day one when I met him. That’s a magnetic quality.”
Omar Epps adds that he and Pac had an instant chemistry while filming.
“Me, I’m more of a laid-back, quiet person…I’m more of a listener,” he says. “So Pac and I had a good contrast. I would be soaking everything up and he would be talking all the time.”
Epps continues: “I’ve been doing this for 23 years and there is that X factor. People have it. And Pac was one of those guys that had it. When he walked into a room he made you want to say, “Who is that guy?” There’s a energy going on, and Pac knew his truth. He foresaw everything that would happen to him.”
Read the extensive Juice oral history (authored by VIBE contributing editor Keith Murphy) on Myspace. —John Kennedy