An unheard interview with director Marty Thomas speaking about Tupac’s appearance in an Above The Law music video surfaces online.
Posted to YouTube by Real Whirl Podcast, Marty Thomas discusses Tupac’s contribution to Above The Law’s ‘Call It What You Want’ video. Above The Law consisted of four members; Cold 187um, KMG the illustrator, Go Mack and DJ Total K-Oss. Hailing from Pomona, California, they burst on the scene in 1989, signing with Eazy-E‘s Ruthless Records.
Call It What You Want was the second song released from Above The Law’s second album, ‘Black Mafia Life’. Not only did it feature Tupac but also Money B from Digital Underground.
Sadly, Marty Thomas died in 2019, but his contribution to hip hop certainly remains significant. The Californian filmmaker directed a handful of music videos including ‘Call It What You Want’ and ‘Real Muthaf*****’ G’s’.
On ‘Call It What You Want’, Tupac starts off the song with his verse. Marty reveals that for the video, ‘Pac himself came with the idea of shooting in a grimy looking alleyway. He spoke with Tupac’s camp beforehand to get a feel of how the artist wanted the video to look. Surprised, Marty explains that although he wanted to do something extravagant, in contrast Tupac wanted it simple and not flossy.
Filming the video in Hollywood late at night, almost 500 fans turned up at the set enjoying the playback of the music. As a result, police attended, concerned about safety due to the volume of people while Marty added that it stayed drama free.
Just before shooting in the alleyway, Tupac asked Marty what he wanted, to the reply of “be yourself.” As ‘Pac recorded his part in the video, in full view of the camera he pulled out a gun from his tracksuit. Consequently, fearing television channels would blur this out making it look ugly, Marty asked Tupac to shoot a clean version. ‘Pac said jokingly, “you make up your mind, man. You said you want me to be ‘Pac, that’s ‘Pac motherf*****.” Despite Marty’s plea, Tupac showed the gun in every take. This forced him to shift the focus away from it to have the video playable on MTV.
Most noteworthy, it became one of the only occasions that Tupac and Eazy-E worked together on the same project. Furthermore, although on the set together, Marty Thomas witnessed the two music legends interact with each other once or twice.
Finally, he remembers a catering truck that provided cast and crew with food on set. Pulling out a prime rib for Tupac left the hip hop star less than impressed. According to Marty, Tupac thought it wasn’t cooked which prompted Eazy-E to point out that it’s rare and okay to eat. Tupac, not feeling the prime rib said, “I ain’t eating that s***, take me to Fat Burger.”