Little Shawn Describes The 1994 Tupac Shooting & Insists He Was Not Involved (Video)
Rapper Little Shawn has an incredible Hip-Hop story. A native of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, the veteran MC-turned-dietician sat with Drink Champs for more than three hours. Over the course of the discussion, the guest (who now goes by Shawn Pen) details the mutual respect he shares with JAY-Z. Shawn recalls his complicated relationship with Eric B., helping Busta Rhymes get a better solo deal when he left Leaders Of The New School, and playing a role in a chain of events that would land AZ on Nas’ Illmatic album.
However, most people may know Shawn’s name from a connection to Tupac Shakur. On November 30, 1994, Pac entered Manhattan’s Quad Studios to record a session with Shawn, who he’d known for some years. Upon entering, Shakur was robbed and shot in the recording studio. Upstairs, Biggie Smalls, Diddy, Uptown Records head Andre Harrell and others were also working. While Shakur survived the five bullet wounds, the event would fracture his relationship with Biggie. It also played a pivotal role in the coastal beef of the mid-1990s.
N.O.R.E., a friend of Shawn’s, brings up the incident multiple times throughout the lengthy conversation. At one point, the guest, who served a five-year prison sentence between 1998 and 2003, admits that he has fought people over making accusations in the past. “I came home on a Tuesday; I had a fight Saturday night. I fought to the door.” At 2:46:00, he adds, “That thing has followed me and it has plagued me forever—all day, forever.” In a rare video interview, Shawn is willing to share his take on what happened, and where things went wrong.
At 14:00, Shawn Pen remembers being with Tupac Shakur during a day in 1993. He recalls riding from Shakur’s posh hotel room in Manhattan to Brooklyn in a BMW. With plans to party that night, Shawn says he did not like the vibe he witnessed between the Interscope Records rapper and the street figures in Brooklyn. Shawn, who opted to stay home, later reveals that it was that evening when Pac would be accused of rape. A year later, around the time of the shooting and robbery, Shakur was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse and sentenced to over a year in prison.
At 1:23:00, N.O.R.E. interrupts Shawn. “For the record, you definitely did not rob Tupac?” the Capone-N-Noreaga co-founder asks. “Of course not,” Shawn responds. “But I’ll give you a funny story,” he continues. N.O.R.E. interjects “But you know the ni**as that robbed Tupac?” “No, no,” Shawn replies.
The guest proceeds to tell a story involving DJ Richie Rich of 3rd Bass. Later known as Daddy Rich, Shawn says that he attended the same high school as the man born Richard Lawson. According to Pen, they were loose associates. However, he proceeds to tell a story of an early 1990s night at a Downtown Manhattan club where Richie Rich had a brief misunderstanding with some very treacherous New York City street figures.
“So we’re in this party, and I’m with the worst that Brooklyn has to offer, and I see Richie Rich and another guy that used to be with 3rd Bass. I like these guys, but I know ’em through Clark [Kent], because of this whole DJ thing. Clark is my guy. I’m always at his house, and I know everybody that’s around him. So I see this dude, and of course they’re already drunk, but I want to keep them away from these [Brooklyn street] guys. I see them, and I’m pouring champagne. They hit my arm, and [caused me to spill] champagne on my man Scooter. Bruh. I look at him, and he’s like, ‘Yo, who is these dudes?’ I look and I’m like, ‘I got it.'” Shawn says he pushed Richie Rich and the other 3rd Bass affiliate away. He says that in trying to isolate the two parties, Rich was being held back by the other man. “I don’t what happened. I go in my pocket, and I [pull] my scalpel out, and I start chasin’ ’em through the party, like, ‘Y’all frontin’ now. Stop.’ Right?”
Shawn continues, “We leave the club. My car, I had a Lexus coupe…we get outside and we walk to the cars, and my sh*t is leanin’.” The rapper made a discovery, “My sh*t is riddled with bullets.” Recalling the pain, he continues, “I already know who did it…I catch him, and I put him in the hospital.” The incident added to some ongoing cases Shawn says he was dealing with in New York. The rapper’s mother said that police were looking for him. “This kid went in the house, got his mother, called the ambulance, went to the hospital, [and] she called the police. [He] picked me out of a lineup.” Shawn says he reached out to Clark Kent to mediate the matter. Clark initiates a three-way call with Shawn and Richie Rich. Shawn recalls reminding the DJ/producer that when his Lexus was shot up, he did not involve the authorities. “‘I’m turning myself in tomorrow with a lawyer; don’t go down there [to testify against me].’ The next day I go down there, turn myself in, [and] this mothaf*cka is behind [one-way glass] and picks me out.” Shawn was released that day. In a strange turn of events, Richie Rich was unlawfully carrying a gun. He’s caught, arrested, and locked up. “So now he has a case.” Shawn recalls using some industry figures to testify as eye-witnesses to the Lexus vandalism. Per the story, Rich was offered to drop his charges.
At this part of the story, Shawn admits to strong-arming the Brooklyn DJ who would later work with Kurious Jorge and appeared in Juice. “The night I caught him, I took everything from him, and I sold it to a guy that gave it to Tupac.” Shawn adds that the famous jewelry portrait of Pac includes a diamond-encrusted bone bracelet. The piece originally came from the 3rd Bass member and Def Jam Records artist.
While speaking of this serious incident, Shawn Pen moves back to Quad Studios. “So as far as robbing anybody, that’s so far beneath me, as a person. See, if I’m gonna rob anybody, at that time, when I was in the trenches, it’s gonna be [face to face], and you’re gonna know who did it, and it’s not gonna be for jewelry.” Tupac was allegedly robbed by masked men. “It’s gonna be for something that’s [called] ‘a no-look back.’ See, if you grab a bag and you can’t live off this bag, don’t do it. Because it’s not enough for you to live comfortably. Don’t do it.”
N.O.R.E. brings up the All Eyez On Me film, which Shawn condemns throughout the interview. “I would never,” responds the guest at the implication that it was him. “See, when that happened, it became such a phenomenon, especially in Brooklyn. I had guys tell me, ‘You know I was there, and I did it.’ I’m like, ‘Really? You were there?’ Listen, I’m the only one that got questioned for the crime—in Andre Harrell’s office, with Andre there,” Shawn says of the Midtown loft.
At 1:39:00, Little Shawn raises his voice at the line of questioning, asserting that he was there, and had to return on December 1 to get his car from a nearby parking lot. Asked where he was as Tupac entered, Shawn says, “I was upstairs already.” He describes being by the reception area with Puffy and Andre. “This is how the whole sh*t came about: Andre was doing New York Undercover; you know that was his television show with Malik Yoba…somebody had a bright idea and said, ‘Yo, look, we’re gonna get Pac to do a song with Shawn.’ I had just signed to Uptown [Records] at the time.”
“When [Tupac] got there, and got off the elevator—even the account that he made, that’s not what happened. He said he got off the elevator and everybody ran from him and they wasn’t [engaging]. That’s not what happened. We ran towards him. We was trying to get him to sit down. He went to sit down, and he popped back up [because he was wounded in his groin area]. He said, ‘Call my mother.’ Detectives got there. The ambulance got there. They put him in the gurney, and they stood him up, and they brought him in the elevator to bring him down. So now everybody else that was still there, the police was like, ‘We know that there’s guns up here; we’re gonna search this floor.'” Shawn says he used that threat and helped a Tupac associate hide his firearm in the piano in a band recording room.
Shawn says that months later, he and Biggie Smalls discussed the issue. “Me and Big—God bless the dead—are in Daddy’s House [Studios], and we’re talkin’ about this. Big is like, ‘Yo, I don’t know why he would think that I had anything to do with that. Tupac came to New York and I told him about hanging out with these guys.’ Tupac went and told these ni**as that Big said that sh*t! So now they [were upset] at Big. See, you don’t hear that sh*t!” N.O.R.E. says he is aware of that point, but feels it is under-publicized.
“So Big was mad that Pac put him on blast. He said, ‘I can’t believe that. I’m the one that went and got his gun for him, out the studio.’ I looked [at him] and said, ‘You got it out the piano?’ He said, ‘How’d you know?’ I said, ”Cause I put it there.’ All of that sh*t that happened afterwards was a ploy, and it was manufactured by Suge Knight.” “If you think about it back then: Tupac got convicted of the rape, he went to jail. That sucka-ni**a Kevin Powell did an interview for VIBE with Tupac, and Tupac said, ‘Thug Life is dead.’ He said, ‘I might be killed after this interview. But I want my truth to be known.’ He’s doing the interview. Suge Knight goes to get him out of jail. When Suge Knight got him out of jail, it’s the first time you heard, ‘Biggie and Puff did it.’ That whole East Coast [vs.] West Coast sh*t was manufactured by Suge. Suge did that [blaming of Puff Daddy and Biggie]. Tupac wasn’t saying that; Tupac was blaming street guys. After Suge came and got him out of jail [it changed].”
N.O.R.E. points out that Shawn had ties to these street guys. Shawn responds, “Yeah, but I wasn’t a street guy. I was a rapper.” Noreaga responds, “I can’t really let you get away with that [answer].” Shawn doubles down. “But you have to. You know why? Because you wouldn’t know that, if you didn’t have a foot in the street. You don’t know a thing about me; what’d you know? It’s the truth!”
At 1:46:00, N.O.R.E. reminds Shawn of rumors that he is one of three people, including Spencer “Scooter” Bowens (who Shawn alluded to in the 3rd Bass story), who have been tied to the robbery without charges. “They say that y’all ni**as robbed Tupac,” the host points out. “Here’s the thing: it’s been 25 years. I was the only one questioned for the crime.” Shawn says the questioning was due to the fact that he was present at the studio and had an open case at the same precinct at that same time. He adds that in Andre Harrell’s presence, investigators told him that they had reason to believe he was jealous of Shakur. Shawn says he responded, “‘That’s your angle? Peace,’ and I walked out.” He looks at N.O.R.E. “Bruh, listen to me: if I take something from you, it’s gonna ruin your life. If I take your chain and your watch, that ain’t gonna ruin your life. So if I ever rob somebody, it won’t be that.”
At 2:30:00, Little Shawn describes meeting Biggie early on. Based on a Brooklyn connection and respect, B.I.G. shouted him out on “Party & Bullsh*t” approximately a year before the Quad incident. The pair also made 1995 video single “Dom Perignon.” At the close of the interview, he describes removing his likeness from 2009’s Notorious.