Martin Lawrence thought he heard a familiar voice right over his shoulder.

“I heard you was running things," the husky, deep voice rang out from behind a corridor. "I see you’re still running your mouth.”

“Man, say what?” Lawrence shot back, looking to see who was talking slick to him.

Just then, The Notorious B.I.G. came walking out, as Lawrence instantly matched the face to the name.

“Biggie Smalls in the house!” Lawrence shrieked. "What’s happenin,’ babay, babay!”

The sequence was part of an episode entitled, “Blow, Baby, Blow” on the comedian’s hit sitcom, Martin, which ran five seasons from 1992-1997. The episode, which had Martin’s wife Gina [played by Tisha Campbell] and her best friend Pam [portrayed by Tichina Arnold] hilariously trying to audition to be Biggie’s background singers, aired on Sept. 23, 1995.

Of course, B.I.G. was tragically murdered in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. With March marking 15 years since the legendary rapper’s death, XXL caught up with Martin Lawrence to reminisce on meeting Biggie, how the guest appearance came about, B.I.G.’s humor and legacy. Life after death. —Mark Lelinwalla How did B.I.G.’s cameo on Martin come about?

Martin Lawrence: The writers came up with it.  They thought it would be a cool show and they asked me if we could get him, would I be open to it? And I said yes. The rest is history.

Did you know B.I.G. before the show?

No, but I was already a big fan of his music.  I would listen to his tracks when I would drive to work.

How big of a Biggie fan were you? What’s your favorite song of his?

I was a B.I.G. fan. I like all of his stuff. I don’t really have a favorite song. They all are good and each brings different memories to me. And you can still listen to it to this day and it means something.

What do you remember about your interactions with him while shooting the episode?

He was super cool.  He came to my house before and after we shot the episode. We smoked together, laughed and talked about all things life.

Those close to him spoke highly of his sense of humor as a comedian what was his humor like?

He had a real sense of humor. It showed in the episode like he didn’t even have to try. It came really natural to him. He was having fun and you could see in the episode it came off that way. He wasn’t tripping at all. He just came in and did his thing and he was good.  We had a great time.

Of course, March marks the 15-year anniversary of Biggie’s passing. Fifteen years later, what’s his legacy in your opinion?

His legacy to me is that arguably he is one of the greatest rappers of all time.

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