Tupac Assassination: Director’s Cuts

In his brief twenty-five years of life with us, Tupac Amaru Shakur touched millions of hearts.  His rebellious nature and innate passion were voiced through various platforms including both music and film.  On one of the busiest strips in the country, on September 7, 1996, Pac was suddenly gunned down in Las Vegas.  Succumbing to […]

In his brief twenty-five years of life with us, Tupac Amaru Shakur touched millions of hearts.  His rebellious nature and innate passion were voiced through various platforms including both music and film.  On one of the busiest strips in the country, on September 7, 1996, Pac was suddenly gunned down in Las Vegas.  Succumbing to his injuries a week later, from jump his death has been surrounded in mystery as the case still remains unsolved.  Pac’s former bodyguard Frank Alexander has kept the legacy going through projects (Before I Wake, Got Your Back) offering an intimate look into the personal life of the fallen legend.  Now more than a decade after Pac’s murder, Alexander tries to piece together what actually went down that night of the Mike Tyson vs. Bruce Seldon fight.  Tupac Assassination presents evidence previously unknown to the public, exposing holes in the LVPD’s follow up and talking to key witnesses never interviewed by police. AllHipHop.com gets the facts straight with the documentary’s two producers Frank Alexander and RJ Bond.AllHipHop.com: The movie was originally called Tupac Revelations.  Why the change to Tupac Assassination?RJ Bond: The title has actually gone through a series of changes.  The Tupac foundation is actually coming out with a project called Tupac Evolutions; it’s one of the records they are coming out with.  That was [our] first title.  As we developed the piece and moved along we changed it to Tupac Revelations just because we felt it was more appropriate because of the subject matter.  Finally in the last month we started looking at the piece as a whole and we had some discussions with the Shakur estate on what we were going to call the movie.  We basically came to a mutual consensus that Tupac Assassination really defines what the movie is really is about.AllHipHop.com: There have been a couple attempts of piecing together what happened with Pac’s murder, why is this documentary going to be any different?RJ Bond: None of the other documentaries unfortunately have any kind of people that are witnesses to what happened with the exception of Frank.  You have to look at more than one source that was there to put it into perspective and that’s what has been really been missing from a lot of these documentaries.  They are headed by book writers, journalists, and movie makers who are third parties.  They don’t have the first hand witness account of exactly what happened.  Frank really touched on that on Before I Wake.  What we started doing for this piece is that we started interviewing people and we happen to find out that several people weren’t interviewed by the police.  Where we segregate ourselves from the rest of the crowd is that we got a lot of people who were there that helped us open up a lot of doors.  Frank Alexander: There were other bodyguards who were with Tupac in New York at the MTV Awards the week prior leading up to him being shot.  There were three other bodyguards with him and I was on vacation that particular week and the police didn’t even interview them.  They didn’t go back that far to see who was with him the events that had taken place in New York with other rappers and stuff that happened on the radio.  Some of the fuel of the fire could have came from New York that they didn’t look into.  The body guards witnessed some of the events back there that were never talked to.  We dug deeper and interviewed these people.  AllHipHop.com: Why did you approach it in a court drama setting?RJ Bond: Well it lent itself to it.  This was the first time that it has been proven that the police have not done their job.  We have to take that as news, the information that was provided by people that have never been interviewed.  We see it more like a reporter weighing out the facts and providing guidance by the experts in those fields.  We leave it up to the viewer to be the judge whether or not this should or could go further.  AllHipHop.com: How do you screen the people you guys interviewed to be as legit?Frank Alexander: How we know the witnesses that we talked to are credible, I personally know everyone one of them.  They were never interviewed by the police.  This is not a documentary on Tupac’s life, this is a documentary on who killed Tupac.  AllHipHop.com: Do you guys think you might be a couple of years late with this film as we have a new generation of Hip-Hop fans that care more about the newest dance moves that are not too familiar with Pac’s work?Frank Alexander: It’s not so much that the people were not around that time because of their age then versus today.  What we are really concerned about is what happened to him and all of those people that were around at the time; the rappers and the fans.  Obviously there were thirty three million albums sold, that’s a lot of fans.  There is still no closure to his death and people want that.  We are trying to show some closure.AllHipHop.com: What in your mind do you think is the biggest obstacle in getting this case solved?RJ Bond: We can’t assume that the Las Vegas police are not doing anything because we haven’t seen anything.  I think that’s a bad assumption to make.  What we can say is that we haven’t seen any results.  I think they raised the bar so high to convict someone for a murder because it was to be proven without a reasonable doubt.  The police have told us personally that we only have one chance to catch our man because of double jeopardy, so it better be right the first time.  I think people would like to see any type of justice, whether it be a grand jury, or conspiracy charges.  At some point you have to take a look at what is available to you to be able to charge people with based on what you have versus what you don’t have.  AllHipHop.com: Will your movie bring this case to be being finally closed?RJ Bond: You should ask Cathy Scott about that.  She is the reporter who has been covering the murder case from the very beginning.  We actually interviewed her for the piece and we actually showed her a final copy of the movie and in an interview she did on her own separately from us she said that the case is closed. Frank Alexander: Keep in mind we are not saying the case is closed but we are saying that was her opinion after watching our movie.AllHipHop.com: Where does Afeni Shakur stand with the conclusion you draw to at the end of the film?Frank Alexander: Every project I have done about Tupac I have done with the blessings of Afeni because she knows I love her son and I care for her son.  She knows I would never put anything out that’s going disgrace Tupac.  I don’t like how things when down when he passed and that’s why we are doing this project.  I know she is aware of it.  If you are asking me if she has seen it, I would say she has not.   AllHipHop.com: What are some of the events that actually happened concerning the case versus things that are speculated that you discuss in the film?RJ Bond: I’ll give you a good example. Most people believe that Suge Knight had some ownership in Club 662.  Suge did not own that club.  He was looking to buy the club, it was owned by a business woman in Las Vegas.  AllHipHop.com: A lot of individuals speculate that Suge is the main player in this homicide as he owed Tupac millions in royalties.  Additionally, it has been noted that Tupac was about to leave Deathrow Records.  How plausible to you guys is that rationale?RJ Bond: We plead the fifth on that.  AllHipHop.com: What is your comment on the alleged conversation where Russell Poole says Snoop had a conversation with an unnamed police officer saying the following:Officer:  I think I know who killed Tupac.Snoop: I do too.  The guy who was seated next to him.Officer: Suge Knight?Snoop: Yes.RJ Bond: We can’t speak for Snoop.  If we had an interview with Snoop we could have gone into that but we really can’t say whether that is a fact or not.  AllHipHop.com: Frank, before the shooting of Pac the infamous jumping of Crip Orlando Anderson happens inside the Casino.  Where you present for that?  Frank Alexander:  Yes I was.  Someone whispered into Tupac’s ear and he took off running.  He ran over to Orlando Anderson and swung on him and Orlando swung back.  The rest of the entourage goes over there and I’m pulling Tupac out of it.  I had him up against the wall.  My job was to stop him from catching cases and to protect him.  AllHipHop.com: Did you grow suspicious when they asked you to falsify that Orlando attempted to snatch Pac’s pendant the night before?Frank Alexander:  Something of that nature did come up.  It was said that Orlando Anderson tried to snatch Tupac’s chain, which wasn’t true.  It was Orlando and Travon [Lane] who got into that fight at the Lakewood mall and the chain was taken there.AllHipHop.com: Frank Alexander, allegedly you were the only body guard appointed to Pac the night of his death.  Frank Alexander: Before the fight no, after the fight yes.  AllHipHop.com: Did you find that strange?Frank Alexander: Absolutely.  It was strange period that I ended up being the only security for him and Suge.  Normally Suge’s security was the head of the security firm.  It was twenty three of us total, so there should have been more security.  AllHipHop.com: Is it true you were instructed not to carry any weapons on you?  Frank Alexander: Yes.  We were instructed that earlier.  AllHipHop.com: Was Pac aware of those orders?Frank Alexander: No, that was something that had taken place earlier that day.  It was a meeting.AllHipHop.com: Who instructed you at the meeting not to carry any firearms?Frank Alexander:I will have to plead the fifth on that because it wasn’t just me.  The question is making it seem like it was just me.  It was a security meeting with everyone.AllHipHop.com: Another rumor is that Tupac was instructed before the left the casino to take off his bulletproof vest?Frank Alexander: Tupac barely wore a bulletproof vest. He was not instructed to take off a vest.  RJ Bond:  Brent Becker [lead homicide detective] does comment in the movie saying that was something the police believed.AllHipHop.com: After Tupac was killed there were over twenty shootings over a ten day period in Compton.  Does the documentary touch on that?  What do you attribute that to?RJ Bond: Yes, we go into detail on that but that is all we can say for now.  AllHipHop.com: It is rumored that Kadafi who was in the group the Outlawz saw everything and vowed to testify but he was killed two months later.  Does that have any connection to what you guys present in the film?RJ Bond: The Vegas police have made two statements regarding Kadafi.  The first one is that he can identify the shooter and there is what Brent Becker said.  That Kadafi never said that and he could only identify the driver and not the shooter.  We touch on that briefly.  AllHipHop.com: There has been one conspiracy theory floating around in the urban neighborhoods that the government was behind the murder of Tupac and B.I.G.  From your perspective is there any truth to that?RJ Bond: I’ve come across that several times in my research that there are people that believe that but they are probably the same ones who see the black helicopters flying around.  We talk a little about government but ultimately that’s not where we go with this film.  AllHipHop.com: In closing what’s next for you guys?RJ Bond: We are just going to sit back and see what everyone’s reaction will be about the film.  Frank Alexander: One of the things we kind of end our interviews with is a saying by Martin Luther King.  “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” And Tupac’s death to me it matters.  I’m not going to be silent about it.