September 10, 2011

Before I Wake

The 13th of September is the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's death.  So it seems like a good time to share this DVD with you all and reminisce on the brilliance that was Tupac.  I know that many people have allowed time, the media and some of the posthumous (and thugged out) releases to taint their memories of Tupac, but let's not forget that before all the hype and the demise, he was a brilliant revolutionary with pioneering lyrics and concepts.

In the wake of both Tupac and Biggie's death's, I took the time to watch many of the video releases that the market was flooded with.  Unfortunately, most of these were torturous as they contained very little in the way of interesting footage or new information.  Mostly, they were interviews with a bunch of wannabe gang-bangers with tenuous links to Tupac (like they once bumped into Tupac in a liquor store, or they lived on the same road as him when he was growing up etc).

As a result of these diabolical releases, I didn't explore any of the later material that was published, until much more recently.  So when I stumbled across this DVD, I didn't hold out much hope, but I was wrong.  This particular documentary has an interesting twist, it's Tupac's story told by one of his long time personal body guards Frank Alexander (Tupac had 5 bodyguards).  It also contains genuine unseen and rare footage that really adds to the overall presentation.  And I'm not talking about the usual scam of including a 30 second clip of Tupac on stage, recorded on a mobile phone that allows the DVD to be labelled with 'Exclusive footage', uh uh, this is proper stuff.

Some of the footage is from Frank Alexander's own personal library, other clips appear to be the edited out sections from the interviews that we've all seen previously.  These additional/extended clips add interesting new insights into Tupac's life and character.  But the bulk of the footage in this documentary is the compelling interview with Frank Alexander, supported by reconstructions, a visit to the crime scene and accounts from one of the investigating homicide detectives and a reporter who was at the scene. 

Frank Alexander comes across as a very sincere person without any ulterior motives.  He was clearly a friend of Tupac's as well as his bodyguard and he, like the rest of us, could sense that something didn't add up about the whole event.  Frank gives his own detailed account of the day leading up to the shooting, he was in the car behind Suge Knight's and saw the shooting take place, and then most interestingly he details the events that unfolded over the next few days before Tupac died almost a week later.  This is a first hand, eye witness account which I've not previously seen anywhere else.

For conspiracy theorists, Frank's account might leave you with more questions than answers.  Why was security so lax that evening?  Why did Suge drive the particular route that he did?  Why was the crime not secured by the police?  Why were eyewitnesses not identified and questoned?  Why did it take so long for detectives to interview anyone?  The list goes on. 
This information really starts to help the viewer understand why nobody was ever charged or named as a suspect and why there is such a lack of meaningful evidence.

However, what Frank's account does give, is a believable insight into aspects of the incident that haven't (to my knowledge) been previously discussed or explored.  He appears to stick to the facts and avoids filling in the gaps or speculating on what might have happened.  This helps to give credence to his version of events.

Overall, it's an interesting documentary and Frank Alexander is a decent orator.  Lasting just over an hour and half, it doesn't feel padded out and neither does it drag.  So if you're only going to pick one posthumous  Tupac video to watch, I'd strongly recommend this one over the many others that are out there.

RIP - Tupac Shakur (13th Sept 1996)

Download 700mb

Mike Check

No comments:

Post a Comment