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Following the news that Tupac’s former bodyguard
Frank Alexander has died, here is an archive
interview in which he revealed who he thinks was
the killer (and explains why he wasn’t to blame).
How are you doing Frank?
Just riding my horse, man. Just hanging out and
chasing those cowgirls.
How did you come to be Tupac’s personal
bodyguard in the first place?
I spent 11 years in the Marines and trained to
become a world-class bodybuilding champion. I
was working as a prison officer when I got a cal
from a friend of mine, asking me if I wanted to
work security for Death Row Records, owned by the
man Las Vegas police believed to be the New
Prince of Darkness, Marion ‘Suge’ Knight.
We heard they hooked you up with Snoop and the
Dog Pound, and after your quick thinking saved
them from being shot in New York, Tupac asked
you to work for him.
I was 5 foot 11inches and almost 20 stone. I knew
my size was a factor or Tupac. He liked having a
big-ass nigga on his side. They used to call me
‘Big Frank’. Tupac also liked me cos I was the only
one that could keep up with him. He was like the
Energiser Bunny; he was a workaholic. Plus he
loved to drive fast and crazy. He used to try to
shake his security, but I was the only one who
managed to stick with him. Tupac was a lot of fun.
We had a blast.
How much did you get paid?
About $300 a day, but there were other perks.
Like candy – Tupac’s code name for weed. Pac
smoked weed 24/7. When he first got out of bed
every morning, he rolled a Philly Blunt. Tupac
taught me how to make one. You basically take a
cigar, slice it up in the middle, take out the tobacco
and replace it with weed. The shits so good, you’ll
never go back. Tupac looked at things like this:
money, first; weed, second; p*ussy, third. That’s
saying a lot, because he really loved women.
So Pac wasn’t exactly training for priesthood?
I couldn’t count the number of hoochies Pac slept
with while I was working with him. But it would
have to be in three digits. Women threw themselves
at Pac and he wasn’t dodging – including
Madonna; Faith Evans (Biggie Small’s wife); OJ
Simpson’s daughter, Arnelle; and Kidada Jones
(Quincy Jones’ daughter).
You must have met some cool people.
I met a ton of people – like Samuel L Jackson and
Tim Roth. One time, we were invited to Men’s
Fashion Week in Italy and Pac and Versace hit it off
Tupac was pretty close to Mike Tyson, wasn’t he?
Mike hung out with us all the time. He and Tupac
had a lot in common: the bad boy thing. It goes
back to where they came from. I remember one
time on tour, Tupac had Mike come up on stage
and do a song with him. Pac started rappin’ about
Mike and Mike was jumping up and down on the
stage, throwing his hands in the air and screaming
like a bitch, he was so excited.
Tupac didn’t mind a scrap, did he?
Pac wasn’t a big guy: 5 foot 7 inches and 160
pounds, but he loved to fight. It was my job to
neutralise those situations before they got out of
Didn’t he get into a fight on the night he got shot?
That’s right. It was with Orlando Anderson, a Crip
from the South Side. Anderson had previously got
into a scuffle with one of the Death Row guys.
They’d torn up a mall. That was the kick-off for
everything that was to eventually happen.
So what happened with Anderson and Tupac?
On the night of the Tyson/Seldon fight, a friend of
Suge Knights came up to Tupac and whispered that
he had spotted Orlando Anderson in the arena.
Tupac ran over and that’s when they got into it. I
ran over and saw Tupac throw a couple of blows.
Anderson tried to throw one back, but ended up
going down, and that’s when a ton of Death Row
guys jumped on him.
That was the same night Tupac was shot, D’you
think the two events were connected?
Yeah. If you get into a scuffle and you get you butt
whupped, whatcha gonna do? You’re going to tell
your friends, ‘Hey I just got into a fight and guess
who it was with? Tupac!’ And someone’s going to
say, ‘You know what, lets go get some payback.’ I
can see that happen.
What happened next?
After the fight we planned to go to 662, Suge’s
club. We were hanging out in the hotel lobby with
some of the finest hoochy mammas, who were all
angling to get into 662. But first Suge wanted us to
go over to his place so that he could change. When
we left Suge’s we had an entourage… 16 to 20 cars
full of women, friends and groupies. We’d just
turned onto Flamingo Strip and had stopped at the
lights when this white Cadillac just rode up, man.
This black gun stuck out of the back window and
just started blasting the back of Pac’s BMW. All we
saw was the gunsmoke. They blasted into the car
13 to 15 times, emptied the clip, and took off.
But you were with Tupac, right?
No, Pac had asked me to drive Kidada’s car. He
wanted me to drive The Outlaws [Tupac’s posse]
cos they were gonna be drinking and I was the only
one who wasn’t. My gun was in my car, plus the
law of the State of Nevada states that it’s illegal to
carry a weapon.
But as his bodyguard, shouldn’t you have ignored
his request and rode with him anyway?
No. If I’m working for you and you ask me to do
something then my job is to do it, within reason. If
you want to ride with the chairman of your record
company and whatever you’re discussing has
nothing to do with me, you don’t want my ears
there. I’m going to take the keys and drive the car
you asked me to drive.
After the shooting, Suge Knight held you
responsible for Tupac’s death. How did that make
A lot of people thought it was my fault, but I had
very few options. I was asked to ride in Kidada’s
car. I had no weapon and the car had no gas. Had I
been in my car I could have followed the Cadillac
and possibly shot at it. At Death Row they always
said that if anything ever happened then ‘we got
your back. We’re going to take care of you.’ Well,
that turned out not to be true.
In fact, you received death threats from Death
That’s right. They wanted me to testify on Suge’s
behalf over the beating of Orlando Anderson and I
felt I had nothing to do with that. This was after
they had turned their backs on me after the
shooting. I realised they were using me and I didn’t
want to be part of that. One of the bodyguards
called me up and said, ‘Hey, if you don’t testify for
Suge then they want you dead.’ I’m like. ‘Who
does?’ and he goes, ‘Death Row.’
Were you afraid of Suge Knight?
No! I wasn’t scared. I’m not afraid of death, so I’m
not afraid of Suge. He’s in jail now.
Do you speak to anyone from Death Row now?
No, I don’t.
What made you write your book Got Your Back?
I was reading all the magazines about Tupac’s
death and they were all saying things that weren’t
true. The best source of the truth is from the
horses’s mouth, and I’m the horse!
Do you have any plans to go back to being a
Its funny you should ask that, cos a friend of mine
who bodyguards for Rakim and Whodini has been
calling me trying to get me to work with him.
What did you say?
No. it’s not something I’m ready to do. I have a
daughter and another career now.
There’s a line at the end of Goodfellas when Henry
Hill has been given a new identity in suburbia by
the Witness Protection Agency. He says. ‘That’s
the hardest part. Today everything is different.
There’s no action. I have to wait around like
everyone else… I’m an average nobody. I got to live
the rest of my life like a schnook.’ Can you
empathise with that?
Absolutely. Ab-ser-lute-ly! I’ve lived the life of a
rap star. I got used to five-star restaurants, five-
star hotels… the best of the best, man. I had all
that fun and then I had to go back to being an
average Joe who has to worry about paying the
bills. If I got the opportunity to do it again
tomorrow I’d have to do a whole lot of thinking.
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