Tupac Shakur pulled off a hell of a trick at Coachella last Sunday, considering his appearance on stage came nearly 16 years after his death. Thanks to a so-called hologram (actually a projected 2-D image), Tupac's digitally-resurrected likeness was astoundingly lifelike—down to the late rapper's signature tattoos, Timberland boots, jewelry, and movements.
Hologram Tupac performed "Come With Me, Hail Mary" and "Gangsta Party" in front of about 100,000 mind-blown Coachella fans last weekend, and it appears the music festival may have just been the first stop for the ghostly blast from the past. According to reports, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are mulling over the idea of taking Shakur with them on tour.
A long-dead musician brought back to life and made to sing and dance for your entertainment? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the future.
Reps for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg are reportedly hammering out the logistics involved in scheduling a number of Hologram Tupac performances. MTV's Kara Warner says,
The report cites one option would be to tour in stadiums and involve other hip-hop stars like Eminem, 50 Cent, and Wiz Khalifa. Another option is a limited tour that would only feature Dre, Snoop Dogg, and the virtual Tupac in smaller arenas.
Dr. Dre was the mastermind behind the Hologram Tupac concept, and he reportedly got approval from Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, for the Coachella performance. (Dre also made good on his promise to send a donation to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.) I guess we can assume that any future performances will also be sanctioned by Shakur's mother ... but what would Tupac himself have wanted?
There is, of course, no way to know, but it's undeniable that his impeccably rendered, high-definition projection stands to bring in a ton of money. Whatever Hologram Tupac represents to the people who will flock to see him—nostalgia, curiosity, a throwback to the glory days of rap—in reality he's a digital cash cow. He's the perfect musician: he does what he's commanded to do, nothing more, nothing less. No existing footage is needed to put words in his mouth, either.
Like, for instance, his opening shout of "What the f** is up Coachellaaaaaa?" You know Tupac never really said that, because the first Coachella was in 1999.
Here's the video of the Coachella performance (with NSFW language intact):
Oh, and let's not forget that he never ages. Dr. Dre is 47, Snoop is 40, and Hologram Tupac will be 25 years old forever ... and ever ... and ever.
Now that we've seen the stunningly lifelike effect of a long-dead musician brought back from the grave, it makes you wonder how the entertainment world will embrace this technology. As James Montgomery at MTV wrote,
... how long until every hotel in Las Vegas is lining up their own digital Elvis Presleys, Michael Jacksons or John Lennons for full-blown revues? (...) Could the Rolling Stones just swap out living, decrepit Keith for vibrant, slightly-less-decrepit 1965 Keith, or bring back Brian Jones just for the heck of it? Would Vans purchase the rights to Sid Vicious's visage just to put him front-and-center on a summer tour? How long until we watch holo-Bonham do the "Moby Dick" drum solo at a corporate retreat in Aspen?
Indeed. Still, I'm guessing the cane-waving attitude and cries of Hologram musicians, get off my lawn! will be drowned out by thousands upon thousands of thrilled fans. Love him or hate him, something tells me Hologram Tupac and his inevitable offshoots are here to stay.
What do you think about the practice of sending digital creations on tour? Would you buy a ticket for a re-created musician?
Image via YouTube