The annual Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival held at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA is always groundbreaking in every year. The 2012 installment (the second installment of this two weekend festival continues this upcoming weekend) makes no exception. Sunday night headliners, gangsta rap icons Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg brought out some big guns, so revoke the classic golden era of 90’s gangsta rap with guest appearances from 50 Cent, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Kurupt, just to name a few. However, the biggest surprise of all turns out to be a shocking rendition of a holographic resurrection of the murdered rapper Tupac Shakur, whom seems still as relevant now as he was right before his death in 1996.
Upon entrance, using the bells from “Hail Mary” the rapper known as Makeveli emerges in a near prophetic expose, his performance of Hail Mary being quite riveting in itself. Once Snoop Dogg got onstage for the familiar “2 of Amerika’s Most Wanted” Hologram Tupac dishes out the line “Aint Nuthin’ But A Gangsta Party” and the tune becomes a nostalgic party anthem for this epic 90s gangsta rap throwback at Coachella 2012. Apparently Tupac’s ghost “was able to rock a mic better than the real Snoop Dogg”, the holographers used movements used from footage of Tupac’s live shows before his slaying in 1996. The festival crowd and online onlookers has since responded in astonishing numbers since Sunday.
“Holo Pac” became one of the most Googled phrases Monday and social media went a blaze with this news of the “Second Coming” of Tupac Shakur, whom some people believe faked his death in order to escape the spotlight. The name “Makaveli” which was an alias used on his final studio album references Niccolò Machiavelli, a philosopher who writes “a book about someone who fakes his own death to get rid of his enemies.” This is also one of the main reasons why people think Tupac is still alive, much like theories about how Elvis Presley is still alive. The next day on Facebook, the video went viral, being shared by many people and many comments like “Where’s a Biggie hologram?,” “F*** Yolo” and speculation about a whole tour featuring “HoloPac” have been found in news articles and user comments online. An article in Wall Street Journal talked about how Dr Dre spent $100,000 to hire Oscar winning special effects studio “Digital Domain”, whom are the same people who worked on James Cameron’s “Titanic” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” w/ Brad Pitt. Essentially, according the Wall Street Journal, the image was projected onto the stage (from the top of the stage) using a reflective piece of Mylar plastic (on the stage floor), which allowed the performers to walk in front of and behind the image. There is much speculation over whether “Holopac” will arrive at this upcoming weekend’s Coachella weekend 2 event, or if this tour would actually happen. There is even a Twitter account tweeting on behalf of Holgram Tupac, even leaving off from 1996.
Would people really pay for a holographic tour? Is this just a way for an ailing music industry to make money off of dead celebrities that have stood the test of time? Will we see a reunited Doors tour with a holographic Jim Morrison? A Michael Jackson hologram tour? Beatles reunion? Nirvana? The list goes on. Critics have mentioned while the technology was cool for the moment, especially for the timing of Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg’s 90’s gangsta rap throwback concert, however the critics have said that the technology should be used sparingly. This technology is not entirely new, the Gorillaz and Madonna have used hologram performers before at the Grammy’s a few years ago. Like 3D movies in movie theaters, this technology could become tired once people get used to seeing holograms at concerts and eventually grow tired of it. Also, could this be bastardizing a dead musician’s discography, or using their likeliness without their consent? Would it be a violation of copyrights since Tupac hasn’t been dead for 70 years yet? A lot of questions remain about this new technology and it’s potential possibilities and pitfalls.