I love Tupac. I loved him when he was a murderous lunactic in Juice. I loved him when he lived in Marin County (very affluent region of the Bay Area) and still repped Thug Life. I loved him when he refused Janet Jackson’s request for an AIDS test during Poetic Justice. I loved him as a dancer for Digital Underground and I especially loved Tupac when he was shouting that he fucked Biggie’s Bitch in “Hit em Up.” Hologram Tupac? Not so much.
Hologram Pac really freaked me out. As is the case with most technological advances these days, there is a 25% Wow that is so cool how did they do that factor, and a 75% Orwellian, crap my pants want to punch a Software Engineer in their face creepy factor. I reacted the same way when Google recently announced their Glasses Project. “Wow this is so cool…wait….wait no, this is getting creepy…I’m uncomfortable now…and we’re turning it off.” I think a lot of my discomfort came from the fact that Snoop was on stage performing with the hologram.
Despite Hologram Pac rocking Tims and baggy pants (Come on Hologram wardrobe guys, It’s 2012, I think we all wanted to see Pac in skinny jeans and a deep V by now) I was leaning toward the 25%, this is cool factor during his first song when he was solo. Then Snoop slinked on for “2 of Amerika’s Most Wanted” and things got uncomfortable. Snoop meandered thru the duet fine enough, but what the hell was going through his head during that time? Snoop and Pac were very good friends by all accounts, so to have his buddy resurrected in eerily accurate 3-D next to him must have been a real mind fuck.
If I was walking around my neighborhood and a hologram of my dead Labrador Harley appeared next to me, sniffing flowers and pooping everywhere I would freak out and be super uncomfortable. I would curse whichever demon of the underworld brought this spitting image of my old friend back to my side. I certainly wouldn’t be like, “Ahh yeaaaaa Harley’s back! Let’s show ‘em how we do it on the West coast nephew!” I would be angry. I would tear up, and I certainly would have never consented to a hologram version of my dog if someone asked me. Maybe Snoop didn’t have a choice in the matter but I can’t imagine he thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and neither did I.
The rest of the performance I was left to ponder the future of Hip Hop and holograms. First of all, if I was hammered at Coachella and a crazy ass hologram of Tupac appeared on stage, I would have gone NUTS. Now maybe there wasn’t good sound pick up on the video, but the crowd reaction seemed subdued for the most part, which leads me to believe that there is an increasing number of Hip Hop listeners that don’t know Tupac and his music. This makes me sick. I don’t think Hip Hop is dead, and I’m not some curmudgeon of the oldish school that dismisses everything new that comes out just because it has the word “swag” in it, but when Pac is rapping, hologram or not you go NUTS.
We’ve all heard about phoning in performances, but what about hologramming it in? What is to stop artists in the future from recording their sets in some studio or production house and then projecting those performances on stages to audiences around the world? It’s essentially like lip-synching, but with awesome graphics and effects. Would fans pay to see a hologram version of their favorite rapper? A couple more heart attacks and Rick Ross might have to seriously consider this option. I know I wouldn’t pay, but a younger generation might.
My last thought during the show lead me down a dark and twisted path. When this hologram technology becomes available in some app for the Iphone 7, I will use it to play a glorious prank on my roommate. Imagine being fast asleep, snug as a bug under your blankies dreaming the sweetest of dreams. All of a sudden, you are awoken to a hologram of Hitler above your bed addressing a beerhouse full of angry Germans. Oh the possibilities are creepy and endless.