Is The Tupac Hologram The Future Of Remixing?

The strangest music technology news in a long time has to be the digital reincarnation of Tupac.

The performance that generated the most buzz at this year’s Coachella wasn’t from a rising star, but from a virtual version Tupac Shakur, who’s been dead 16 years.

Thanks to Dr. Dre and visual effects company AV Concepts, the ‘Tupac Hologram’ was able to perform with Snoop Dog at the festival, as shown in the video below.

Here’s what AV Concepts had to say about the Tupac Hologram:

After months of design, engineering, and creative consultation,  AV Concepts delivered a perceived 3-dimensional, life-sized holographic projection of Tupac to perform on stage with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, during the renowned desert festival.

Utilizing the Musion Eyeliner system, the 30′ x 13′ screen was customized by AV Concepts to descend onto the stage in mere seconds between sets of the performance to bring the infamous, deceased singer back to life.

Here’s Holographic Tupac and Snoop Dog in action:

YouTube Preview Image

Seven Reasons To Hate The Tupac Hologram

Looking at this critically, there are a lot of reasons to hate the Tupac Hologram, starting with the appropriation of Tupac’s image, taking a detour by what this says about the sorry state of hip hop and moving on to the fact that it’s not really a hologram.

There are already plans for a stadium tour starring the Tupac Hologram, so you know that a Biggie Hologram can’t be far off. And pretty soon, it’s the East Coast/West Coast Rap War all over again, but with fake holograms.

But The Technology Is Still Kind Of Cool…

While reincarnating Tupac seems crass and unnecessary – the technology is still fascinating and could be really interesting in the hands of creative remixers.

Musicians are already working with vocal synthesizersvirtual musicians and music robots. And concertgoers are already going to shows that combine live musicians with virtual performers. The Tupac Hologram suggests that remixers could soon be remixing performances, rather than just audio.

What do you think of the Tupac Hologram? Is it just crass commercialism, or is there something more interesting there to be explored?


22 thoughts on “Is The Tupac Hologram The Future Of Remixing?

  1. Outlaw Immortal :)
    Too bad they will abuse the technology, but for that moment I thought it was pretty cool because Snoop and Pac performed that song together at club 662 or House of blues back in 95-96.
    So I know it was real special for Snoop to perform with his homie again 16 years later.

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  2. This technology seems like a gimmick that nobody would care about if it weren’t for using it with Tupac.

    For some reason, though, this sort of stuff is huge in Japan. Go figure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  3. Cool technology and all, but kinda sad to see that there’s not (enough) talent in rap these days to warrant a spot at Coachella, instead they decide to bring Tupac back from the dead to rap to a crowd that most likely has no idea about what Tupac stood for nor have the mental capacity to understand the meaning of his lyrics.

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  4. ‘While reincarnating Tupac seems crass and unnecessary” -Why? I don’t see your reason for writing this and you don’t give any explanation. It doesn’t seem crass to me. It’s a Snoop Dogg concert. This company came to him( or to his attention) and he said ‘cool, let me do this song with Tupac then’, it doesn’t seem unnecessary, just the opposite. It’s a concert, Coachella no less, and I think there is a tone to the article that overtly demeans and bemoans hip-hop as a culture.

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    • I think it’s crass because the guy IS DEAD. I hope when I die, even if I turn out to be a legendary hip hop performer, they just leave my image and likeness alone and stop milking it for cash.

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      • Really? I think that writing something called ‘Seven Reasons To Hate The Tupac Hologram’ is crass and unnecessary.
        Especially if two of the reasons given are that a different immensely popular rap superstar or the era( who also coincidentally happens to have been murdered at the height of his fame) “resurrection” would be inevitable. Adding further to my disgust is that you go on to say that, of course, once the second rapper is depicted in this new video medium that there will also start a civil war between the east and
        west coasts of America. Well that’s not exactly how you put it, but the way you wrote it seemed kinda… well, racsist. I changed it because I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you aren’t racsist.

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        • Umm… are you aware of the actual East / West coast “war” in hip-hop?
          It was featured in various magazines and also in some diss songs throughout the 90′s.

          (actually my memory is kind of hazy/sparse cos hiphop had already declined into the everboring laidback non-energetic clothes-brand-owned style that has ruled since Public Enemy dropped out of sight.)
          But do read up on the war thing, LMGTFY: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Coast_%E2%80%93_West_Coast_hip_hop_rivalry

          Racialism abounds in the US, but the post you comment wasn’t exactly that.

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          • Duh, should have added “…as well as here in Europe” – or just dropped the US pointer. Nevermind.

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        • Duke

          Not sure where you got the idea that the post might be racist, since there’s no mention of race in the post at all and we don’t say anything negative about Tupac (the person).

          What we do question in the post is the Tupac Hologram and appropriating the images of dead musicians to make a buck. See our earlier posts on remixing Johnny Cash : http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2008/08/19/remix-johnny-cash-make-him-turn-over-in-his-grave/

          PS: The East Coast/West Coast Rap War was a real thing – sorry if the reference was too old school for some readers!

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  5. I think the whole enterprise stands or fails on whether or not it was a good concert to be at. I guess there’s an issue about the ethics of holographic appropriation of a deceased person i.e. there’s no permission they’re able to give to the use of their quasi-personhood. In this context it seems undeniable that it’s an affectionate celebration of that person but what if the person was being made fun of / being made to ‘do’ things demeaning to their memory? I raise that in connection with the question of the concept as one others might use. As for this one, if it was a great gig then anything or anyone – dead or alive – making it a great gig…

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  6. Of all the people in the world to bring back from the dead… they chose Tupac. Whatever.

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  7. i don’t think it was crass to do this, especially as tupac’s mother signed off on it.

    i think it’s crass when living performers use holographic images for appearances, such as Mariah Carey.

    I don’t consider this a performance so much as a video for performers to interact with. Talking to a preprogrammed image is something that was done in Jurassic Park (Dr John Hammond with Dr John Hammond discussing DNA).

    The moment I witnessed this, I though of it as a tool for “remixers” (or rather, artists), if it was able to be coded live, so that there would some sort of performance aspect to the image. But, that would be truly crass, as it would become just a proxy for art, allowing for whoever can get the rights to somebody’s likeliness to become an artist. Unless of course these were to be sold to be allowed for individual use (super crass), to open up the door to be stolen (i’m thinking of this as software for hardware, like voices for tomtom navigation) which would be un crass (Tupacian in idealism as well) and would allow for equal use by everyone (if the internet exists that long).

    Oh wait, I just remembered the guy that profits from this at the end fo the day is the guy who stopped making music in lieu of hawking bass heavy headphones.

    Crass it is.

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  8. I FEEL AS THOUGH THE COMMENT WAS A LIL RACSIST…. BUT ENOUGH SAID. I LIKED IT I THOUGHT IT WAS AMAZING TO SEE TU PAC PREFORM AGIAN HE WAS A LEGEND SO STOPP HATEN ON HIM. AND I BET IT BROUGHT BACK MANY MEMORIES FOR SNOOP AND THEY SHOULD DO MORE OF THIS KIND OF STUFF BECAUSE ALOT OF FANS WILL PAY TO SEE THEIR FAVORITE RAPPER ETC… BECASUSE HE WAS OBVIOUSLY MISSED

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  9. I’m definitely going for a hologram (a proper one- didn’t Gorillaz do this years ago?) by the time I die, map as much of my memory as possible so it reacts to the crowd if they’re getting hyped, tries harder if they’re not paying attention, maybe kicks shit over and gets drunk.. I bit like how Parappa gets more dancey when your doing well.
    I’d rather be immortalised as a hologram than not..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. I’m sure no one needs suggestions for reasons to hate this..
    I think it’s alright, I was kinda surprised when I saw it on Synthtopia, it was all over Facebook, my girlfriend knew about it, my pal who’s an avid hip hop news merchant told me first. All seems like pretty pro carpet publicity for what’s…just a projection (isn’t it?)

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  11. It’s no more of a money making scheme than any band who want’s to put on a good show for their audience. Snoop got paid the same price he would have for a normal show.

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