Despite being a hip-hop fan, Tupac’s charm has always eluded me. Not entirely, “California love” and “Do for love” have featured in my Top 25 Most Played lists in the past, but I do think he is a little overrated. But I respect him as an icon, and I respect that he and Biggie’s emergence in the mid-90s represented a giant leap forward for rapping. So his posthumous performance at Coachella, for me, was impressive and amusing for about 35 seconds, then I became disturbed.
This is as far as I got with that youtube video by the way, and then for some reason, instinctively, I felt it better for my own mental health to stop watching. My immediate reactionary stance was “Wow they have taken it way too far now.
This is one step away from attaching strings to his corpse and getting him to crip-walk” but since reading into it, turns out this sort of thing has been happening for a while. When Celine Dion has her Las Vegas residency, she uses digital cadavers as her party trick to ensure that the likes of Elvis’ heart goes on.
After deliberating over how to approach this article, I have come to the conclusion that how sick you find this really depends on how you look at it. One side of the argument is artists have lived on posthumously since recorded music started, and what happened at Coachella is but technology catching up with what people actually want from their deceased musicians. And the initial reaction from Coachella punters was a very positive one.
The other side is that, despite what their official line to the press was (Tupac’s Mother Afeni Shakur labelled herself as “Thrilled”), it must be unsettling for the families of these human beings to witness the image of their departed relative being used to line the pockets of record executives. Guitar hero’s use of Kurt Cobain was another example of this, and as far as I know I’m not related to him, but even I nearly cried watching the pixelated front-man play along to Maroon 5 songs.
From Dr. Dre’s point of view, the brains behind the hologram (the idea to use it rather than the actual technology, I don’t think the Dr. in his name refers to as PHD in computer science!) I can see why it might have seemed like a good idea. He was headlining Coachella and probably felt like he had to mark the occasion with something spectacular and news worthy, which was unarguably achieved. But maybe he could of produced another couple good songs from the so far anti-climactic Detox to get the crowd going, rather than rely on fast-tracking applause by virtually resurrecting his dead friend.