2Soon: The implications of the 2Pac hologram
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 00:04
Sunday night I could not sleep at all. In a half awake/half asleep state, I did the usual and checked my Twitter timeline to see what the world was up to. All over my feed were tweets reading, “Tupac Hologram Video.” I thought the world had gone crazy. Hours later, I found out what all the fuss was about. On Sunday at California’s Coachella Music Festival, a hologram of rapper 2Pac took the stage with rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg for what I consider a performance that will go down in history as one of the greatest in live music. The spectacle of the show itself was incredible. My reaction when first watching the footage of 2Pac’s hologram was my jaw dropping at the incredible spectacle and realism of 2Pac’s physical characteristics. But with some days to ponder, the impact of the performance has left me with some negative feelings.
If you know me, and you should, you know that I am a huge hip-hop fan. Particularly, I would say I’m a West Coast rap fan, but having this opportunity to write an article on the greatest rapper of all time has totally refueled my “Ambitionz Az A Writa.” However, it’s a shame that I’m going to have to argue that the implications of the performance lead to a slippery slope for how we as culture view and treat death.
Let’s look at the obvious here: If we can hologram 2Pac, who can’t we hologram? Why stop at 2Pac? We can’t have a Biggie Smalls hologram join the stage with Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, or Diddy? Or maybe even bring back John Lennon to perform “Imagine?” Where do we draw the line in paying homage to the dead? I have to wonder how the Shakur family felt seeing a hologram of their slain son on stage. Not only was 2Pac murdered, but it was an unsolved murder. With all of the unanswered questions and the mysteries surrounding his case, I don’t feel it would bring me any more peace in dealing with the case itself. During one part of the performance, 2Pac’s voice was manipulated to ask the crowd, “What is up, Coachella?” When did it become okay to think that we could put words in a dead man’s mouth?
It’s not enough that 2Pac came back from the dead for one show. Now, rumor has it that the hip-hop icon may even tour the United States as a hologram. We can pay homage to the dead by listening and sharing the message of 2Pac’s music, but we can’t believe that the dead are to be manipulated for our own consumption. Currently in the hip hop scene, rapper Drake has swept the scene with his song “The Motto,” which stresses the importance of the word “YOLO,” which means, “You only live once.” Now, as usual, the Internet has run crazy with it and maybe inflated the message behind it. However, it does point out the inevitable that death is our final stop. Eerily enough, 2Pac once said, “My only fear of death is coming back reincarnated.” We should continue to pay homage to slain artists with what we feel in our hearts and not what we wish we could see and bring back in front of our eyes.