When I heard that Tupac Shakur was making an appearance at the Coachella Music Festival, I was sure it was just a gimmick. Yea, Tupac is coming, maybe he’ll also appear with the Easter Bunny, I thought to myself. I had no plans of watching the performance, since I can easily find an abundant supply of Tupac lookalikes at cheap Las Vegas shows.
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After hearing that the performance involved holographic technology, I became intrigued by the possibilities. Then, after being prodded by a friend, I went to YouTube like the rest of the world to see if the show was any good. Like millions of other Tupac Shakur fans, I found myself absolutely floored.
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Tupac is more alive than ever, and the show was simply off the chain. Every move was authentic, and it was spin chilling to see one of the greatest rappers of all time appear to rise from the dead. It was hard for some fans to believe that Tupac died back in 1996, since he was one of the strongest human beings in the public space. He confronted his enemies with unparalleled ferocity, took five bullets in a separate shooting, and even Iron Mike Tyson described Tupac as “absolutely fearless.”
Tupac’s “digital resurrection” was as eery as his actual death. Almost no artist spent more time rapping about death than Pac, and he even wrote lyrics about coming back to life. You might define him to be a Ghetto Jesus Christ: half-thug, half-visionary with a keen awareness of the challenges of his existence that gave him insights that most rappers don’t care to explore.
Pac’s tremendous energy was already communicated by the fact that he released more albums after his death than most artists finish while they are alive. His intensity, passion, and ambition in the studio was reiterated with his every word, gesture and body movement. He was great to us even before he started making great music; for, he was the last Black male hip-hop artist who actually acted like he gave a damn about the plight of Black males at all.
My hat goes off to Dr. Dre, the man who had the vision to pull off this stunt. The most interesting thing about Tupac’s virtual performance is that it was actually Tupac Shakur, not Elvis Presley, Frank Sanatra, or even Michael Jackson. The fact that hip-hop has produced the performance will change the music industry forever. It is truly a tribute to the brilliance of Dr. Dre and those who worked with him to do the impossible.