Coachella 2012: Dr. Dre says Tupac ‘hologram’ a one-off

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Last weekend as the first of two identical weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival drew to a close, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg unveiled a shocking surprise when the pair reincarnated slain West Coast superstar Tupac Shakur onstage in a hologram-like image that rapped and danced along with the two very alive heavyweights.

On Sunday night, people waited anxiously for the moment to happen, again. And for good reason. Following virtual Shakur’s Coachella debut, he (or it) has become an Internet meme.


A Twitter feed created for the creation had garnered more than 34,000 followers looking for snarky, and often distasteful, quips from a person posing as a “hologram” posing as the dead rapper; the term “Tupac hologram” pulled up more than 67.8 million hits on a Google search; and crafty people with a wicked sense of humor and nimble Photoshop skills have placed “Halo-Pac” in a number of pop culture references he didn’t live to see, including “Harry Potter” and “Avatar.” Even a duet with Lana Del Rey has been proposed.

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

The anticipation among festival-goers proved the power of social media. They waited with ‘bated breath for the moment but knew exactly when it would happen, especially as Dre and Snoop didn’t deviate from last Sunday’s showing, including audience banter, outfits and special guests. And although the image — a two-dimensional projection, not actually a hologram — didn’t hold the magnitude of shock it gathered the first time out, the crowd still cheered for Pac as if it hadn’t been teased with the image for the past week.


There were no alterations to 2Pac’s appearance on Sunday night. He still performed only “Hail Mary” and “2 of Americaz Most Wanted” before vanishing into thin air, nor did he make a costume change or wonder why the weather rose to triple digits since his last appearance.

The game-changing moment naturally opened Pandora’s box: Which dead celeb to reincarnate next for our enjoyment — Jimi Hendrix? Kurt Cobain? John Lennon? It also kick-started buzz of a potential stadium tour featuring a cast of hip-hop heavyweights including Eminem, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa, who all made real-life guest appearances during Dre and Snoop’s set, or a smaller tour featuring the two headliners and virtual 2Pac.

Before hitting the stage late Sunday night, Dre squashed all talk of taking Pac’s image on the road when he issued a video message to his fans. He also thanked them for their support and shouted out the names of the companies that helped him bring the technologically advanced vision to life.


“It was strictly for Coachella. Get it right. I want to get rid of all the rumors out there. This was not done for a tour,” Dre said in the short video, which you can watch here. “If a tour happens, we’ll see. This was done strictly for Coachella 2012. Just for you.”

With that put to rest, Dre fans can go back to waiting for “Detox,” which hopefully features a guest verse from one of Americaz Most Wanted “holograms.”


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— Gerrick D. Kennedy