If you’re a Tupac fan then the chance is you’ve seen the video of his performance at Coachella 2012. Maybe you were there live?
This was undoubtedly an awesome special effects event but the outpouring of love for the digitally created performance goes to show just how connected fans still are to him and his message. That’s always been the case though and the power of his message is the reason why youngsters that never grew up with Tupac are still discovering him today and getting hooked.
But with such love for a digital performance the question has to be asked where does the line get drawn? We’ve already seen his lyrics, verse arrangements and music altered over the years. Sometimes for very legitimate reasons, like lack of rights to release original music that he recorded vocals against. Sometimes for arguably understandable reasons – the replacement of original music tracks with updated beats to keep them current. But the fans will often say it is wrong to mess with his verses and the lyrics because they are the raw essence of him that still remains.
Many fans didn’t like the obviously created shout outs on albums like Loyal to the Game and there was a loud movement of fans against what some called the butchering of his vocals on Ghetto Gospel. In the Resurrection movie there was the use of statements he made about the 1994 shooting in reference to the 1996 shooting. Okay, it made for chilling effect – post death comment on his killing but is it ever right to mess with the things Tupac said? Is it fair to use his words out of context or rearrange them to suit what we want him to say?
Does it mess with his overall message? Or has the message become about immortalizing Tupac no matter the cost? Does it matter if his words are twisted or $500,000 spent on recreating him digitally for 5 mins? I guess what I’m asking is what would Tupac do?
If you’re happy with it all then my question for you is where do we stop? This digital Tupac is supposed to be going on tour. Presumably the routine will be expanded, costume changes completed and other effects thrown in. But to make it really interactive, like the shout out to ‘Coachella’, new words and phrases will end up being created that Tupac never said before. This can only lead to one thing in the end.
It won’t be long before someone finds a way to recreate his voice on demand, maybe by sampling all of his vocals ever recorded and uses the magic of technology.
Will we lose the real Tupac? Will new raps be written using a digitally created voice and performed by a digital skin wrapped over a computer wire frame body? It might look and sound like Tupac but what’s behind it and underneath it? Someone else’s rhymes and an actor’s body movements?
Where’s the THUGLIFE, the OUTLAW? And at what real expense are we making him immortal?
If you’ve ever seen the movie SimOne with Al Pacino then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Just watch the below: