Tupac Resurrection at Coachella 2012
The stars gathered in the desert this past weekend to celebrate the single most unifying form of art and expression: music. Fans from all walks of life, hip hoppers and party rockers, punks and hipster kids, bare-footed common folk and A-list celebrities, came together in Indio California for three full days of merriment and soul-churning sonic pleasure. Musical acts for the first weekend of the Woodstock-esque music festival included the likes of Radiohead, the Black Keys, Florence + the Machine, Childish Gambino, AWOLNATION, Arctic Monkeys, the return of hardcore punk pioneers The Refused, AVICII, At the Drive-In, and David Guetta with special guest Usher.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the event, however, came during the very last performance of the entire weekend. During a showcase of hip-hop’s heaviest hitters, a set that reunited West Coast rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, another gangster rap ambassador took the stage in an unforeseen appearance that shocked and rocked those fortunate to be in the Coachella crowd that evening: the late, great hip hop legend Tupac Shakur.
Sure he was in full holographic form, but it was nevertheless a touching, albeit haunting, tribute that reminded music fans why he is arguably considered the greatest emcee of all time.
Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2pac, was shot dead in Las Vegas on September 13, 1996 at the young age of 25. Needless to say the Coachella audience of about 100,000 felt chills of every form when the life-like image of the late rapper took the stage to perform his hits “Hail Mary” and “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.”
The smoke and mirrors illusion was made possible by AV Concepts, based right here in San Diego. Nick Smith, President of AV Concepts, spoke to MTV about bringing Tupac’s resurrection to fruition.
“It was [Dr. Dre’s] idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology and make it come to life. You can take their likenesses and voice and take people that haven’t done concerts before or perform music they haven’t sung and digitally recreate it.” -Nick Smith
Along with the aforementioned reunion of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Coachella attendees were also met during this set with appearances by 50-Cent, Warren G, Wiz Khalifa, and the most successful rap artist of all time, Eminem. Despite the all-star cast of hip hop heavyweights, nothing could overshadow the revival of the man who paved the way for many of today’s best lyricists.
“That Pac Hologram haunted me in my sleep. Rest in peace 2pac,” tweeted Questlove, drummer of the Grammy-award winning band The Roots.
Tupac Shakur, who once named Shakespeare as one of his influences, has made a name for himself through gritty lyrics, timeless street anthems, and a highly controversial personal and public life. Another name he made for himself was the alternate moniker Makaveli, after Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian philosopher who once wrote about faking your own death to fool your enemies. When 2pac took the stage during the final minutes of Coachella on Sunday Night, in some form, he made good with that promise, and showed the world Makaveli is here to stay.
Here is a video of Tupac’s much talked-about appearance at Coachella 2012. Warning: Adult Language.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajVGIRsKXdo
Line-up Poster courtesy of Coachella.com; Tupac image by jlmaral on flickr