Concertgoers at Indio, California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival witnessed a reunion of West Coast hip-hop greats. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s set included some of the rappers’ most popular hits. Eminem, 50 Cent and Warren G joined them on stage, as well as their late label-mate Tupac Shakur.
Shakur, who has been dead nearly 16 years, was projected on the Coachella stage as a life-like hologram. The rapper’s likeness performed alongside Snoop Dogg, at one point rapping “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted,” their 1996 collaboration and his “Hail Mary.” The stunt brought mixed reactions from those in attendance.
Rihanna, who also performed at the festival, tweeted, ”#TupacBACK #unbelievable #IWASTHERE #STORY4myGrandKidz.” Others seemed unnerved. Questlove of The Roots wrote, “That Pac Hologram haunted me in my sleep. Rest In Peace 2pac…….#OkIWill!!!!!!!!!!” The two were among many concertgoers that took to Twitter to express either their excitement for or displeasure with the hologram.
“This show was by far one of the most exciting, yet challenging, projects we have ever worked on,” said Nick Smith, President of AV Concepts -the company that produced the illusion. “A highly choreographed, live, outdoor holographic production of this magnitude with hundreds of thousands of people watching gave us the added incentive, and pressure, to deliver,” said Smith.
AV Concepts has worked on audio and visuals for other high-profile performances and award shows. At the recent 54th Grammy Awards, they were responsible for the elaborate stage animation in Chris Brown’s performance. The company reportedly collaborated with Dr. Dre’s production company and used custom rigging and mechanics in conjunction with “Eyeliner” display technology from the Musion Systems Ltd to produce the jaw-dropping ‘Pac performance.
According to TMZ, Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur gave Dr. Dre her approval to incorporate her son’s image into the performance. The site also claims that she watched the performance live on the internet and was “thrilled” with the result.
Follow Donovan X. Ramsey on Twitter at @idxr