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Thug Lite: Tupac, His Lologram, and Me

It doesn't look real. It just doesn't.

Hi, I'm Jo Fuertes-Knight. If you VICE.com people know me at all, it'll probably be from Girl Eats Food, my cooking column. If you don't know me at all, then hi, new matie! Anyway, I'm starting a new column about the only thing I care about other than food: rap stuff. You'll be able to find it every week on Noisey.com, but for one week only, it's on VICE.com, just so you can all see how much fun we're gonna have over on Noisey! Obviously there was only one rap-related fing to talk about this week.

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Can we please take a moment to consider just how insane the holographic revival of Tupac was? Given the glut of decent rap acts passing through Coachella this year, they must have been pretty salty to get upstaged by a dead guy during Dre’s headline slot. Some of them might claim that aping the persona of a murdered man, using science for five minutes of amusement, is a touch trashy, but I personally find it hard to get butt-hurt when something is so fucking great. I mean, I’m a luddite who’s continually unnerved by digital billboards and motion sensor toilet flushes, but even I gotta admit, it was amazing. It was the kind of thing that makes you think scientists are gonna end up inventing a God one day. I had low expectations. When rumors of the performance leaked, I figured I’d be watching an awkward CGI Pac bopping in one place to “Hit ‘Em Up”; (like when they said Tomb Raider 3 would blow your mind and all you got was a box-titted Lara Croft that couldn’t run straight). Instead it was eerily realistic; CyberPac even came complete with computer generated pelvic thrusting that made me question my stance on necrophilia. He broke my heart all over again before disappearing into dust like them fireworks iPhone apps effects do. According to Nick Smith of AV Concepts, who worked with Dre, Pac’s ghost was conjured with the same sorcery that turned Brad Pitt into a dying ballbag for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and then projected using the 1900s light illusion technique "Pepper’s ghost." It’s a holographic witchcraft that's reportedly already being used to terrify the crap out of Apple workers, who have to deal with the psychological consequences of a reanimated Steve Jobs returning for conference calls. Though everyone’s keeping schtum on how much Dre shelled out to recreate Mr Makaveli, similar projects have been priced at “anywhere between $100,000 to $400,000.” Which, when you think about it, really isn’t that much considering the hit-and-miss nature of live hip-hop. Presumably this is the kind of thing that could just be saved onto a USB stick and continually used to nail live shows, right? Why book artists who turn up five hours late, mumble over a backing track, and then slope off stage to chug Hennessy, when you can sing “California Love” with the bald, sexy one?

I guess the burning question is, could phantom-performances even pose a threat to new acts? Could Azealia Banks be pitted against a hologram of Lil' Kim circa-when-she-was-black? Would you bother going to see Machine Gun Kelly, if there was the option of watching Biggie versus Pac… refereed by Big Pun… on the fucking Titanic, or something? No, obviously you wouldn't. Anyway, to get you thinking, I looked to the bastion of intellectual music debate… HipHopDX commenters for guidance: “I'd hate to visit a wax museum or universal studio's with your oversensitive bitch ass.” “right, this one hologram prove nothing is real! melodramatic ass nigga.” “i hope you mother dies of cancer in her left breast." “I laughed when they made him say "Whats up Coachella", that festival started 3 years after he died” “stop trying to undermine niggas just because pac's dick is in your mouth.” And that pretty much sums up everything I think about this. BYE!

Follow Jo on Twitter: @fuertesknight and check out her cooking skillz here.

If you like music, go to Noisey.com.