Tupac Hologram Rebounds Late Rapper Onto The Charts

Billy Johnson, Jr.
Hip-Hop Media Training (NEW)

Tupac's hologram-like appearance at the Coachella Music Festival during Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's recent headlining set has prompted a spike in sales for his music catalog, according to Billboard Magazine.

While the sales increases weren't enough to top the core charts, they made an impressive impact. Tupac's song, "Hail Mary," which was the first track the digital version of the rapper performed at Coachella, sold 13,000 downloads last week, a 1,530 percent rise, Billboard reports.

Other Tupac songs played at Coachella also made strides. "California Love," featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman, moved 11,000 downloads and Snoop Dogg collaboration "2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted" sold 9,000.

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Tupac's album sales also benefited from the media hype. His 1998 "Greatest Hits" album sold 4,000 copies, prompting it to reemerge on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 129, a 571 percent gain from the prior week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Tupac's "All Eyez On Me" sold 2,000 and "Me Against The World" sold 1,000.

The music sales are good, and I was glad to hear reports that Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, was pleased with the virtual replica of her son, and that Dr. Dre made a donation to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

Holograms of other artists are reportedly being considered. Jackie Jackson, Michael Jackson's brother, said that using a hologram of the "Thriller" singer was considered for the Jackson's Cirque du Soleil show and could be incorporated into a tour planned for next year.

I am not a fan, though, of the exploitation of deceased artists with the use of this technology. Tupac died 16 years ago. We do not know that if he were alive today that he would have elected to perform with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at Coachella, and, if so, what songs he would have performed, or whether or not he would still be taking the stage shirtless in sagging, baggy jeans.

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A video presentation puts the visual in the proper context, reminding the viewers of the time frame in which the artist was filmed. The way the Tupac hologram was used created the illusion that he was still alive. Even with the estate's approval, it's the same as an unauthorized endorsement.

It is best that we experience Tupac through his volumes of recorded works, film and audio. He was far more complex that the hologram suggests.

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