By Kara Warner
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s closing set at Coachella this past Sunday night went above and beyond expectations. In addition to guest appearances from Eminem and 50 Cent, deceased West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur appeared on stage in the form of a hologram to perform. Now, it seems that Tupac might be headed out on the road.
According to a Wall Street Journal interview with Ed Ulbrich of Digital Domain Media Group Inc., the visual-effects house responsible for making the rapper’s image (as well as the virtual versions of Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), there are plans to take the 2-D image on tour. (Although ‘Pac’s ghostly figure has been widely reported as a hologram, Ulbrich told the Journal that its technical description is a 2-D image and not a hologram, which is 3-D.)
Moving forward with discussions of a tour are representatives for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg who, according to a source close to the project, will be meeting to discuss the logistics involved in scheduling a string of performances with the virtual Tupac. The report cites one option would be to tour in stadiums and involve other hip-hop stars like Eminem, 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. Another option is a limited tour that would only feature Dre, Snoop Dogg and the virtual Tupac in smaller arenas.
“We worked with Dr. Dre on this, and it was Dre’s vision to bring this back to life,” Nick Smith — president of AV Concepts, the San Diego company that projected and staged the image — exclusively told MTV News on Monday (April 16). “It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology to 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 re-create it.”
“This is not found footage. This is not archival footage. This is an illusion [and] this is just the beginning,” Ulbrich told the Journal. “Dre has a massive vision for this.”