The Friday MiniTape–4.20.12 Edition

Note: Lyrics very much NSFW

It’s only a matter of time, I think, until we face a bigger conversation in the wake of the Tupac Shakur “performance” orchestrated by Dr. Dre last week at the Coachella music festival. Dre and Snoop Dogg are reportedly already looking into how to bring the 2-D likeness of their former Death Row labelmate on tour with them later this year. And no one can question both Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, being “positively thrilled” with the act, or Dre for making a donation to the charitable foundation named after Tupac.

But one can hope that, if Dre and Snoop’s plan comes to pass, we get a more fully realized version of Shakur’s life and catalog; you have to wonder how the Coachella crowd would have reacted to hearing the Tupac of “Keep Ya Head Up” or “Dear Mama” rather than the abbreviated version seen above.

And could a Tupac likeness really produce a full concert experience? Well, as many tech-savvy music fans already know, it’s not such a sci-fi dream anymore.

The footage above is from the third concert “by” Hatsune Miku, the culmination of the commercial success of Vocaloid, a “singing synthesizer application” developed by Crypton Future Media. The character’s voice was sampled from that of Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita (if you’re an anime fan, Fujita’s the voice behind “Crystal Quartz”) and her look was put together by manga artist Kei Garō. Sales Vocaloid were so brisk (earning a reported 57.5 million yen in 2007 alone) that Miku was joined by two other “labelmates,” Kagamine Rin and Len:

So, how far can this go? Well, Vocaloid is allegedly preparing to release an English-language version this year. So Tupac’s “return” might only be a beginning.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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  • Jayland100

    Personally I find it fascinating. Significant possibilities are abound withVocaloid tech. Live musicians playing with holos of  Marley, Hendrix, Beatles, any of the “greats” we wish we could’ve seen in their heyday, would be a hot ticket the world over. The Japanese have been on this for awhile. Anyone remember the Minmae holo in Macross? Ghost in the Shell s.a.c. also touched on the idea of the program as superstar entertainer iirc.

  • dersk

    Arrgh. It’s NOT a hologram. It’s just CGI combined with a mirror trick that dates back to the 19th century. Personally, I find it pretty ghoulish artistically and not much different than inserting Gene Kelly into an ad for GAP chinos.

    I’d assert that this sort of thing can NEVER give a full concert experience. I mean, there’s nothing live about it – at best, it’s sort of an enhanced video or lipsyncing exercise.

  • Notebook

    Oh man, I have to admit I was not expecting a post relating to Vocaloid here of all places.  I’m actually really interested in seeing how this Tupac hologram tour goes–I always thought the implications of this kind of stuff was intriguing, especially outside the Vocaloid business which I know some see as a bit too out there.