Interview: Hologram Tupac Speaks On Hologram Elvis


“My only fear of death is coming back reincarnated.”

Tupac said this once. I know because I saw Resurrection. I actually own it, and sometimes when I’m drunk and alone with a girl I will grab her by the shoulders, shake her (not violently), and yell, “OH MY GOD LET’S WATCH RESURRECTION! IT WILL CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.”

As I walked through the rainy streets of New York City to meet Hologram Tupac for an interview, I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head. It was kind of funny to think about, given the circumstances. Then I thought of the title of that documentary about Pac’s life—Resurrection—and I giggled a little. My giggle turned into a cough, and a chunk of potato from the clam chowder I had eaten earlier found it’s way back into my mouth. It still had some flavor on it, so it was all good. “Nice,” I thought while I nodded my head, feeling like I had just stolen a small victory from this dreary day.

Time to get my head back in the game. I only had 10 minutes with Hologram Tupac, and my goal was clear: I needed to know what Hologram Tupac thought of the prospect of this new character, Hologram Elvis. Would he see him as a kindred spirit? New competition? Complete indifference? Has he even heard the news? Was I about to tell Hologram Tupac that Hologram Elvis is on the way? I imagined Hologram Tupac getting mad. I’m not sure why he would, but sometimes when I’m told news that I don’t understand, my knee-jerk reaction is to get violent. I wondered if I should have brought my butterfly knife. I wondered if stabbing a hologram was even possible. Probably not. Even if it was, I could never bring myself to stab Hologram Pac. I could maybe cut him a little, though.

The meeting spot was a Starbucks. I suggested Mexican but Hologram Pac said Mexican food “goes right through him.” I laughed and complimented his humor, but he quickly adopted a serious tone, “Do you know the Starbucks across the street?”

“Really, Pac, Starbucks?”

“Hell yeah, their chai tea is bomb. I’m looking into a sponsorship.”

“Okay, we can do Starbucks.”

The glaring difference between Hologram Tupac and Real Tupac was starting to rear it’s ugly head already. Of course Hologram Pac was a corporate whore. When I walked in to the Starbucks, Hologram Pac was hunched over at a table along the wall. He was easy to spot; he had a glow to him. I went in for a hug while he extended his hand for a shake. I quickly adapted my hug motion into a low five, but it was clear Holopac wanted a more formal handshake. My body was clumsy, and I fumbled around to get into the right position but accidentally brushed my hand against his semitransparent crotch. I blushed. His brow furrowed. We were off to a bad start.

“So good to see you in the flesh, Hologram Tupac!”

He forced a friendly face and nodded unconvincingly. I wondered if I should apologize for touching his crotch. I decided that would just make things more awkward so I dove right into things and got straight to the point, like a motherfucking professional.

“I just wanted to take this opportunity to ask a few things. I know you’re busy and a lot of people want to talk to you but this will only take a couple of minutes. I guess this whole hologram thing has caused a lot of controversy and everyone has their opinions. Hey, I’ve even got mine, but I’ll spare you! I just think it’s kind of weird, to be honest, and I gotta admit… In my opinion, seeing you live at Coachella was AWE-SOME but when I started to think more about it, I got all weirded out, like maybe I was watching the beginning of a big old slippery slope getting that would only get bigger and more slipperier. Like, what’s next? Do we pay to see Hologram Tupac tour with Hologram Biggie? Will there be a Hologram Backstory about how the beef was settled? Will there be new Hologram Music and Hologram Music Videos? And when that happens, who cares about these new rappers because fuck it, 2Pac and Biggie are back and touring together! You know? It’s like…”

“Yo I gotta bounce in 2 minutes…”

Fuck, fuck, fuck, I had just rambled. I looked at my watch. Yep, two minutes left. As I checked the time I caught a glimpse of the note I wrote on my hand (yes, I still write notes on my hand). “Don’t ramble about the slippery slope thing.” BUT IT IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE AND HOW DO WE NOT TALK ABOUT THIS.

I had to pee. Do I pee? No, only two minutes left, peeing will take at least one, and if I try to cut the stream off prematurely I’m liable to dribble on my pants. Whatever. Fuck it. If he notices the dribble I’ll just be like, “WELL WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT MY CROTCH?” That would kind of even things out with the whole incident that happened during the ill-configured handshake.

“Ok, lemme just pee real quick. Be right back.”

He was angry, and the fact that I could tell that says a lot—it’s not easy to read the emotions of a hologram. You’d be surprised what a big difference a little less opacity makes when it comes to reading human facial expressions. The little wrinkles, the muscles in the face that signify different things with the subtlest of contractions… without these things, humans seem as hard to read as cats, which are capable of going from vibrating little purrballs to malicious scratchasses if you touch them in the wrong place (it’s their mouths, cats hate to be fingered in the mouth.) But for sure, Hologram Tupac was angry. One big Coachella performance and all of a sudden this motherfucker is hot shit. Ok, we get it.

While I was peeing I thought about things. I thought about the impact of Resurrection. I thought about Hologram Tupac being cool, but also being more meme-ish than meaningful. I thought about that fucking slippery slope that always has me rambling. I saw a sharpie drawing of a penis on the wall and wondered why everyone thinks “penis” when they feel inspired to draw on the walls of the men’s bathroom. Pretty simple explanation, I suppose. I remembered that I still need to ask about Hologram Elvis. I pushed, I shook, I tucked. I prayed for no dribble. My prayers went unanswered. I cursed at the heavens.

When I got back, Hologram Tupac was already looking shifty, ready to make moves.

“So what I really wanted to talk to you about was Hologram Elvis. Have you heard they’re making it happen?”

I expected something deep and insightful, but Hologram Tupac was no Real Tupac. This was a gimmicky illusion created to entertain. The very human, fiery passion wasn’t there. Hologram Tupac looked at me, the way the eye of your computer cam looks at you while you’re video chatting, and said, “Props where props are due, I’d collaborate with that motherfucker if the price was right.” He began speaking in third person. “But Hologram Tupac doesn’t speak on that. Hologram Tupac has some other big money-making plans…”

For the first time during our conversation, he looked like he had something to say, but as he stood up and turned, his image started to become distorted. His voice got drowned out by the noise you hear when an old television loses reception and spits fuzz. He continued to talk, but it was impossible to get any meaning through the static. As he walked away still talking into the air, a kid, probably 15 or 16, walked by with headphones blasting Drake’s “The Motto.”

I sat down and played the Hologram Tupac performance one last time, but it wasn’t the same. After coming face to face with Holopac, it was obvious that you can’t recreate the passion of Tupac, no matter how good the technology gets. You can’t bring back the charm of Elvis, the energy of Jimi, or the attitude of Kurt. I shut my laptop case, headed for the door, and bumped into a guy wearing a suit on my way out. The lights in Starbucks flickered one time. Hologram Tupac had left the building.

  • Mohammed Al-Busaidi


  • c-muder

    this is the worst

  • a guest but not really

    this is not the worst. this is awesome. very cool write up . i read the whole thing like it was a actual interview. something like a halogram interview. very cool.

  • naysayah

    Your conclusion is very wrong. One day technology WILL be able to recreate the passion, charm, attitude, allure, the mystique, the energy of our favourite artists, dead or alive. One day it will capture the unique signifiers and idiosyncracies that create these special experiences, and better them. A ‘hologram’ based on a Victorian era trick of light won’t do it, but there’s no reason (and you haven’t even tried to give one) that it can’t, and won’t happen. It’s not whether we can, but whether we should

  • Confusion

    I did try to give a few reasons, maybe not directly, but that’s the whole point of this thing. It’s the human element. Without getting too heavy, there is something about a human being that can’t be replicated, call it humanity. It’s the brain and the body, and everything that goes with that. It’s the wrinkles in the face, and not just that those wrinkles are there, but how they developed over a lifetime. It’s the ability to make choices, to react, to think for yourself. Hologram Tupac will never be able to do that. Technology will never be able to do that.

    And I know, I’m not saying that this is the end. This is the beginning, but this is a SLIPPERY SLOPE. I know that tech. will be able to get very, very, very close to being able to replicate humanity. I hate that, and I think it takes away from the artistic value I think life should have.

    Ugh, getting too heavy. You get what I mean.

  • toby

    naysayah is a machine

  • Kizer

    Holograms, robots, technology has no heart/ can replicate on a superficial/external level but not on an internal level

  • Confusion

    naysayah IS a machine.

  •!/marlonlatron Marlon Latron

    This made me really sad.
    You didn’t wash your hands.
    Vaginas are difficult to draw (when you’ve never seen one).

  • Incilin

    Best post ever.

  • tity boi

    i clicked inmediately when i saw the title of this post on my home feed so you had a v good hook. sadly, although enthusiastic, it’s a little long and i think it fails to reign you in completely. of course he was corporate bit was funny. still dude, its cool youre trying your hand at creative writing and you obvs have a good spot to showcase so keep it up! :)

  • sdotk

    this is the greatest thing you’ve written con. props! oh and happy birthday G

  • Brendan

    @tity boi – no offense but if you’re gonna criticize writing make sure yours is straight first. reign vs. rein.

  • SK

    Next year Snoop and Dre will be doing a concert on the day tupac died during their tour with his hologram, except instead of a hologram coming out it’ll be Tupac coming out of hiding.

    He’s alive, 7 day theory.

  • Confusion

    OoOoOooO Brendan got my back with that swoooooop xan with that lean xan with that lean PICTURE ME TROLLIN’

  • Tom

    That was a great piece. Written to put across an opinion, while not directly focusing on that opinion, really cool. That clam chowder part had me laughing pretty good there too.

  • naysayah

    Confusion, for the sake of argument let’s say technology can’t ever completely replicate a human being (because of, I dunno, a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’). If it feels real enough then who cares? Consider the fact that most fans have never met the ‘real’ 2pac, seen him up close. Technology doesn’t even need to replicate these nuances if our primary experience of these artists is distance. Hologram 2pac doesn’t even need to think for itself, there’s a team of guys who decide what he’ll say at press conferences and interviews, which is the only way we interact with him, by proxy (this is already happening with pop stars, politicians). Pop stars are already caricatures, simulations, the calculation if often part of the enjoyment (Gaga). If you’re arguing that it will never feel real then you’re missing the point. This is an issue of transience – whether to accept than a given experience (2pac/Elvis concert) can never happen again, or to replicate and share it forever.

  • naysayah

    TLDR – If your little brother is a huge 2pac fan, would you rather he only experience a 2pac show thru the memories and recordings of others (surely a recording already cheapens live experiences) or also via a hologram concert today?

  • Eric


  • Confusion

    @Naysayah I have just as big of a problem with pop stars and politicians. For me music, art, all that, is special because it’s a reflection of the human experience from a human. People loved 2Pac because who he was as a person, and his music was a reflection of that.

    It’s like yes you can probably eventually recreate the experience of sex with some very life like, fleshy doll. It will feel the same, you could have the doll move and sweat and make sex noises. Is that enough for you?

    And to that thing about the “soul” or “spirit,” I’ll say that I’m not a religious person, and I don’t really even believe in a “soul” in any kind of ghostly sense, but I think whatever it is that people attribute to “souls” is the most important thing about humanity. It’s why animals don’t make art. It’s why if you play the right song at the right time to an animal, to a computer, to a hologram, they will not be emotionally moved. Yeah, that’s important. It’s humanity, and if you take that away, the art becomes very meaningless to me.

    But good luck enjoying your experience of concerts put on by holograms and songs written by computers.

  • Moosh

    You’re a genius! I absolutely loved it. Beautifully written, awesome perspective and I have to say, I completely agree with you there: 2pac is gone and as much as we all at first found this Hologram thingy weird but awesome, it’s not him. Its a projection of what he was. But it’s empty and that’s sad… His humanity is lost forever. No matter how much technology evolves, that Hologram will never have 2pac’s… Swagger. He’s just gone.

    I really enjoyed reading this! Props.

  • naysayah

    Nothing necessarily wrong with a holographic concert – it’s an artform in itself – a way of creating an experience. Not to different to film in that its creators may be long dead, or never have existed, and it opens up the possibility for new experiences. Gorillaz, anyone?

    If you don’t believe in a soul, the only difference between us and the computers and animals is complexity.
    Consider this – if random physical forces, ungoverned by any intelligent ’emotional’ being – can eventually craft, say, a mountain range that we see as ‘beautiful’, that evokes an emotional response, why couldn’t a sufficiently complex program produce music that does the same? Humans are moved every day by things not created by other humans. This is not a ‘meaningless’ thing.

    The 2pac hologram is arguably art itself, in that it represents the experience of a 2pac concert, just as a painting of that mountain range can evoke the same feelings one may have when viewing it in the flesh (or an altered, exaggerated form of these feelings, depending on the painting). Maybe the experience is more important than the source, if it communicates the same ideas and feelings. If there is a special, metaphysical ‘humanity’, then perhaps it lies in our ability to find inspiration anywhere, and the ‘meaning’ of art is in our response to it.

  • a guest but not really

    Quick Question : does hologram Pac smoke ? ’cause real Pac always looked so cool smiking.

  • Confusion

    Hologram Pac smokes non stop because no lung cancer for holograms.

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  • a guest but not really

    haha thats awesome.

  • herp while i derp

    the comment section of this article was extremely enlightening from both Confusions and Naysayahs viewpoints. the struggle between man and machine and what makes each separate is extremely relevant to my interests. BONG BONG

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