Tupac Musical 'Holler If Ya Hear Me' Premieres 3 Surprisingly Good Songs — LISTEN
When thinking back on rap icon Tupac Shakur, any number of things may come to mind: his celebrated discography, his controversial demise, maybe even his role in Juice — but I'd be willing to bet that "jazz hands" is likely pretty far down on the list. And still, despite the captcha-generator-esque unlikelihood of the very concept, a Tupac musical, titled Holler If Ya Hear Me , is officially coming to Broadway on June 2. In honor of these fast-approaching previews, Entertainment Weekly has released an exclusive preview of three classic Tupac tracks redux: "California Love," "Unconditional Love," and the titular "Holler If Ya Hear Me." And, against all odds, these adaptations are surprisingly not terrible. In fact, they're pretty good.
Perhaps the saving grace of these reinterpretations lies in the conceit of the musical itself: Rather than an 8 Mile-esque Tupac-centric tale, Holler If Ya Hear Me is decidedly "non-biographical," according to its website — "an original work that is at once a love story and an unretouched picture of life in the streets." Rather than stress a Broadway actor with taking on the full weight of so legendary a persona as Shakur — as some performer may well have to yet in John Singleton's planned Tupac biopic — this musical adaptation is more of an homage to the world created by Shaukr's still-resonant lyrics, as opposed to the man who wrote them.
With that authenticity of spirit in mind, it makes sense that the tracks are essentially unaltered. I mean, if anything, "California Love" sounds slightly pepped up, "Unconditional Love" fleshed out by some extra female vocals — which, given the flash-bang chorus-line milieu of the Great White Way, is honestly a feat.