Tupac Estate Threatens Lawsuit Over AI-Generated Drake Track

Drake could face legal action if he doesn't take down his Kendrick Lamar diss track that featured an AI-generated version of Tupac's voice

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

April 29, 2024

2 Min Read
Drake, center, speaks onstage during his Till Death Do Us Part rap battle
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Canadian rapper Drake is being threatened with legal action by the estate of Tupac Shakur for using an AI-generated version of the rapper’s voice in a new song without permission.

Drake released “Taylor Made Freestyle,” a diss track aimed at fellow rapper Kendric Lamar. The song featured synthetic versions of Tupac and Snoop Dogg. Tupac was shot and killed in 1996.

Lawyers on behalf of Tupac’s estate wrote the family was “deeply dismayed and disappointed” by the unauthorized use of the late rapper’s voice in the song.

The legal notice demands the song be removed from streaming platforms where it is publicly available.

“Not only is the record a flagrant violation of Tupac’s publicity and the estate’s legal rights, it is also a blatant abuse of the legacy of one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time,” according to the cease and desist letter.

In the song, Tupac can be heard encouraging Lamar to respond to Drake, saying: “You seem a little nervous about all the publicity. You asked for the smoke, now it seems you too busy for the smoke."

The AI-generated voice of the late rapper even suggests lyrics Lamar could use to insult Drake.

“The estate would never have given its approval for this use,” the legal notice read. “The unauthorized, equally dismaying use of Tupac’s voice against Kendrick Lamar, a good friend to the estate who has given nothing but respect to Tupac and his legacy publicly and privately, compounds the insult.”

Related:Tennessee Enacts ELVIS Act to Protect Artist Voices from AI Misuse

The song can currently be found on YouTube, where one video of it alone has garnered more than 750,000 views.

Tupac’s estate has threatened a lawsuit if the track is not deleted.

Amaru Entertainment, a record label founded by Tupac’s mother following his death, owns the rights to the rapper’s likeness. The letter demanded the track’s removal claiming the track has hurt the label.

“The record and its widespread exposure have created the false impression that the estate and Tupac promote or endorse the lyrics for the sound-alike and the record has adversely affected the market for Amaru’s own AI projects,” the letter said.

Snoop Dogg also appeared perplexed at his appearance on the diss track, writing on his Instagram: “They did what? When? How… What's going on… I'm going back to bed."

Snoop Dogg is no stranger to AI, featuring prominently as one of Meta’s AI chatbots with personalities. The rapper was a Dungeons & Dragons’ style game master who responded to text inputs akin to text-based adventure video games like Zork.

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ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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