Tupac’s estate threatens to sue Drake for his AI-infused Kendrick Lamar diss

Tupac Shakur’s estate is none too happy about Drake cloning the late hip-hop legend’s voice on his Kendrick Lamar diss track. Billboard informed On Wednesday, Howard King, a lawyer representing Mr. Shakur’s estate, sent a cease-and-desist letter calling Drake’s use of Shakur’s voice a “gross violation of Tupac’s publicity and estate legal rights.”

Drake (Aubrey Drake Graham) fell Diss track “Taylor Made Freestyle” last Friday, the artist’s final chapter a simmering decade-long feud With Pulitzer and 17-time Grammy Award winner Kendrick Lamar.

“Kendrick, we need you, West Coast savior / Etch your name in some hip-hop history,” an AI-generated 2Pac recreation of Drake sings on the track. “If you deal with it mercilessly / You seem a little annoyed by all the publicity.”

King, who represents Shakur’s estate, wrote in the cease and desist letter that Drake has less than 24 hours to take down “Taylor Made Freestyle” or the estate will “use all legal means” to force the Canadian rapper’s hand. “Unauthorized, equally threatening, from Tupac’s voice furthers the insult to Kendrick Lamar, who is a good friend of Tupac’s and has nothing but respect for Tupac and his legacy publicly and privately,” King said. Billboard.

“The estate is deeply disappointed and dismayed by your unauthorized use of Tupac’s voice and personality,” King wrote. “The record is not only a gross violation of Tupac’s publicity and property rights, but also a flagrant abuse of the legacy of one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. The estate would never allow that use.”

Rapper Snoop Dogg stands on podium with text Rapper Snoop Dogg stands on podium with text


“Taylor Made Freestyle” also used artificial intelligence to clone Snoop Dogg’s voice, while Drake used digital clones of Lamar’s two west coast hip-hop influences to try to hit him where it hurts. Snoop in a video posted on social media the next day did not appear to know about the track. “What did they do? When? How? Are you sure?” said the 16-time Grammy nominee and herbalist. “Why is everyone calling my phone, blasting me? What the fuck? What’s going on? What’s going on? I’m going back to bed. Good night,” she continued.

Engadget emailed Snoop Dogg’s management asking for their thoughts on cloning Drake’s voice. We had not heard back at the time of publication.

The saga has some irony — if not outright hypocrisy — at Universal Music Group (UMG), which represents Drake. You may remember the track “Heart on My Sleeve” by Ghostwriter977 went viral in no time last year. It was pulled after UMG complained to streaming services because it uses an AI-generated version of Drake’s voice (along with The Weeknd).

Engadget asked UMG if he approves of Drake’s use of AI-generated voices on “Taylor Made Freestyle” and the broader issue of using digital clones of artists. We had not received comment at press time. Without a clear explanation, it’s hard not to notice the label on the side of whatever seems to be the most financially viable at any given time (surprise!).

Laws addressing AI-cloned voices of public figures are still in flux. Billboard notes that federal copyright does not clearly cover the issue because AI-generated vocals typically do not use the original artist’s specific lyrics or music. Mr. King, who spoke for Shakur’s estate, believes they are violating California’s existing copyright laws. He described Drake’s use of Shakur’s voice as creating “the false impression that the estate and Tupac are promoting or endorsing the lyrics of the same voice.”

Last month, Tennessee passed ELVIS (“Similar Sound and Image Security”) Act to protect artists from unauthorized artificial intelligence sound clones. “Legislation of the first kind” makes it a Class A offense to copy a musician’s voice without consent.

However, none of the parties involved in this case are located in Tennessee. At the federal level, things are slower and leave room for legal uncertainty. Bipartisan lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives in January presented No Fake Replicas and Unauthorized Duplications of Artificial Intelligence (“No AI FRAUD”), putting Drake-like cloned voices used on government signs Congress has taken no public action on the bill for more than three months.

“It’s hard to believe [Tupac’s record label]”His intellectual property has not been infringed to create a fake Tupac AI on record,” King wrote in the cease-and-desist letter. It demanded Drake offer “a detailed explanation of how the similar sound was created and the individuals or company that created it, including any recordings and other information ‘scraped’ or used.”

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