The attorney for Tupac Shakur’s estate just put Drake on notice about one mistake that could cost him everything

Cat3 / Culture

GabboT, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Popular rappers Drake and Kendrick Lamar have been at each other’s throats since March.

The two have released “diss tracks” where they take shots at one another in the lyrics.

But now the attorney for Tupac Shakur’s estate just put Drake on notice about one mistake that could cost him everything.

AI comes to the world of rap feuds

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the landscape in virtually every industry in America.

One of the biggest issues to emerge so far is the use of AI-cloned voices, photos, and videos of public figures.

Since AI is a new phenomenon, the laws covering cloned voices are still murky and haven’t been set in stone.

“The explosion of AI tools has brought up a slew of ethical questions for the music industry as it becomes easier than ever before to generate new music,” NBC reported. “Users can easily create their own renditions of songs using AI versions of real artists’ voices.”

And that’s exactly what rapper Drake recently did as part of his ongoing feud with Kendrick Lamar.

Last Friday, Drake released a new track called “Taylor Made Freestyle” on his Instagram page and used AI to clone deceased rapper Tupac Shakur’s voice.

With 146 million Instagram followers, Drake’s new diss track went viral online and garnered tens of millions of views and more than 2.2 million likes.

Drake threatened with a lawsuit over AI

But Drake’s use of Shakur’s voice could cost him everything.

Howard King, the attorney for Tupac Shakur’s estate, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Drake on Wednesday threatening him with legal action if he did not remove the song from all platforms by noon on Thursday.

“The estate is deeply dismayed and disappointed by your unauthorized use of Tupac’s voice and personality in the ‘Taylor Made Freestyle’ record that you released last Friday,” King wrote. “On behalf of the Estate, we demand that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication and exploitation of the record, and that you immediately take ALL NECESSARY steps to remove it from all platforms where it is publicly available.”

King went on to call it a “flagrant violation of the estate’s legal rights” and a “blatant abuse” of Tupac’s legacy.

In the song, Drake used Tupac’s voice to attack Lamar, whom King called “a good friend to the estate who has given nothing but respect to Tupac and his legacy publicly and privately, compounds the insult.”

“Kendrick we need ya, the West Coast savior/Engraving your name in some hip-hop history,” the AI cloned Tupac said in the song.

King concluded by telling Drake that if he refused to comply, “our client has authorized this firm to pursue all of its legal remedies including, but not limited to, an action for violation of Amaru and the Estate’s copyright, publicity, and personality rights and the resulting damages, injunctive relief, and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.”

Only time will tell whether or not Drake’s use of Tupac’s voice ends up costing him a fortune.

But this could be what finally leads to settled and definite laws regarding the use of cloned AI voices.