Tupac Estate Issues Cease & Desist Over Drake’s AI Diss Track

Tupac Estate issues cease and desist over Drake AI diss track
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Tupac Estate issues cease and desist over Drake AI diss track
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Photo Credit: cdd20

Following the release of Drake’s AI-created diss track in which he ‘borrows’ the voice of Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur—the Tupac Estate has issued a cease and desist letter.

Actions like this would be illegal under Tennessee’s ELVIS Act, if its provisions were to be adopted at the national level. But it also begs the question—just how much beef do you have if you have to steal somebody else’s voice to say it?

Now, the Tupac Estate has threatened to sue Drake over his unauthorized use of Tupac’s voice for the Kendrick Lamar diss track. The “Taylor Made Freestyle” was uploaded to Instagram last Friday in an attempt to goad Kendrick Lamar into responding. But part of the cease-and-desist letter from Howard King requires Aubrey Drake Graham to remove the track from all platforms.

If the track is not removed, the letter states that the estate will “pursue all of its legal remedies” against him. “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,” King writes in the letter. “The Estate would never have given its approval for this use.”

The estate says this use of Tupac’s voice constitutes a nonconsensual use of his likeness and violate’s the rapper’s right to publicity—an intellectual property right now directly protected by the ELVIS Act in Tennessee. The letter argues that Drake’s use of AI in the track creates the false impression that the estate or Tupac himself endorse the lyrics for the sound-alike.

“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,” writes King in the letter.

Legal issues aside—let’s talk about the concept of rap beef for a moment. It’s supposed to be personal and it’s supposed to get you on one side or the other as a listener. But what’s really weak is to show up to a fight with your dad, or your uncle, or the voice of a dead famous person. Imagine some rando guitarist arguing they’re the best because they AI-created Slash or Jimi Hendrix riffs. It stinks. It’s not artistic—and frankly—it’s kind of surprising that Aubrey wouldn’t consider the repercussions.

Drake is one of the most frequently lifted voices for AI-voice re-creation, especially as the track “Heart On My Sleeve” caught fire last year. So embracing the technology to have better rappers appear on his beef track screams insecurity—you can’t out-rap your opponent so you re-create famous voices using AI? That’s not art—it’s imitation. The surimi paste of rap beef, delivered by Drake.