Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Speaking From Beyond The Grave Was Only Cool When 2Pac Did It

Screenshot 2024-05-11 at 11.48.37 AMThe Tupac Shakur estate has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Drake concerning his use of an AI-generated imitation of Tupac's voice in a new song called "Taylor Made (Freestyle)." The estate, representing Tupac and his mother Afeni Shakur, criticized the use of Tupac's voice as "a blatant abuse of the legacy of one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time." The letter demands that Drake stop further publication and exploitation of the song and remove it from all platforms where it's available.

"Taylor Made (Freestyle)" is a diss track aimed at Kendrick Lamar, who previously used a recording of Tupac in his album "To Pimp A Butterfly." Comparisons are drawn to a similar situation involving a posthumous George Carlin special uploaded to YouTube, suggesting potential takedowns of Drake's song shortly if the lawsuit progresses. Interestingly, Snoop Dogg is also featured on the track through AI sampling, but his response to his voice's imitation is more light-hearted than Tupac's estate's reaction.

The use of AI in music, exemplified by Drake's song, sets a groundbreaking trend likely to prompt similar legal disputes in the future. This incident adds complexity to the Drake versus Kendrick Lamar feud and hints at potential legal precedents shaping the landscape of AI-generated music and copyright infringement.

For more information see Chris Williams “Speaking From Beyond The Grave Was Only Cool When 2Pac Did It”, Above the Law, April 25, 2024.


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