Over the past few years, rap fans have unfortunately gotten plenty of calls to debate the ethics of posthumously releasing an artist’s works — especially when it comes to collaborations that the artist may not have approved. With the advent of AI technologies that reproduce artists’ voices and likenesses, that debate has heated up a lot lately.
The latest figure in hip-hop to join the debate is Timbaland, who used AI to “collaborate” with The Notorious B.I.G. — someone he never got the chance to work with in real life before Biggie died. He shared part of the song, in which Big’s voice shouts out artists he never lived to see such as Nipsey Hussle and Young Dolph, on Instagram, saying:
We know that it’s a lot of talk about AI and we know how the feelings of violating certain things. But let me tell you something: I got a solution, I’m working on it. It’s gon’ be beneficial to everybody. I gotta share something I’ve been working on because I always wanted to do this and I never got a chance to. I always wanted to work with Big and I never got a chance to.
Fans on social media have received the “collaboration” with some trepidation — people who pay for Twitter Blue aside — pointing out that although the machine-learning algorithm can reproduce Christopher Wallace’s voice, Tim’s still just talking to a computer simulacrum.
Timbaland said "he never got a chance to until today" like nigga that computer isn't Biggie. You still not working with him? https://t.co/aPaMJ5U3qO
— Dedee 🥀 (@thoughtfulbae) May 4, 2023
I wonder if Timbaland feels this way if Hit-Boy uploaded a video of him rocking to AI Aaliyah vocals over his beats.. https://t.co/kVYHx0MY1p
— Aaron Busby 🏁 (@MrBusby4o8) May 4, 2023
Why does Timbaland have AI Biggie saying “it’s not giving” I am crying
— gaydakiss (@CAKESDAKILLA) May 4, 2023
I know Timbaland thought that video was gonna go over way better than it actually did lmaooo
— LV🥂 (@lavoyce) May 4, 2023
Timbaland should be fucking ashamed of himself for this. Absolutely nasty work here https://t.co/XhRhMzbcBI
— F A T — E N B Y (@KrabsMckoy) May 3, 2023
Timbaland ur a legend but ur going to jail for making biggie say “it’s not giving” https://t.co/iWXYcOA8DG
— sufi hamo (@sufihamilton) May 4, 2023
(These plays be so easy to call. The answer is still FOH)
Everybody: Haaaaates the idea of ai music from dead artists
Them: but if we use Timbaland to push it…👀 https://t.co/5UfLgeNcTv
— Sean Did (@FlyestArtist) May 4, 2023
Jadakiss once said "I did real songs with BIG no made up shits"
— Franklin Saint-Slacktrick 🇯🇲 (@Slakonbothsides) May 4, 2023