Sheryl Crow Criticises Drake for “Hateful” Use of AI-Generated Tupac Vocals

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Sheryl Crow recently spoke with the BBC about her concerns regarding the music industry’s use of AI technology. In the interview, she specifically criticised Drake for using AI-generated vocals from the late Tupac Shakur in his song ‘Taylor Made Freestyle.’

Crow expressed her belief that resurrecting deceased artists through AI is fundamentally wrong. She argued that it betrays the essence of humanity and violates the legacy of those artists. Hearing the AI-generated vocals, she felt deeply disturbed and “literally hyperventilating” upon recognizing the vocal nuances that closely mimicked John Mayer, whom she knows personally.

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Sheryl Crow Drake
Image Courtesy: People

She emphasised that AI technology in music is a “slippery slope” and a betrayal. Crow highlighted how convincingly the AI replicated Mayer’s voice, stressing that it would be nearly impossible for someone to distinguish the AI-generated vocals from the real artist. 

This, she believes, is a significant issue, especially as it was used in Drake’s ‘Taylor Made Freestyle’, where the AI-generated Tupac vocals portrayed the late rapper as an ally in Drake’s feud with Kendrick Lamar.

Sheryl Crow Drake
Image Courtesy: People

Tupac’s estate was outraged by the song. They viewed the use of his voice as a clear violation of his publicity rights and the estate’s legal protections. Howard King, the estate’s lawyer, labelled the song as a “flagrant violation” and an abuse of Tupac’s legacy, asserting that the estate would never have authorised such use.

King further admonished Drake, noting that as an artist, he should be well aware of the legal and ethical implications of unauthorised AI impersonations. The letter from King to Drake underscored the harm that such practices can inflict on artists and their legacies.

-Sushmita Sarkar