Tupac Shakur’s estate threatens legal action against Drake for using A.I. vocals of late rapper

Francis Akhalbey April 25, 2024
Another intruder attempted to gain access to Drake's Toronto mansion -- Photo: @champagnepapi/Instagram

Tupac Shakur’s estate has threatened to take legal action against Drake after he used A.I. vocals of the late rapper in his diss song directed at Kendrick Lamar. The Canadian rapper’s Taylor Made Freestyle diss track made headlines last week particularly because it featured AI-generated vocals of both Tupac and fellow West Coast legend Snoop Dogg.

But Tupac’s estate has taken issue with the 37-year-old using A.I. vocals of the late rapper as they sent him a cease-and-desist letter. The letter, which was obtained by Billboard on Wednesday, instructed the For All the Dogs rapper to take the song down in less than 24 hours or face legal action.

“The Estate is deeply dismayed and disappointed by your unauthorized use of Tupac’s voice and personality,” the estate’s litigator, Howard King, wrote. “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. The Estate would never have given its approval for this use.”

Drake released the diss track amid his ongoing feud with Kendrick Lamar after the Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers rapper called him out on Future and Metro Boomin’s album, We Don’t Trust You. Kendrick has also publicly spoken about his admiration for Tupac as well as Snoop Dogg. 

“Kendrick, we need ya, the West Coast savior/ Engraving your name in some hip-hop history,” the AI-generated Tupac raps in Drake’s diss track. “If you deal with this viciously/ You seem a little nervous about all the publicity.”

Although Tupac’s estate has threatened to sue Drake over his actions, it cannot be established if Snoop Dogg is also planning to ply that same route. The Doggystyle rapper on Saturday, however, appeared to respond to the diss track in a video he shared on social media. “They did what? When? How? Are you sure?” the 52-year-old questioned.

The cease-and-desist letter also cautioned Drake that his actions contravened Tupac’s publicity and image rights, Billboard reported. The term refers to a “person’s rights in how they are represented.” The estate also took issue with Drake using A.I. vocals of the late rapper to diss Kendrick. 

“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,” King wrote.

The letter further made mention of instances where Drake even took issue with people using his likeness – including a lawsuit where the 37-year-old rapper’s attorneys alleged that a website did not seek permission when it used his image.

“The [“Taylor Made Freestyle”] has generated well more than one million streams at this point and has been widely reported in the general national press and popular entertainment websites and publications,” the estate wrote. “Without question, it is exponentially more serious and damaging than a picture of you with some other people on a low volume website.”

“If you comply, the estate will consider whether an informal negotiation to resolve this matter makes sense,” the letter also stated. “If you do not comply, our client has authorized this firm to pursue all of its legal remedies including, but not limited to, an action for violation of … the estate’s copyright, publicity and personality rights and the resulting damages, injunctive relief, and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 25, 2024


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