2Pac’s estate threatens to sue Drake over use of late rapper’s AI-generated voice on “taylor made freestyle”

Lollapalooza Chile 2023 - Day 2
Lollapalooza Chile 2023 - Day 2 / Marcelo Hernandez/GettyImages

In a surprising turn of events, Tupac Shakur’s estate has issued a stern warning to Canadian rapper Drake. The reason? Drake’s recent Kendrick Lamar diss track, titled “Taylor Made Freestyle,” allegedly features an artificial intelligence-generated version of the late rapper’s voice. The estate claims that this move is a “blatant abuse” of Tupac’s legacy and has threatened legal action if Drake doesn’t comply.

The controversy

Drake, whose legal name is Aubrey Drake Graham, dropped “Taylor Made Freestyle” on his Instagram page, showcasing verses that eerily emulate both Tupac and Snoop Dogg. The use of AI software to recreate Tupac’s iconic voice has raised eyebrows and sparked outrage from Tupac’s estate. Howard King, an attorney representing the estate, wasted no time in sending a cease-and-desist letter to Drake, demanding the removal of the track from all publicly available platforms.

Legal implications

The cease-and-desist letter argues that Drake’s unauthorized use of Tupac’s likeness violates Tupac’s right to publicity—an intellectual property right that protects against the misappropriation of someone’s name or image. The estate contends that the track creates a false impression that they endorse the lyrics for the sound-alike. As a result, they seek damages, including all profits from the record, as well as additional compensation for economic and reputational harm caused.

A clash of titans

“Taylor Made Freestyle” isn’t just any diss track; it’s part of a heated feud between Drake and Kendrick Lamar. The two artists have been trading lyrical blows, and this latest move by Drake has escalated tensions. Tupac’s estate emphasizes that their late icon deserves respect and protection, especially when it comes to preserving his legacy in hip-hop history.

As the clock ticks, Drake faces a critical decision: comply with the estate’s demands or face legal consequences. The controversy surrounding “Taylor Made Freestyle” serves as a stark reminder that even in the age of AI-generated content, artists must tread carefully when invoking the voices of legends like Tupac Shakur.