Drake deletes AI-generated Tupac track after Shakur’s estate threatened to sue

The Canadian star used deepfakes of Shakur and Snoop Dogg’s voices to diss Kendrick Lamar.

Drake / Facebook

Drake apparently learned it isn’t wise to mess with Tupac Shakur — even decades after his untimely death. Billboard first spotted that the Canadian hip-hop artist deleted the X (Twitter) post with his track “Taylor Made Freestyle,” which used an AI-generated recreation of Shakur’s voice to try to get under Kendrick Lamar’s skin.

The takedown came after an attorney representing the late hip-hop legend threatened to sue the Canadian rapper for his “unauthorized” use of Tupac’s voice if he didn’t remove it from social channels within 24 hours. However, the track was online for a week and — unsurprisingly — has been copiously reposted.

“The Estate is deeply dismayed and disappointed by your unauthorized use of Tupac’s voice and personality,” Howard King, the attorney representing Shakur’s estate, wrote earlier this week in a cease-and-desist letter acquired by Billboard. “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.”

Photo of the late Tupac Shakur, staring down at the camera against a black background with subtle horizontal gray lines.

King implied that using Shakur’s voice to diss Lamar was an especially egregious show of disrespect. Lamar, a 17-time Grammy winner and Pulitzer recipient, has spoken frequently about his deep admiration for Tupac, and the Oakland rapper’s estate says the feelings are mutual. “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 in a cease-and-desist letter.

Drake’s track also included an AI-generated clone of Snoop Dogg’s voice. The Doggystyle rapper and cannabis aficionado appeared surprised in a social post last week: “They did what? When? How? Are you sure?” He continued, “Why everybody calling my phone, blowing me up? What the fuck? What happened? What’s going on? I’m going back to bed. Good night.”

However, the one-time Doggy Fizzle Televizzle host has a history of poker-faced coyness. Last year, he took to Instagram to solemnly announce he was “giving up smoke,” leading to rampant speculation about why the stoner icon would quit his favorite pastime. Soon after, his announcement was revealed as a PR stunt for Solo Stove — which, marketing gimmicks aside, makes some terrific bonfire pits.