In a lengthy sit-down with The New York Times Magazine, it was revealed that Dave Free and K. Dot collaborated with South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who both own a company specializing in the deep fake technology. The famed TV duo lent the technology to the pgLang pair, who were the first to use the tech in a music video.
“You see Kendrick turned into Tupac, Kendrick turned into Kanye, and I think we had Eminem,” Stone told the outlet over Zoom. He told Kendrick and Dave that they could be among the first to use the technology for one of their videos, and reportedly the pair exclaimed, ‘What if we did the Jussie Smollett!”
Eminem didn’t make the final cut, and Kung Fu Kenny instead relied on deep fakes of Kanye West, Nipsey Hussle, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, OJ Simpson and Jussie Smollett. The video received a Grammy nomination for best music video earlier this year.
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While the compelling visual has been lauded by K. Dot’s fans and peers alike, a New Jersey rapper by the name of AK took to social media shortly after it dropped to accuse the Pulitzer Prize-winning MC of stealing his idea.
AK (real name Austin Kassabian) claims Kendrick copied the deepfake concept from his “Family Tree” video, which was released in September 2020 and has notched over 600,000 views on YouTube.
The black-and-white clip shows AK rapping into the camera in front of a blank backdrop as his face morphs into rappers such as Lil Wayne, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, JAY-Z and, coincidentally, Kendrick Lamar.
“Kendrick Lamar’s new music video is an exact copy of my video from 2020 of my song ‘Family Tree,’” AK said in a video uploaded to Instagram back in May. “Maybe I’m fooling myself for thinking that Kendrick saw my video and was like, ‘Damn, that’s so good that I want to do it myself.’
“But I was under Universal; he is under Universal. I did that video in 2020 with Universal. Obviously, the song didn’t do as good as if Kendrick was to do it, but the concept was so sick and I fucking don’t know, but it’s the same exact thing — it’s a backdrop, it’s him in front of it, it’s one take.”
He continued: “And I want to make it clear, like, he’s an icon, I respect Kendrick. This is just very weird, bruh. That’s why I was like, ‘Damn, this is unique as fuck.’ And when I drop this, it’s gonna go stupid because nobody’s ever done this before.
“But as an independent artist, that’s the type of shit that you have to eat. And my whole message behind it is, keep going ’cause you gotta eat shit sometimes but eventually, you’ll be aight.”
Meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar has snagged eight 2023 Grammy Award nominations for his latest album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. He’s picked up nominations for Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year along with Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, and Best Melodic Rap Performance.