Timbaland has become the latest and perhaps most high-profile figure to dabble in artificial intelligence in the studio, using it to land a bucket list collaboration with the late, great Notorious B.I.G.
The Grammy-winning producer shared a video on Instagram on Wednesday (May 3) in which he played a snippet of a new song he cooked up using AI-generated Biggie vocals.
“Alright so, I’m sitting here with my brother, Creatr God, and we know that it’s a lot of talk about AI and we know how the feelings of violating certain things,” he said in the clip. “But let me tell you something: I got a solution, I’m working on it. It’s gon’ be beneficial to everybody.
“But, in the meantime, I gotta share something I’ve been working on because I always wanted to do this and I never got a chance to. I always wanted to work with Big and I never got a chance to — until today. It came out right! Play!”
“This rite here [eye emojis] [rocket emojis] [exploding head emojis] @creatrgod @youngguru763 I had tooo [shocked face emojis],” he wrote. “A I [crown emoji] is timbo [key emoji] everything original timbo x biggie.”
Watch the video below:
Timbaland’s AI Biggie collaboration was met with mixed reactions in his Instagram comments section, with some of his peers applauding the track.
Others, however, weren’t so happy with the producer jumping on the AI bandwagon, especially using it to recreate the voice of a deceased artist.
“I really don’t know how to feel about this (as a huge BIG fan),” one person admitted. “This is hard asf but, all I keep asking myself is…if I was Big would I want people making their own version of me?”
Another said: “Nah, this ain’t it. It’s not Big either so what is there to be excited about really. We got enough bull destroying Hip Hop and the Culture. Music being called Hip Hop when it’s not. Hip Hop should be getting preserved. It should be organic, from the heart and soul.
“I’m not with this AI, we’ve got enough fake ish out here. I want nothing ‘artificial’ when it comes to Hip Hop. I’m sure Timb wouldn’t like it if someone took his voice, put it on a, track and released it; the double standard will be real all this AI stuff.”
Timbaland’s video arrives amid growing concern over the rise of AI technology in the music industry. As A-list stars like Drake and The Weeknd have seen their voices cloned to make faux songs that have racked up hundreds of thousands of streams, music’s most powerful players are looking to clamp down.
Last month, Universal Music Group — the multinational conglomerate to whom both Drake and The Weeknd are signed — pulled the AI track from streaming services and called for Spotify and co. to block AI platforms from using its music to “train” their technology.
“The training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs, begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on,” UMG said in a statement. “The side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation.
“These instances demonstrate why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists. We’re encouraged by the engagement of our platform partners on these issues–as they recognize they need to be part of the solution.”