Drake takes down Kendrick Lamar diss track after Tupac’s estate threatens lawsuit

Tupac Shakur’s estate threatened legal action over Drake’s use of AI-generated vocals impersonating the later rapper

Kevin E G Perry
Friday 26 April 2024 22:22 BST
Snoop Dogg opens up on his final moments with Tupac

Drake has taken down a song that featured AI-generated vocals impersonating Tupac Shakur after the late rap icon’s estate threatened to sue.

The track in question, “Taylor Made Freestyle”, was released on 19 April.

The song was a diss track, aiming barbs at both Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar. It featured AI versions of two of Lamar’s West Coast rap idols: Tupac and Snoop Dogg.

In a cease-and-desist letter obtained on Wednesday (24 April) by Billboard, litigator Howard King told Drake that he had 24 hours to take down “Taylor Made Freestyle” or the estate would “pursue all of its legal remedies” against him.

“The Estate is deeply dismayed and disappointed by your unauthorized use of Tupac’s voice and personality,” 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.”

King added that the estate took a particularly dim view of the disses aimed at Lamar, writing: “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”.

Drake’s representative’s declined to comment when contacted by The Independent.

Drake (left) and Tupac Shakur
Drake (left) and Tupac Shakur (Getty/AP)

Before closing, the letter set a deadline of midday (Pacific Time) Thursday by which Drake’s representatives had to confirm that they were “expeditiously taking all steps necessary to have it removed”.

King added: “If you comply, the estate will consider whether an informal negotiation to resolve this matter makes sense. 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.”

Drake and Lamar have been involved in a long-simmering feud for many years.

Last month, Lamar took aim at Drake and fellow rap rival J Cole on a new track, claiming that rather than representing the genre’s “big three” it’s just “big me”.

The song, “Like That”, appeared on Future and Metro Boomin’s collaborative album We Don’t Trust You.

Lamar was directly responding to J Cole’s verse on “First Person Shooter” from Drake’s 2023 album For All The Dogs.

On that song, Cole rapped: “Love when they argue the hardest MC / Is it K-Dot? Is it Aubrey? Or me? / We the big three like we started a league, but right now, I feel like Muhammad Ali.”

Lamar is known by his nickname K-Dot, while Aubrey is Drake’s birth name.

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