May 23, 2023

Three Black Artists Respond To The Rise Of AI-Generated Music

The rise of AI-generated music has sparked both excitement and concern within the music industry. From calls for legal action to taking advantage of opportunities to revolutionize music creation and revenue generation, the relationship between Black artists and AI-generated music is, well, complex.

Ice Cube: “AI is Demonic”

Ice Cube, during an appearance on the Full Send podcast, told listeners: “I think AI is demonic, I think AI is going to get a backlash from real people.”

Ice Cube voiced concerns about the unauthorized manipulation of original voices without proper compensation.

“Imma sue the motherf-cker who make it and the platform that plays it,” he added. “It’s like a sample. Somebody can’t take your original voice and manipulate it without having to pay.”

Ice Cube’s concerns echo those raised by artists like Drake, as well as labels like Universal Music Group who recently called for major streamers to clamp down on AI-generated music to protect artists.

Snoop Dogg: “I’m Lost”

During the 2023 Milken Institute Global Conference earlier this month, Snoop Dogg shared his confusion and raised questions about the implications of AI for the future.

Snoop Dogg said his interaction with bots felt like a “real conversation,” telling audiences that “It’s blowing my mind because I’ve watched movies as a kid and I used to see this s***.”

“Then I heard the dude that created A.I. saying ‘This is not safe cause the A.I.’s got their own minds,” Snoop Dogg continued, referencing Geoffrey Hinton’s recent departure from Google.  I’m like: ‘Are we in a movie now?’ Do I need to invest in A.I.?”

According to Fortune, Snoop Dogg then motioned to the audience asking them: “Do y’all know? I’m lost.”

Timbaland: “I’m going to lead the way”

Timbaland has taken a very different stance, viewing AI as a huge opportunity.

“It’s going to really be a new way of creating and a new way of generating money with less costs,” the influential producer told Forbes. “I’m already here. This is what I’m doing. I’m going to lead the way.”

Timbaland recently announced a collaboration was on the way with the late Notorious B.I.G. “I always wanted to work with Big, but I never got a chance to — until today, he told his Instagram followers. “It came out right.”

Read: AI-Generated Fakes: Scammer Made Thousands From “Leaked” Frank Ocean Tracks

While Timbaland doesn’t plan to release the track without the permission of the late rapper’s estate, he does plan to commercialize the voice filter software behind it through Light Energy Labs, which he co-founded with programmer and producer Zayd “Creatrgod” Portillo in 2022.

Timbaland’s announcement was met with mixed reviews, and he acknowledges that the future success of AI music relies high-grade voice filters, human involvement and a system that shows the AI voice was authorized.

But he is confident in the opportunities that lay ahead. “I don’t want to be afraid of what’s going on,” he told Forbes. “I want to be the guy to figure out a solution.”

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)