Kendrick Lamar recently made headlines again, but for much more futuristic reasons. And the reveal has some less anticipatory of what’s on the horizon.
A sound engineer raised eyebrows and concerns when he posted a sample of a guy lyrically flowing through an audio filter. Taking this at face value, there seems to be nothing to discuss. As most know, using vocal filters isn’t new. Auto-tune is one of the most used vocal filters today. However, there was something special about this filter. Eerily, it had the rapper sounding exactly like Kendrick Lamar.
Young Guru Speaks Out
After hearing the clip, Young Guru took an extra step in re-posting and issuing a PSA. Guru wanted to warn the world about the ominous implications of such tech. Guru is cited as saying, “It’s not the tech; it’s the evil that men do with the tech.” While some don’t find it particularly concerning, others believe it’s one step closer to annihilating the human artist.
How Concerning is the Kendrick Lamar AI Rendering
In 2022 an emergent AI artist named FN Meka shocked many.
The amount of backlash Capitol Records experienced after the revelation that FN Meka was indeed a virtual artist forced them to pull the plug on the project. According to an August 2022 article in the New York Times, the corporate response went as thus, “it was severing ties with its latest controversial artist: FN Meka, a virtual “robot rapper” powered partly by artificial intelligence, which boasted more than 10 million followers on TikTok.” But it wasn’t so much that it was an AI rapper, but it was an imitation that came off as cultural appropriation. While Capitol Records admitted they were working on the project for a while, there was an incoherence in how it would appear to the public. However, as New York Times went on to note,
” After growing backlash to what skeptical observers said amounted to digital blackface — including content that seemed to trivialize incarceration and police brutality — Capitol “severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately.”
Of course, there is always something to be said about full transparency. However, when has one known science to be one hundred percent transparent? With the increase in holographic technology, advancements in virtual tech, and greater acceptability of virtualization, one can ascertain that the fear of what’s next is genuine.
Is the Kendrick Lamar Filter a Sign?
Could this be a game-changer? Yes, it could, and it could have real implications for artists. But times change, and the world advances. While it may be possible to slow down advancing tech, progress is inevitable. So the best response is to consider what artists can do to evolve; given the advancing technology. Regardless of what many choose to do with the reveal, it’s certainly something to watch, and the implications are indeed worth considering.
Written by: Renae Richardson