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SXSW Film-Interactive-Music - Day 9

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You’d have to be living under a rock to not be affected, or at the very least intrigued, by the advancements in artificial intelligence.

Commonly abbreviated simply as A.I., the countless possibilities that can be provided when operating the technology in any field has already proven to change both productivity and output in record numbers. Term paper due? Let a computer-generated app type a four-page thesis as you sit back and read it into your phone. For writers, transcribing has become a way less tedious part of the job now that AI-generated programs can do in seconds what would take a trained human professional hours to accomplish at “three sentences per minute.”

The music industry is seeing things change at far greater rates, some instances more nefarious than others. Recent computer-generated cover songs by Rihanna and Drake that neither pop star ever sang in real-life have left fans in disbelief. In the case of veteran producer Timbaland, well, the ruling is still up for debate. He recently hopped on social media to announce a “solution” to the concerns of A.I.’s affect on the music industry, but not before debuting a new collaboration he cooked up with the very-deceased rap icon The Notorious B.I.G.

Take a listen below to be a judge for yourselves:

 

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“I always wanted to work with B.I.G, but I never got a chance to,” said the all-star producer for music icons like Jay-Z, Aaliyah and recent Rock Hall Of Fame inductee Missy Elliott. Timbaland and Biggie had merely a few months to get a collaboration off the floor in real life before the latter’s untimely murder on March 9, 1997. Timb’s groundbreaking production first took off in 1996 with the summer and fall R&B releases of Aaliyah’s One In A Million and Ginuwine’s The Bachelor, respectively, giving him just enough momentum to catch the ear of the industry at large. However, it wouldn’t be until summer 1997, months after BIG’s fatal shooting, before his skills transitioned over to the hip-hop world by way of Missy’s debut LP, Supa Dupa Fly. 1998 is when his collaborative output with Hov first began, and from that point on he’s continued to be a pillar in rap production realms.

It could be argued that, if anyone, Timbo The King is more than qualified to take on the task of presenting new Biggie to the world. However, much like unreleased material by now-deceased musicians, things that never were might’ve been that way for a reason. As Erykah Badu once famously said, artists are sensitive about their shit — is it right to then posthumously release their rough cuts minus the sole opinion that matters? Does Timbaland in turn have any valid point in literally forcing a duet by digital means?

Take this recent example of Jadakiss speaking with The Breakfast Club on a time when fellow emcee Kodak Black told him to rework a verse on their 2018 Mother’s Day collab, “Mama”:

 

Although many have been reacting to the sheer audacity of the younger emcee asking a “Top 5 DOA” rapper to rewrite a verse, there’s something to be said about their human interaction that made the song exactly what it needed to be. Once we introduce technology into the picture, what are we saying in regards to the art of real-time interaction?

Take a look at what many are saying about Timbaland making his Biggie collab dreams come true by way of using A.I., and let us know what you think it means for the future of music:

 

1. Timbaland said “he never got a chance to until today” like nigga that computer isn’t Biggie. You still not working with him?

via @thoughtfulbae

2. This AI shit is starting to piss me off now.. using dead artist’s voices without them being able to consent to it is just disgusting and culture vulture antics.. How does Timbaland know that Biggie would even wanna work with him if he was still here??

via @FreddieHotSpot

3. Somebody tell Timbaland he still hasn’t don’t a Biggie record. Biggie did not create or sign off on that.

via @HarlemBKChina

4. Timbaland really used AI to “collaborate” with Biggie and got that man rapping “it’s not giving…” I really, really hate it here.

via @MikeHamiltonJr

5. Ngl that Timbaland x Biggie AI track was kinda hard 😪

via @HURDistheWORD

6. That AI Biggie and Timbaland track fire, but when I hear that shit this all I think of.

via @kjames860

7. Timbaland getting hype for using Robot Biggie lyrics, saying shit Big would never say is ridiculous

via @CerromeRussell

8. Hearing Biggie Smalls’ voice say “it’s not giving” just made me want to square up with Timbaland. The Supreme Court needs to get involved. I’m not trying to hear Tupac rapping about Kobe passing and making Snowfall references.

via @BibsCorner

9. These are Black Mirror antics. Biggie is not alive to agree to someone else’s words being put in his mouth. I hope his estate comes down on Timbaland like a ton of bricks.

via @ScottMoore0

10. If Timbaland did that with Biggie its only a matter of time before someone does an Aaliyah track and I dont put it past Timbaland honestly.

via @TellTallTales