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This article was published on June 18, 2021

This AI lets you generate new verses from your favorite rappers

Faux-Pac is on the mic

This AI lets you generate new verses from your favorite rappers
Thomas Macaulay
Story by

Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC. Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC.

If you’ve ever dreamed of making songs with Tupac or Jay-Z, an AI tool called Uberduck can take you close to fulfilling your fantasies.

Uberduck is one of a range of tools that lets you choose a celebrity voice and then enter text for them to speak. What sets it apart from the others is it can do a pretty impressive job of replicating a rapper’s flow.

You can synthesize speech into a “calm” or “intense” Tupac verse, for example, or try an Eminem “freestyle” verse or “pre-Eminem Show” flow.

Uberduck’s creator says they started working on the system with the goal of creating an open-ended dialog agent:

I built an interactive audio chatbot over WebRTC that generated text responses with a Transformer model and synthesized them to audio, but I found that speech synthesis was the most exciting part of the project.

The tool blew up on TikTok after a lawsuit forced the app to swap its text-to-speech voice for a different version. Many users were unimpressed by the replacement and made the switch to Uberduck.

[Read: Why entrepreneurship in emerging markets matters]

They’ve gone on to use the tool in a range of creative ways, from adding Biggie verses to their own tracks to making Kanye West rap the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Even Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda has tried it out:

@mshinodaHappy Endings by me feat. Notorious B.I.G. ##Biggie##big##HappyEndings##Ai##Uberduck##texttospeech##deepfake##producer##music##rappersoftiktok##fyp♬ original sound – Mike Shinoda

If you’d rather have a conversation with your favorite MC — or force them to give you a shout-out — that’s also possible.

The synthesized voices are far from perfect, but with tweaks to the text — adding extra vowels, for instance, to extend a syllable — you can generate some pretty accurate imitations of your favorite rappers. I’m pretty proud of these Tupac bars I created:

To my ears, the voice is more convincing than the Faux-Pac from this classic Dave Chappelle skit:

The tool does, however, have some potential to be used for disinformation and defamation.

Uberduck’s terms attempt to allay these concerns. Users are prohibited from using the outputs for commercial purposes or the production of defamatory material. They must also clearly identify that their creations were generated by AI, and will be banned if they violate the rules. In addition, the tool’s inventor says they’ll remove voices from the site upon request.

Putting words into a replica of someone’s voice without their permission could also be viewed as disrespectful, but these feel more like impersonations than recreations.

HT — mrcomposition09

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