Did Metro Boomin create BBL Drizzy AI-generated meme of Drake started as joke

Did Metro Boomin create BBL Drizzy AI-generated meme of Drake started as joke

When Drake offhandedly told Metro Boomin to “make some drums” in a diss track aimed at Kendrick Lamar, the superproducer took the challenge to heart. What followed was a groundbreaking moment in music production, blending humor, technology, and a bit of controversy. The result was “BBL Drizzy,” an AI-generated meme track that has since taken the internet by storm.

The beat, dubbed “BBL Drizzy,” features a vintage-sounding soul vocalist layered over 808 drums. Metro Boomin released it on SoundCloud on May 5, inviting fans to add their own verses for a chance to win a free beat. The track quickly went viral, but the twist came when it was revealed that the soulful voice was not real. The entire song, including the vocals, melody, and instrumental, was generated by Udio, an AI music startup founded by former Google Deep Mind engineers. Metro Boomin was unaware of the AI origins when he used the track, making his diss track the first notable instance of AI-generated sampling in mainstream music.

King Willonius, a comedian, musician, and content creator, was the human behind the AI-generated song. Inspired by a Rick Ross tweet joking that Drake looked like he had a Brazilian Butt Lift, Willonius wrote the lyrics and used Udio to generate the music. “I think it’s a misconception that people think AI wrote ‘BBL Drizzy,'” Willonius told Billboard. “There’s no way AI could write lyrics like ‘I’m thicker than a Snicker and I got the best BBL in history.'”

The use of AI in music production raises numerous issues—legal, philosophical, cultural, and technical—that need to be addressed before AI sampling becomes mainstream. However, the potential benefits are clear. AI can create vintage-sounding samples that producers can use without the lengthy and complicated process of sample clearances. Todd Rubenstein, a music attorney, notes that even high-profile producers like Metro Boomin face challenges in clearing samples. Grammy-winning writer/producer Oak Felder echoes this sentiment, sharing his own difficulties in clearing samples for major artists.

For smaller producers, the legal risks of sampling established songs are even more daunting. Some go ahead without permission, leading to legal troubles, as seen with Young Kio’s use of a Nine Inch Nails sample in Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” AI-generated samples could simplify these issues, as Udio’s co-founder David Ding suggests. Udio’s model excels at creating realistic songs in styles like ’70s Motown soul, classical, and electronic music.

Willonius believes AI samples offer a solution for musicians in today’s fast-paced news cycle. AI allowed him to respond quickly to the Drake-Kendrick feud, something he couldn’t have done without these tools. Evan Bogart, a Grammy-winning songwriter, likens AI sampling to digital crate digging, allowing producers to generate new ideas that sound like old soul samples.

The financial implications of traditional sampling are significant. Ariana Grande had to give up 90% of her publishing income for “7 Rings” to the writers of “My Favorite Things,” and that was just an interpolation. AI could help avoid such costs and hassles, but users must be cautious. Rubenstein advises understanding the terms of service and how AI models are trained, as many use copyrighted material without consent.

Udio’s terms of service place the risk on users, stating they must defend and indemnify the company against any claims arising from the use of generated works. When asked about the training data, Ding was vague, saying they use publicly available data from the internet. This lack of transparency is a concern, as the legality of using copyrighted material for AI training is still being determined.

Despite these challenges, AI could revolutionize music production if used correctly. Diaa El All, CEO of Soundful, another AI music company, believes AI can make things easier with proper licensing. His company ensures they do not use copyrighted materials without consent, focusing on creating novel AI samples.

The impact of AI on music production is already being felt. “BBL Drizzy” might have started as a joke, but it has serious implications. Felder believes this is just the beginning, predicting a surge in AI-generated tracks. The song’s success has led to its use in various settings, from weddings to gyms, and even a convent.

Willonius Hatcher, the man behind “BBL Drizzy,” is overwhelmed by the song’s success. Initially created as a humorous take on Drake’s rumored surgery, the track has become a cultural phenomenon. Metro Boomin’s remix and the subsequent “BBL Drizzy” challenge propelled the song to new heights, making it a recognizable hit.

Drake himself, along with rapper Sexxy Red, sampled “BBL Drizzy” in their new track “U My Everything,” making Drake the first artist to clear a sample for an AI-generated track. This move has opened a Pandora’s box, potentially altering the music industry forever. Martin Clancy, chair of the IEEE Global AI Ethics committee, warns that while the joke is funny, the consequences are serious.

Hatcher, who is not a musician but a comedy writer, used AI to create “BBL Drizzy” at a high level. The song’s human-authored lyrics required legal clearance, resulting in a deal where Hatcher received an advance fee and a portion of the publishing profits. This groundbreaking deal sets a precedent for future AI-generated music.

The rise of AI in music production poses a threat to many jobs in the industry. While well-known producers may retain their value, smaller “bedroom producers” could be eliminated. Gary Greenstein, a music lawyer, notes that AI could dry up income sources for those who produce beats on the side.

Despite these concerns, AI also offers opportunities. Platforms like Sumo allow small-time producers to gain recognition, and AI-generated music can go viral on platforms like TikTok and Spotify. For creators like Hatcher, AI has opened new doors, leading to collaboration requests and commercial opportunities.

As AI continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly shape the future of music production. While it may never fully replace human creativity, AI offers new tools and possibilities for artists and producers. The success of “BBL Drizzy” is just the beginning, and the music industry must adapt to this new reality.

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