Grammy-nominated music video “The Heart Part 5,” by Kendrick Lamar, that was released alongside the song on May 8, 2022, almost featured an Eminem deep-fake.
In the video, K. Dot performs the song against a red wall, while using deep-fake technology to transform himself into 6 modern Black American figures: in order, they are former football player and convicted felon O. J. Simpson, rapper Kanye West, actors Jussie Smollett and Will Smith, former basketball player Kobe Bryant, and late rapper Nipsey Hussle.
In a recent interview with The New York Times magazine, it was revealed that Dave Free and Kendrick Lamar collaborated with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who both own a company specializing in the deep fake technology. The famous TV duo lent the technology to the pgLang pair, who were the first artists to use the technology in their music video.
“You see Kendrick turned into Tupac, Kendrick turned into Kanye, and I think we had Eminem and we were like ‘What if we did the Jussie Smollett!” Eminem didn’t make the final cut, and K. Dot ended up on deep fakes of Kanye West, Nipsey Hussle, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, OJ Simpson and Jussie Smollett.
New Jersey rapper who goes by the name of AK took to social media shortly after the video dropped to accuse Kendrick of stealing his idea. Austin Kassabian claimed Kendrick copied the deepfake concept from his “Family Tree” video, which was released back in September 2020. The black-and-white clip shows AK rapping into the camera in front of a blank backdrop as his face transforms into some of the biggest names in hip-hop: Lil Wayne, Missy Elliot, Eminem, MC Lyte, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Nate Dogg, T-Pain, J. Cole, Nas, Rakim, Andre 3000, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Drake.
In the song, AK raps: “I am AK, I am not the next Em / But everybody telling me that I’m the next him / But understand there will never be a next Em / You’ll probably twist my words and say I don’t respect him / I always preach to keep it real so I’m about to now / Em did not influence me ’cause I was not allowed / To listen to him, my parents said I was just a child / I wondered why and I look back and I got it now / My young mind back then probably wasn’t ready / To hear the shit that he talked about, they said he was too edgy / I couldn’t listen to anything, younger me, he was begging / I couldn’t wait to hear the song about his momma’s spaghetti / His influence on me was indirect / ‘Cause I was listening to Hopsin, I was obsessed / I come to find he was the same way when it came to Em.” (via Genius)
You can watch it below: