Nicki Minaj, Who's Used AI, Decries Use of AI

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In the midst of her bizarre beef with Megan “Megan Thee Stallion” Pete, award-winning rapper Onika “Nicki Minaj” Maraj-Petty has signed on with fellow artists to support artificial intelligence regulation — despite leaning way into the tech herself.

Minaj signed an open letter — including signatories as diverse as singer and actress Bette Midler, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell, heavy metal band Lamb of God, and even her other rival, Belcalis Marlenis “Cardi B” Cephus — supporting the “No Artificial Intelligence Fake Replicas And Unauthorized Duplications Act.”

Introduced in the House of Representatives last month, the bill would regulate the use of AI voice replicas.

“The No AI FRAUD Act would defend your fundamental human right to your voice and likeness, protecting everyone from nonconsensual deepfakes,” reads the open letter, which ran in the print edition of USA Today. “Protect your individuality.”

It’s a particularly heated topic as of late. Last year, record label Universal Music Group forced several songs that used AI-generated vocals of Aubrey “Drake” Graham and Abel Makkonen “the Weeknd” Tesfaye to be taken offline.

Just last week, the same label pulled the songs of its comprehensive list of musicians — which includes Taylor Swift and Drake — off TikTok, arguing the network wasn’t doing enough to protect artists from being replaced by AI.

Like the hundreds of other stars who signed the open letter last week, Minaj has taken a not altogether surprising stand to protect her rights to her own voice and likeness.

It gets complicated, however, when considering the imagery she’s used in recent months — including on the single artwork for her Megan Thee Stallion diss track, “Big Foot” — that seems almost certainly generated by AI.

Last month, before turning up the heat on her feud with the younger rapper, Minaj posted a number of more-than-likely AI-generated images promoting her latest single “Press Play.” Done up in the style of the AI fan art that went viral just prior to the release of her latest album, “Pink Friday 2,” the images feature garbled text that has become a hallmark characteristic of AI-generated images.

Almost immediately after Minaj began posting the “Press Play” promos, critics pointed out that she’d begun posting AI-generated images to her stories as part of the single rollout as well.

“Nicki’s entire rollout being AI images is so tiring,” one user on X-formerly-Twitter mused, pointing out that a hand in the image had six fingers.

She didn’t end her AI experimentation there, either.

When promoting her track “Big Foot,” Minaj shared a B-side image for the single that also showed signs of having been generated by an AI, including a weird spelling of the word “police” and an inconsistent number of toes on the comically oversized footprints seen in the image.

Given that she didn’t disclose if any of the images were AI-generated — which will eventually be required on YouTube and Meta products — there’s still a (tiny) chance she hired human artists to come up with the artwork, even if the evidence makes that overwhelmingly unlikely.

Nonetheless, her signing of the open letter could highlight a double standard when it comes to the use of the tech.

While she’s interested in protecting the rights to her own voice and likeness, her support of the rights of human illustrators, who are increasingly wary of being replaced by AI, feels noticeably absent.

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