Travis Scott now has some artificial intelligence competition, thanks to a new experiment from digital agency Space150.
The tech-focused creative shop has produced a song with lyrics and melodies generated entirely by a machine learning model trained on the rapper’s music. Complete with a music video starring a computer distorted deepfake of Scott, the track features heavily auto-tuned nonsense rhymes like “I know you talkin’ trippy on my blade/I just want your first name.”
While the project wasn’t designed for any particular client, the agency wanted to test the bounds of such neural network tech in creative capacities in order to determine where it might fit into brand work in the future. Recent advances in generative machine learning and natural language processing AI have opened a host of new creative avenues for the tech, as well as concerns over fake news and spam production and deepfakes.
The team decided that a fun line of experimentation could be to create a whole song with AI and chose Scott for his distinct personal style, according to Ned Lampert, executive creative director at Space150.
“We were sort of fascinated with like, ‘What if we tried to make a song—like an actual good song—by using AI and basically creative directing AI?'” Lampert said. “And so we chose Travis Scott just because he is just such a unique artist and he has a unique sound and everything sort of has an aesthetic to it, both audibly and visually.”
The creative team began to feed lyrics to a text generator model over the course of about two weeks until it was able to produce its own rhyming verses in an imitation of Scott’s style. Lampert was struck by some of the initial quirks in the bot’s output, like an obsession with eating that is still apparent in lines like, “I can’t eat all on this money now.”
“The bot kept talking about food,” Lampert said. “There was one line like, ‘I don’t want to fuck your party food,’ and we’re just like, ‘What?!'”
While the verses were being formulated, the agency used additional neural network programs to create melodies and percussion arrangements to accompany them. The final release also includes a vinyl single of the track and an augmented reality app that superimposes gold chains floating above the spinning record.
Lampert is also holding out hope that Scott himself might eventually see the video of his AI twin, dubbed “Travis Bott.”
While the agency hasn’t done much work with AI before now, Lampert said the project made abundantly clear that the tech is not ready to handle a creative project on its own without some heavy human supervision. That said, he was impressed with its potential as a creative tool, especially when it comes to surfacing random crazy ideas.
“It came up with things that we would never come up with,” Lampert said. “I love the beautiful mistakes that we make all the time that get turned into work or [situations] where someone says something ridiculous and then we end up doing it. And there were some of those types of behaviors within this process.”
Agencies and brands have begun to experiment with the potential of sophisticated new generative AI technology. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners used deepfake tech to power a campaign for the Dalí museum last year, for instance, and AKQA used AI to generate a brand-new sport.