Wednesday, June 19, 2024

No, Drake’s Cover of ‘Hey There Delilah’ Isn’t AI

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As if he didn’t have enough to deal with amid his beef with Kendrick Lamar (or perhaps to distract from it), Drake showed up on a remix of parody rapper Snowd4y’s cover of Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah,” called “Wah Gwan Delilah,” that has everyone … perplexed? Annoyed? Laughing?

Let’s walk through this together. It’s a mess.

On Monday, a fresh remix of “Wah Gwan Delilah” showed up on Snowd4y’s SoundCloud. It had what appeared to be Drake joining the comedian in a series of quips about women and name-checks of Toronto landmarks like the Yonge-Dundas Square mall. (“Wah gwan” is Jamaican patois for “What’s up?” and is common in the city, which has long had a sizable population of people of Caribbean descent.)

As the track spread, it made its way to the Plain White T’s themselves, who posted a video on X and TikTok with the caption “too stunned to speak.” Front man Tom Higgenson also says, “It’s crazy that everybody thinks that it’s real,” seemingly referencing early rumors that Drake’s lyrics were generated using artificial intelligence. Higgenson also makes a series of faces that give off the appearance that he just smelled a fart.

Those rumors, though, are likely untrue. Drake posted the song to his Instagram Story, seemingly confirming its authenticity.

It’s easy to see, though, why everyone was confused. AI, as WIRED’s Evy Kwong pointed out Thursday on TikTok, has become so prevalent that it has caused people to question everything. When the song “Heart on My Sleeve” dropped, it took many people several listens to realize it wasn’t actually Drake and The Weeknd. Many fans probably never would’ve known the Beatles’ “Now and Then” wasn’t just a pristine long-lost tape if Paul McCartney hadn’t touted the AI needed to save it. Johnny Cash covers Taylor Swift from beyond the grave. Examples of AI’s ability to fool our ears feel truly endless.

The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to TikTok.

With the realness of Drake’s presence on “Wah Gwan Delilah” seemingly confirmed, the floodgates opened. Rap Twitter, as Billboard noted, had a field day “with the main perception being that after losing the battle to Kendrick, Drake is now just losing it in general” and “leaning into his Toronto-ness” for some image repair.

Likely, this will have the opposite effect. While Drake Reddit is screaming that it’s satire and if people don’t get it, “the joke is probably on you,” other swaths of the internet remain unable to keep a straight face—or at least a non-cringing one. Vulture, in its writeup of the remix, simply said “post-beef Drake cannot be serious.”

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