On Wednesday (Aug. 2), Lupe Fiasco and Google announced the launch of a new application titled TextFX. As explained on its official website, the AI-based tool is “designed to expand the writing process by generating creative possibilities with text and language.”
For Lupe, TextFX — which is run through Google’s PaLM 2 large language model — is the latest example of hip hop’s long-standing relationship with automation. “Rap is born out of technology. Rap wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for these technological advancements,” he explained in a short video on the aforementioned development. “DJing, for example, and direct drive turntables, so you’re able to be very accurate with breakbeats and stuff like that. Microphones, recording studios, now you’re able to lay more ideas.”
As far as TextFX’s purpose, Lupe worked with creative technologist Aaron Wade and his team to provide songwriters with beneficial resources at will. “So, initially, we thought that maybe Lupe would want an AI system to write lyrics for him, verses and raps. But it turns out he didn’t want that at all,” Wade stated. “What he wanted was a tool that helped him explore the universe of possibilities that can arise from any given word or phrase or concept.”
Giving viewers a hands-on example, Lupe showed how TextFX helped him to create a song titled “Glass of Water.” Feeding words into the program allowed him to find different rhymes, metaphors, and more using definitions, syllables, and other aspects of locution.
“What we did is we assembled a data set of all of these different examples of these word explosions,” Wade added. “The result of that is this bite-sized AI tool that can take any word as input [and] explode it into all these different possibilities in the same way that Lupe does.”
Check out the creation of “Glass of Water” using TextFX below.
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