Bad Bunny has entered the turbulent controversy over the development of artificial intelligence (AI). The Puerto Rican singer — whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio — lashed out on Tuesday against a viral reggaeton song that uses AI to emulate his voice. “If you guys like that shitty song that’s viral on TikTok, get out of this group right now. You do not deserve to be my friends,” he wrote in a message in his WhatsApp channel. The song called NostalgIA (a play on words, as IA means AI in Spanish) has been seen more half a million times on TikTok and has nearly a million streams on Spotify.
The track was made by FlowGPT, a social media user who plays with AI to create unusual collaborations. FlowGPT says that he created the concept “to compose global hits based on all the data available on the artists of the moment.” With a dozen tracks to his name, FlowGPT has more than 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. In his AI-generated songs, he has mixed Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA with Colombian singer Feid and Mexican singer Luis Miguel with the band Featherweight.
For NostalgIA, he emulates the vocals of Bad Bunny and Spanish performer Bad Gyal. The Catalan artist even shared a video on TikTok with the song in the background and the message: “I was all excited, and then I discovered that it was AI.” Hours later, she deleted the video.
FlowGPT was quick to respond to Bad Bunny’s criticism, addressing him by his first name. “Do you remember that Benito from before? His hunger to be heard? To mark a before and after in music? There are millions of Benitos around the world, who are frustrated, but have incredible talent. Unfortunately, these Benitos will never have the same opportunity as you,” he said in a video.
In the video, FlowGPT highlighted the importance of Bad Bunny’s collaboration with Arcángel in Tu no Vive Así (2016), which helped the Puerto Rican singer reach the top of the charts. “What would have come of Bad Bunny without Arcángel?” asks FlowGPT, who appears as an avatar in the video.
AI-generated music has been on the rise for months. In May of this year, Spotify deleted tens of thousands of AI-made songs in an attempt to stem the spate of fraud. The streaming platform, however, noted that the decision did not stem from the artificial origin of the music, but from the fact that the songs were being used to collect royalties on behalf of fraudulent accounts.
Bad Bunny has tried to move away from his reggaeton sound in his latest album, Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana (No One Knows What Is Going to Happen Tomorrow), which was released in October. The 22-song album is a return to his first steps in trap, a genre that he has brought back to the top of the charts. In his criticism of NostalgIA, Bad Bunny explained: “That’s why I made the new album, to get rid of people like that. So, shoo, shoo, go away.”