MTV India Showcases AI Rapper ‘Bot Hard’
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MTV India introduced AI-powered virtual rapper ‘Bot Hard’ as its latest star. The robot-presenting digital performance was built for MTV with advertising giant DDB Mudra Group to perform on the MTV Hustle 2.0 show but is also accessible on Instagram, where it will quickly put together a rap on any topic submitted to it, though in somewhat limited form compared to its official raps like the Star Wars one shared above.
Bot Hard uses a specially trained version of OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model to produce its raps. The developers filtered the AI’s training specifically to look for rhymes and rhythms that mimic current rap stars, with continued use continuing to refine its creations. The name of the AI shortens the Hindi term “Bohot Hard,” said after a particularly impressive performance or rhyme in a rap. Those interested can message BotHard on Instagram and submit any word or phrase to get a short rap on the subject in a few minutes, albeit one that always uses the same beat.
“MTV has always been about bold visions and big moves. ‘Bot Hard’ is an example of disruptive, transmedia storytelling that complements the raison d’être for Realme MTV Hustle 2.0,” Viacom18 head of youth, music, and English entertainment Anshul Ailawadi said. “With this initiative, we hope to redefine the consumer experience for our Gen-Z and millennial fans.”
The synthetic voice is very obviously robotic, and the rhymes may not evoke deep excitement or make a cultural impact on their own, judging from some of the response raps on Instagram. Still, at least Bot Hard should fare better than AI rapper FN Meka, who lost a Capitol Records deal after a couple of weeks thanks to its 10 million TikTok followers after heated debates over its look and the true ownership of the virtual performer’s tracks caused a meltdown at AI record label Factory New. The record deal signing prompted rapper Kyle the Hooligan to issue a counter-claim that he both wrote and performed the first three FN Meka songs and helped craft the background persona in exchange for equity that he never received. FN Meka co-creator Anthony Martini soon quit Factory New. The purely robotic look and sound of BotHard and its simplistic lyrics will likely protect it from those charges.
That said, music and synthetic media have a growing connection in both performance and song creation. AI assistant LyricStudio has helped musicians write more than a million songs, while MTV is making metaverse performances their own category for its award shows.
“While this idea is built on cutting-edge technology, the most exciting part for us was how true it had to stay to hip-hop culture for it to be accepted by the audience,” DDB Mudra Group chief creative officer Rahul Mathew said. “It lives at the right intersection of culture, creativity, and technology.”