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Cadence Weapon takes aim at the algorithm in technology-critical album


Cadence Weapon says the release of his tech-skeptical rap album couldn’t be timed any better thanks to Drake’s latest diss battle.

The Edmonton-raised rapper, born Rollie Pemberton, dropped “Rollercoaster” the same day Toronto’s hip-hop superstar surprised the internet with “Taylor Made Freestyle” late last month.

Drake’s lyrical grenade was lobbed at rap contemporary Kendrick Lamar and utilized artificial intelligence to simulate guest vocals by Snoop Dogg and the late Tupac Shakur.

The track, which Drake yanked from his Instagram after Shakur’s estate threatened legal action, stoked debate about the ethics of AI voices and cut straight to the heart of themes on Pemberton’s new album.

“Rollercoaster” mines observations from an algorithmic culture that Pemberton says has encouraged derivative art, reduced itself to chasing “likes,” and led to a generation of addicted and unpaid content creators.

Pemberton previously dabbled in the detriments of tech culture on his Polaris Music Prize-winning 2021 album “Parallel World,” which included the song “On Me,” about the effects of a modern surveillance state.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2024.

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