DeepBeat is a machine learning algorithm that mines large amounts of data to create rap.
Image: Screenshot from DeepBeat
DeepBeat is a machine learning algorithm that generates rap lyrics by mining data from preexisting rap songs. At the moment, the database pulls from 641,000 lines and 12,500 songs produced by more than one hundred artists in Finnish and in English. Featured artists include US rapper Lil Wayne, hip hop artist Sage Francis, and rapper Jay-Z to name a few. Sadly, you can't rap in Japanese or Spanish just yet.
DeepBeat was previously only available for research purposes, developed by researchers from the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, and Helsinki Institute of Information Technology. Lead developer, Eric Malmi, a researcher at the department of computer science at Aalto University, told me that the aim is to produce lyrics that both rhyme and fit together well.
"We've published this online so that everyone can try this rap generator and create the lyrics they want," Malmi told me.
The rap generator helps users create a whole new rap verse by combining rhymes from existing songs. You can also ask the generator to give you a selection of options so that you can choose which rhyme fits the best. You can also put your own rhyme at the beginning of a verse, then ask the programme to make a verse that matches.
In the early stages of this project, the researchers created this rap song with DeepBeat and a US rapper.
Now that the generator is available to the public, Malmi said he was excited to see what people would produce, as well as improve the algorithm based on their feedback.
"When we first published the paper, people were saying it will be fun to write a rap song for a birthday party or something—that's why we wanted to make it publicly available," said Malmi.
"Also, by collecting data about how people use this algorithm, we can use this data to improve the algorithm and validate it: Does the algorithm generate good lyrics?"
Though Malmi didn't want to pull the plug on users' rap star dreams, he explained that there were still some technical hiccups. The generator tends to mash together a bunch of rhymes that sometimes don't make sense.
I asked for a line that rhymed with 'game' but the options weren't that great.
"The most difficult part when you try to do it automatically, is how to create lyrics and verses that make sense and that form some kind of story line," said Malmi. "The computer needs to understand the meaning of the words rather than find one randomly."