LSU Star Flau’jae’s Potential Record Deal With Columbia Records + Bu Thiam Weighs In On AI Artists

Hot off of her win against the Iowa Hawkeyes, star LSU basketballer Flau’jae Johnson is now in talks to sign with Bu Thiam of Columbia Records. TMZ caught up with the EVP while at a local airport.

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On April 9th, TMZ caught up with former Def Jam Records Vice President Bu Thiam, who is now the Executive Vice President of Columbia Records, while he was at a local airport to hear his thoughts on LSU women’s basketball star guard Flau’jae Johnson. Aside from a head-turning win at the National Championship against the Iowa Hawkeyes on April 2, 2023, Johnson has also had a burgeoning music career as a rapper.  

At just 19, the Georgia native has amassed hundreds of thousands of views on her YouTube channel with several music videos and live performances under her belt, including receiving flowers from America’s Got Talent’s Simon Cowell and freestyling on Sway in the Morning

When TMZ asked if Flau’jae had potential, the EVP was blunt:

“From what I see, she’s been doing this for a while now,” Thiam stated. “It just so happens she has basketball skills but she’s a real rapper, for real.”

Bu Dishes On AI In Music

The conversation then pivoted to AI in music. AI being used to mimic the voice of rappers has recently gone viral. Many rappers including Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West have had their likenesses used to manufacture entirely new songs. 

Earlier this month, Big Boy reacted to an AI song that used vocals that sounded eerily similar to Kanye’s on his radio show. 

Thiam again spoke directly from the heart:

“We got to embrace the technology. It can be scary at times but some things are uncontrollable.” 

He also added that Swizz Beatz sent a few AI-generated tracks his way which only affirmed his beliefs. Thiam thought the audio sounded identical to the specific artists — and some occasions it would sound better than the original artist. 

TMZ’s full interview with Bu Tham can be seen below. 

Capitol Records Under Fire for “Signing” AI Rapper FN Meka

While people like Bu Thiam are hopping onto the AI artists train, the reception to computer-generated musicians wasn’t always so well-received. In August 2022, Capitol Records came under heavy scrutiny after announcing their first robot rapper, FN Meka.