A rapper powered solely by artificial intelligence (AI) has been signed by Capitol Records, before being unceremoniously dumped from the label almost two weeks later following widespread backlash.
FN Meka was the first AI artist to sign a deal with a major record label, although his success was incredibly short-lived.
Capitol Records signs it’s FIRST artificial intelligence rapper @fn_meka— #spilltheTEA TV on Youtube (@spilltheteaaTV) August 13, 2022
FN Meka has 10million TikTok followers, he’s performed at Rolling Loud, he runs on an X-Box treadmill for workouts, and does NFT auctions & giveaways.
TikTok: https://t.co/QjViqu6OJm pic.twitter.com/6ZqLiAo9Ew
Activists claimed that the fake rapper, who was created by a white-skinned team, perpetuated Black stereotypes in his music and used the n-word repeatedly.
"CMG has severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately," the label's group said in a statement as per Variety.
"We offer our deepest apologies to the Black community for our insensitivity in signing this project without asking enough questions about equity and the creative process behind it.
"We thank those who have reached out to us with constructive feedback in the past couple of days - your input was invaluable as we came to the decision to end our association with the project."
Prior to Capitol axing the AI musician, Capitol came under fire on social media for their decision to sign the TikTok famous rapper.
One user said: "This AI rapper, FN Meka, is not only dumb, but feels a bit racist. It’s like AI blackface, black cosplay, minstrelsy."
A second added: "OK I watched an FN Meka clip and hahaha holy s**t that thing is like Jar Jar levels of racist."
A third chipped in with: "An AI rapper that says the n-word fabricating police brutality… literally every single thing about this is so off-key."
This AI rapper, FN Meka, is not only dumb, but feels a bit racist. It’s like AI blackface, black cosplay, minstrelsy https://t.co/WENxAb1Tua— Grio Papi (@ThatBoyGetsIt) August 23, 2022
ok i watched an FN MEKA clip and hahaha holyyyy shit that thing is like Jar Jar levels of racist hahahahah oh lord!— Patrick Marlborough (@Cormac_McCafe) August 24, 2022
Capitol Records’ decision to sever ties with the AI rapper comes shortly after activist group Industry Blackout demanded an apology from the music label.
The activism group called FN Meka 'a direct insult to the Black community and our culture'.
The letter continued, claiming that the music bot was 'an amalgamation of gross stereotypes, appropriative mannerism that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics'.
An AI rapper that says the n-word fabricating police brutality… literally every single thing about this is so off-key pic.twitter.com/9bC7odudlZ— mitch (@limitedmitch) August 23, 2022
Meka, who has over 10 million followers on TikTok, joined forces with gaming influencer Clix and US rapper Gunna to create the track 'Florida Water'.
The song has since been removed from streaming services. FN Meka’s Instagram has also been set to private.
Prior to being dumped by the label, CMG executive Ryan Ruden called the AI muso the 'intersection of music, technology and gaming culture' and 'is just a preview of what’s to come', as per Music Business Worldwide.