The music business can be tough–even for a visual artist. One minute, Capitol Records is touting its latest signing FN Meka, a virtual rapper. The next minute, FN Meka gets cut, and Capitol says it wants nothing to do with the Artificial Intelligence project. The company also is an apologizing to Black America over the concerns the community has about A.I.
FN Meka was to be the world’s first augmented reality – or “AR” – artist to sign with a major label. He’s already a major sensation online and has more than one billion views on TikTok. FN Meka is the platform’s top “virtual being.”
AR and A work together. An AR application can have A.I. incorporated into it.
Technically, FN Meka is voiced by a human, but everything else about his music is based in A.I.
At the signing, Capitol described the project as a mix of music, technology and gaming culture.
Issues with A.I.
Studies have proven A.I. has a gender and race problem. Even the government tests have found that top-performing facial recognition systems using A.I. misidentify blacks at rates five to 10 times higher than they do whites. Blacks have been mislabeled as primates at times.
Capitol Cuts Ties with FN Meka and Says Sorry
“CMG has severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately,” Capitol Music Group said in a press statement provided to Complex. “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.”
Soon after Capital had announced the FN Meka project, activist group Industry Blackout demanded an apology from Capitol Records and called FN Meka “a direct insult to the Black community and our culture,” Complex reported.
Industry Blackout called the A.I. rapper “an amalgamation of gross stereotypes, appropriative mannerism that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics.”
FN Meka’s music
FN Meka already had over 10 million followers on TikTok. The people behind FN Meka teamed up with gaming influencer Cody “Clix” Conrod and Gunna, the latter of whom is currently facing charges in a RICO case alongside Atlanta rapper Young Thug for the single “Florida Water.”
The song “Florida Water” has since been removed from streaming services and FN Meka’s Instagram is now private.