Anthony Martini, co-creator of AI rapper FN Meka, said the character was made because the traditional A&R is “inefficient and unreliable.”
AI artists like FN Meka might be the future of music. One week after signing to Capitol Records and debuting his first single “Florida Water” with Gunna and Fortnite player Cody “Clix” Conrod, some social media users have been outraged about the “world’s first” AI-powered rapper.
On Tuesday, August 23 after Industry Blackout a collective released a statement calling for Capitol to stop its partnership with FN Meka and release a formal apology the label has parted ways with the “caricature.” Joe Coscarelli, music reporter at The New York Times broke the news here.
breaking: Capitol Records “has severed ties” with the A.I. rapper FN Meka, “effective immediately,” following days of backlash over the caricature
— Joe Coscarelli (@joecoscarelli) August 23, 2022
Meka boasts 10M followers on TikTok where he flexes his private airplanes and hibachi-serving Rolls Royce.
Is my giant roomba getting too smart? 🤖🧠
What color is your Bugatti? 🛩
Name one rapper that has a hibachi Rolls Royce like me 🤔
The “robot rapper” has also attracted controversy for saying the n-word and mocking police brutality.
Nothing shocks me anymore pic.twitter.com/nAzu8RCA3Q
— Ahmed/The Ears 🇸🇴 (@big_business_) August 23, 2022
The character was launched in 2019 by Anthony Martini and Brandon Le of virtual record label Factory New. Despite the backlash, Martini told Music Business Worldwide in 2021 that the AI rapper is his response to the “inefficient and unreliable” traditional A&R.
“We’ve developed a proprietary AI technology that analyzes certain popular songs of a specified genre and generates recommendations for the various elements of song construction: lyrical content, chords, melody, tempo, sounds, etc.,” Martini said at the time. “We then combine these elements to create the song.”
Martini added that, “a human voice performs the vocals, but we are working towards the ability to have a computer come up with and perform its own words – and even collaborate with other computers as ‘co-writers.’”
In the same year, Martini spoke with The Daily Beast and compared Meka to electronic producer and DJ Marshmello, whose identity is veiled by an oversized helmet.
You could look at a guy like Marshmello – he’s not real for all intents and purposes either. He could be a digital being too and it wouldn’t make a difference to the fans of the music,” Martini said. “We’re trying to blur those lines even more and trying to bring everyone to the future.”
Meka faces heavy criticism from Black creators who say that their culture is being appropriated by the AI rapper for white consumption.
See how others are responding the Capitol Records’ first AI artist:
Here is what FN Meka’s music sounds like
The AI rapper has over 10 million followers on TikTokpic.twitter.com/kc7jad352v
— XXL Magazine (@XXL) August 21, 2022
Racist undertones and a mirror of Tekashi 69. Someone gotta find the developers
— f targaryens szn bieb (@jabiscuits) August 22, 2022
Capitol Records just signed the first ever AI virtual rapper, FN Meka. pic.twitter.com/tHAWys72Zj
— Kingz (@NFTKingz) August 23, 2022
I had to check that FN Meka thing out and it’s just weird. Almost as cringe as actual humans doing these dumb ass TikToks.
Just leave this concept to the Gorillaz pic.twitter.com/aU386Gc20x
— Selina 🏼 (@Sleeee_33) August 22, 2022
The tech industry and music industry are largely anti-artist. FN Meka is novelty now, but the moment they land an A.I. hit (which will be soon, thanks to Tik Tok), pop artists are screwed. Other genres will follow https://t.co/XhlTRRLOV5
— Atoms For Ps (@mattVISTA) August 22, 2022
Siri don’t say nigga, Alexa don’t say nigga, why does FN Meka say nigga?
— Rascal Has Died (@sewersiderascal) August 23, 2022