AI-powered rapper FN Meka has been dropped by Capitol Records after facing a severe backlash for what has been dubbed by nonprofit organisation INDUSTRY BLACKOUT as an “abomination, disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life.”
The AI-powered virtual rapper first signed a record deal with Capitol Records in August of last year and has been racking up a fair amount of streams since. The bots first single, ‘Florida Water,’ featured rapper Gunna and the gaming streamer Clix. However, as the virtual rapper grew bigger, fans started to identify problems.
In a music video of FN Meka, the AI rapper is seen being beaten by police as he refuses to snitch. However, with the death of George Floyd still fresh in peoples’ minds, this virtual showcase of a police brutality scenario for entertainment purposes was insensitive, to say the least. One outraged Twitter user wrote, “An AI rapper that says the n-word fabricating police brutality… literally every single thing about this is so off-key.”
The discontent continued to grow, with people feeling like the virtual rapper was perpetuating negative stereotypes of black people. Furthermore, there was mass confusion as to why the racially ambiguous character, who was not obviously black, was freely and negatively using the word “n*gga” in his songs.
INDUSTRY BLACKOUT put out a statement addressed to capitol records to prompt this cancellation, stating that, among other things, “we find fault in the lack of awareness of how offensive this caricature is. It is a direct insult to the black community and our culture. An amalgamation of stereotypes and appropriative mannerisms that derive from black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics”
The statement went on to request that all the money made from the project be distributed among black grassroots organisations that actually help black people who suffer from police brutality and the likes and requested that some of the money be allocated to real black artists for marketing.
Capitol Music Group, CMG, offered its “deepest apologies to the black community for [its] insensitivity”, and after parting ways with the AI-rapper, stated, “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,” they added.
You can view INDUSTRY BLACKOUT’s statement below.