Capitol Records drops AI rapper FN Meka, apologizes for “insensitivity”

Earlier this week, FN Meka became the "world's first AI rapper" to sign to a major label, Capitol Records, and quickly stirred up controversy because of its use of the N word and for making light of police brutality. Now, Capitol has dropped him. The New York Times' Joe Coscarelli shared a statement from Capitol, which reads:

CMG has severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately. 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.

As Pitchfork points out, activist group Industry Blackout posted a statement urging Capitol to drop FN Meka, hours before they did. It reads:

It has come to our attention that your company has decided to partner with Factory New on signing the artificially designed ‘rapper’ FN Meka. While we applaud innovation in tech that connects listeners to music and enhances the experience, we find fault in the lack of awareness in how offensive this caricature is. It is a direct insult to the Black community and our culture. An amalgamation of gross stereotypes, appropriative mannerisms that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics.

This digital effigy is a careless abomination and disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life. For example, Gunna, a Black artist who is featured on a song with FN Meka, is currently incarcerated for rapping the same type of lyrics this robot mimics. The difference is, your artificial rapper will not be subject to federal charges for such.

For your company to approve this shows a serious lack of diversity and resounding amount of tone deaf leadership, this is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

We demand this partnership be terminated, a formal public apology be issued, FN Meka removed from all platforms. Furthermore, all monies spent by Capitol Records and Factory New for this project will be allocated to charitable organizations that directly support Black youth in the arts, as well as marketing budgets for Black artists signed to Capitol Records. We look forward to your response and compliance.

As for the actual humans behind FN Meka, he was co-created by none other than E.Town Concrete vocalist Anthony Martini and his current business partner Brandon Le.