Weeks after Capitol Records announced the “signing” of FN Meka – a virtual “robot rapper” launched by creative start-up Factory New – the Universal-owned label has shared a statement confirming it has “severed ties” with the project.
Capitol Music Group announced their partnership with Factory New on August 12, saying the FN Meka project “meets at the intersection of music, technology and gaming culture” and “is just a preview of what’s to come”.
The same day, Capitol released its first FN Meka single, ‘Florida Water’, which featured guest vocals from (real life) rapper Gunna and ancillary involvement from gaming streamer Clix.
Though vocals credited to FN Meka were performed by a real human being (the identity of whom is currently unknown), the lyrics were reportedly generated by an AI-powered algorithm.
Shortly after the song was released and the “signing” made public, Capitol faced backlash over its involvement with the project.
Critics pointed to the way the project trivialised elements of Black culture and used them for shock value – something the label alluded to in a formal apology shared online by The New York Times.