AI rapper FN Meka dropped by Capitol Records following backlash over racial stereotypes

An AI rapper
Virtual rapper FN Meka.
(FN Meka)

Capitol Records has dropped AI rapper FN Meka, less than two weeks after it signed the computer-generated rap artist to its roster.

FN Meka, which has over 10 million followers on TikTok, had come under heavy fire for appropriating Black culture and mocking police brutality, with some critics calling it “digital blackface.”

“CMG has severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately,” a representative for Capitol Music Group said in a statement. “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.”


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Capitol Records is home to such artists as Coldplay, Sam Smith, Katy Perry and Halsey. It is owned by the industry-leading Universal Music Group.

Meka was co-created by Anthony Martini and Brandon Le, who together founded the “virtual record label” Factory New. The company uses artificial intelligence to study popular music and create songs, while also using augmented reality to create content for Meka’s TikTok.

“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 told Music Business Worldwide in 2021. “We then combine these elements to create the song.”

After Capitol announced the signing of FN Meka on Aug. 12, some music fans accused the robot’s creators of stealing from Black culture while also making a mockery of the systems that oppress Black people. One Twitter user resurfaced a photo the character had posted on Instagram in 2019, which showed him being assaulted by a virtual police officer in jail because he refused to “snitch.”

“Police brutality,” the caption read. “What should I do?!?! This guard keeps beating me w/ his baton because I won’t snitch. I ain’t no rat. Life in prison is so depressing... I wish i could get out so I could start making [fire] music again.”


Meka’s Instagram has since been set to private, and Martini and Le haven’t commented on the departure from Capitol. Meka’s song “Florida Water,” which features rappers Gunna and Clix, has since been removed from TikTok and streaming services.

“The AI rapper is the natural progression of the digital blackface I’ve been talking about for years...” one user wrote.

“fn meka is literally just blackface lmao there isn’t any nuance …,” said another.

Industry Blackout, the collective that previously called on Instagram users to post black squares in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, released a statement on Tuesday calling Capitol’s decision to sign Meka “tone deaf.”

“This digital effigy is a careless abomination and disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life,” the group wrote. “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.”