The Controversial Virtual Rapper Has Been Dropped From Its Label

Days ago, Capitol Records signed the first virtual rapper, FN Meka. That artist, made of artificial intelligence, had emerged from a TikTok sensation with over 10 million followers to join the same storied label behind MC Hammer and Chingy and The Beach Boys and Beastie Boys. However, just days after a high-profile, newsworthy deal, Capitol has dropped FN Meka from its roster.

However, even though not a real person, FN Meka was controversial. Ambrosia For Heads was among those who reported that the artist’s persona was largely based on caricatures of rappers like 6ix9ine, XXXTentacion, and Lil Pump, including colorful braided hair, face tattoos, and gold teeth. Moreover, the bot, who as a million-plus-streaming song with Gunna and Clix rapped about materialistic items, smoking weed, and racking up big bills. Meka also marked a move for labels, pulling dollars away from human artists and putting it in the hands of creators. The Game, fresh off of his DRILLMATIC Heart vs. Mind release, decried the move. Fans also pointed out that in 2019, prior to his signing, the bot had used the N-word in lyrics, particularly on the song “Moonwalkin’.”

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As reported by Genius, the creators of FN Meka are brothers Chris and Brandon Le, who teamed with music executive Anthony Martini to launch the rapper under their record label Factory New. With Martini’s in the mix, FN Meka released  “Moonwalkin” and “Internet,” two songs that each used the N-word repeatedly. The report stated that the lyrics at the time were voiced by human rapper Kyle the Hooligan.

Activist group Industry Blackout was among those demanding action from Capitol, especially given that those behind FN Meka were using culturally insensitive and stereotypical themes to present an artist. Earlier today, the nonprofit called for a public apology, as well as the donation of any Capitol dollars allocated to FN Meka’s campaign to be repurposed for charity and the budgets of Black artists on Capitol. “We find fault in the lack of awareness in how offensive this caricature is,” the activist group wrote. “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.”

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Less than a day later, the label, who aligned with the protests of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, responded to the pressure. “[Capitol Music Group] has severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately,” Capitol Music Group relayed in a statement circulated by The New York Times staff writer Joe Coscarelli. “We offer our deepest condolences to the Black community for our insensitivity in signing this project without asking enough questions about the 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.” Despite its viral success, Capitol also removed FN Meka’s single from many of the digital streaming platforms.

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Capitol’s current roster includes Masego, Kay Flock, and the Beasties.

#BonusBeat: Find plenty of dope Hip-Hop songs made by actual humans on the “art-official” Ambrosia For Heads playlist: