Capitol signs then drops an AI rapper because…well, it turned out to be a very bad idea

Earlier this month, Capitol Records announced with great fanfare that it was breaking new ground by signing a virtual AI-based rapper named FN Meka (say it fast.) This, said Capitol, was the music of the future. “The world’s first AR artist to sign with a major label!”

Not so fast. Within seconds of releasing FN Meka’s first single, “Florida Water,” Capitol realized it had made a mistake.

FN Meka turned out to be problematic for a number of reasons. First of all, “Florida Water” featured Gunna, who is now in jail on racketeering charges. Second, the Black community pointed out how FN Meka was a caricature of negative stereotypes. Industry Blackout, an activist 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.”

It took just a few hours for Capitol to respond.

“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.”

I’ll be there were some really interesting closed-door meetings over this one. Anyone else remember the Milkshake Duck meme from 2016?

More at Pitchfork.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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