Just a week after major record label Capitol Records made waves by signing the world’s first ‘AI rapper’, the virtual artist has been dropped for racial stereotyping.
On August 14, Capitol announced that it had signed the artificially intelligent rapper — who uses algorithms and popular rap tropes to create their tracks — with the news quickly spreading across social media over the weekend.
Onlookers shortly caught wind of the controversial rapper’s use of the n-word, as well as sensitive posts on Instagram which have previously shown the virtual artist being beaten by police.
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While the AI artist is controlled by algorithms lyrically, he’s said to be voiced “by a black man”, according to the artist’s creators, Anthony Martini and Brandon Le.
Capitol Records have since apologised for the impromptu signing arguing that they had not “asked enough questions” before making the deal.
“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,” reads a statement from the label.
“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.”
Black activist group Industry Blackout addressed a statement to Capitol Records shortly before the label severed ties with FN Meka, calling the AI artist “offensive” and a “direct insult to the Black community and our culture”.
The virtual rapper released his first track, ‘Florida Water’, last week through Capitol. The track featured gamer Clix and rapper Gunna, who is currently imprisoned in Atlanta.
“This digital effigy is a careless abomination and disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life,” they added.
“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.”
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter