An AI-powered rapper has signed to Capitol Records making him the first "AI artist" to sign a deal with a major record label.
FN Meka, is the creation of Anthony Martini and Brandon Le who say that his music is almost entirely AI-generated — apart from his voice, which is that of a real human.
“Technically speaking, FN Meka is voiced by a human, but everything else about him, from his lyrics to the chords and tempo underpinning his music, is based on AI,” Martini told Music Business Worldwide.
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Martini also told MBW that the artist was created “using thousands of data points compiled from video games and social media”— the AI power behind the virtual face uses an algorithm to find rhyming words and databases of rap tropes to compile lyrics.
The AI rapper - who racks up some 10 million followers on TikTok, 200,000 on Instagram, and now has a song with Gunna - sparked controversy after news of his signing hit social media over the weekend.
The robot’s creator, Martini, who is white, sees FN Meka use the n-word throughout verses and post sensitive content on Instagram.
“An AI rapper that says the n-word fabricating police brutality… literally every single thing about this is so off-key,” said one Twitter user.
An AI rapper that says the n-word fabricating police brutality… literally every single thing about this is so off-key pic.twitter.com/9bC7odudlZ— mitch (@limitedmitch) August 23, 2022
“The news of FN Meka being the first AI rapper out there and also being a slap in the face to rap culture & artistic integrity is also potentially gonna ruin the perception of music fronted by robot characters,” said another.
Others are put out by the AI rapper’s quick rise to success and argue that the signing could have been used on a real up-and-coming musician instead.
“FN Meka already got 500k monthly Spotify listeners and a song with Gunna. The system is broken,” another user said on Twitter.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter