What in the world is FN Meka?
So if you have or haven’t heard the worlds first signed AI rapper has been cut by their label… which happened pretty quickly. Now while you might have no clue what is going on, and we didn’t either, we will try to fill you in as it is a super weird story that could have pretty big implications on the future of pretty much all aspects of entertainment.
Who or what is FN Meka?
If you do a quick search of FN Meka you will see all the stories bout them/it ?, who knows how to refer to them as , being dropped so it might take a bit to find out all about them.
FN Meka is a rapper that is digitally produced, but what does that mean as there are many facets to a musician let alone an AI rapper. So let’s break down what they are:
The look / feel of the artist
Usually a rapper could employ a stylist or PR team to craft their look/story/feel for the demographics they are targeting. They could have been raised a certain way or have a distinct look and feel to them based on their life experiences. But with AI you can just make them look however you want… which we will get to later.
The voice – This is a very important aspect to any artist. They have to have a unique, or good in some way, sound to them. But with a bot they just need a base to form a speech tone from. So they hired a rapper called Kyle the Hooligan , who has shared their story right here. to voice FN Meka
The lyrics and style
This is another thing that a singer or rapper need. They tell their stories, their ideas etc. by signing or rapping about them. In an industry where having a ghost writer is a negative thing can you imagine the view of having AI generated lyrics fits in?
What is the big deal with about FN Meka?
At first it was a celebrated, oddly to say the least, signing. It felt like we were one step away from getting into the avatar land of living. Where there are no more Brad Pitts but rather different versions of people that are made to cater to audiences. but they aren’t actually people but rather creations from computers. If you think that is far away, take a look at this article about Chinas top AI influencers…. yes you read that right the value of the AI influencer market was over HALF A BILLION DOLLARS in 2020!
The problems arising form the FN Meka… deal/creation etc?
So now you are wondering ok what is the big deal? Well there are a couple of them. At first the creators have been basically accused of Digital Black Facing. They created a stereotypical appearance and action set which didn’t impress anyone at all. As the rapper who lent his voice to the AI stated” “So everything going good. Next thing I know, n***** just ghosted me. Use my voice, use my sound, use the culture and literally just left me high and dry,” They basically used him and left without saying much….
The next group that wasn’t happy was Industry Blackout, which is , taken from their twitter page, “A unified body of black people in the industry committed to changing the community. Here for the movement, not the moment ” And they have stated:
It has come to our attention that your company has decided to partner with Factory New on signing the artificially designed “rapper” FN Meka. While we applaud innovation in tech that connects listeners to music and enhances the experience, we find fault in the lack of awareness in how offensive this caricature is. 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.
This digital effigy is a careless abomination and disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life. 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.
For your company to approve this shows a serious lack of diversity and resounding amount of tone deaf leadership, this is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
We demand this partnership be terminated, a formal public apology be issued, FN Meka removed from all platforms. Furthermore, all monies spent by Capitol Records and Factory New for this project will be allocated to charitable organizations that directly support Black youth in the arts, as well as marketing budgets for Black artists signed to Capitol Records. We look forward to your response and compliance.
Which they have great points as pretty much they are stating exactly what is happening , and it isn’t good.
Capital records has since ended the record deal and released this statement:
“CMG has severed ties with the FN Meka project, effective immediately,” the label noted 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.”https://pitchfork.com/news/capitol-records-has-severed-ties-with-ai-rapper-fn-meka-issues-apology-after-facing-criticism-for-gross-steretypes/
Alright so only a couple of weeks after they hail this as such groundbreaking news, they admit they didn’t do much research into the project at all, and it won’t happen again. Seems to be the go to for any time anyone gets caught doing something… sorry won’t happen again.
But when you actually start to look into what exactly this thing is it makes even less sense… it seems like they just kind of generated some random things that are different branding campaigns for companies like this beauty:
FN Meka and its music
So now let’s get down to the business, or what could’ve been the business side of it… the music? FN Meka released a song with a well known rapper Gunna, ( who is having his own issues right now) called Florida Water and you can see the whole video here. To be honest I think it is awful, it isn’t good rap , it isn’t good production for a video and the weird thing is the FN Meka avatar barely is in the video ( if at all?) We might be getting tricked here as it says official video but this doesn’t look real at all. Here it is if you are dying to see it:
So where does this leave us?
We have no idea honestly. We hadn’t heard about this at all before today and to be honest it doesn’t change much in our lives. But what it does do is give us a look into the issues that come with the rise of AI and virtual lives. While it might seem crazy to us , in China they have an AI idol economy which is thriving. It made over half a billion dollars in revenue in 2020 so it must be even higher now than ever. It really does beg the question, of how close are we to falling over that cliff to everyone living in a digital world? With all the negative things that have been going on in the world over the past couple of years many people must be jumping at the chance to get into a place where they can escape the pain of their everyday struggles.
But that doesn’t justify the stereotypical creation and monetization attempts that these types of companies have gone about. It makes us aware that while you can make something online , there are real world people who will be affected by it.
It is hard to make rules about things that don’t exist yet, or cultural expectations to the ever changing landscape of reality. But there does have to be some common sense applied to these types of creations, and we should really be expecting more out of these huge companies to do the right thing… not only when they are caught but all the time.