Capitol Records has signed an AI-powered virtual rapper named FN MEKA. He's already released his first single for the major label called 'Florida Water'; listen to it below.
The "robot rapper"'s deal is the first of its kind for the major label, according to Music Business Worldwide. Capitol Records claims FN MEKA is the "No.1 virtual being" on TikTok, eyeing his 10 million followers on the platform, and says he's the first "AR artist" to sign with a major label.
'Florida Water' features human rapper Gunna and Fortnite streamer Clix and was produced by Turbo and DJ Holiday. (In a 2021 interview with MBW, Anthony Martini, the co-founder of Factory New, the company behind FN MEKA said, "a human voice performs the vocals, but we are working towards the ability to have a computer come up with and perform its own words." Little else is known about the vocalist.) The track is available for YouTube and Twitch creators to use "without monetization or takedowns" as Capitol has made a royalty-free partnership with music startup Slip.stream.
Capitol Music Group executive Ryan Ruden told MBW this deal "meets at the intersection of music, technology and gaming culture" and described it as an "evolution of Capitol Records' 80-year history of innovation".
The project has drawn criticism online since news of its signing to Capitol Records began circulating. It has been pointed out that the AI rapper uses the n-word in the 2019 track, 'Moonwalkin'', and that posts made through FN MEKA's Instagram account depict acts of police brutality.
FN MEKA's first released music in 2019, the 'Moonwalkin' and 'Internet' singles.
Listen to 'Florida Water'.