Earlier this month, Capitol Records signed a “first of its kind” virtual rapper, FN Meka, in partnership with Factory New. Yes, that’s right, a rapper that exists only in the metaverse, according to Music Business Worldwide.
But, after criticism about the project, Capitol Music Group decided to drop the project entirely and cut ties with the virtual rapper following backlash from groups in the Black community, according to the New York Times.
Meka is a caricature of a modern-day artist who displays all of the gross stereotypes of rappers and the Black community. He is racially ambiguous with green-colored hair, chains on his neck, and tattoos on his face. There are even viral clips of the virtual rapper using the n-word in his music.
He even has over $10 million followers on TikTok and even released a single, “Florida Water,” featuring Atlanta rapper Gunna, who is currently in jail on RICO charges.
But wait, it gets much worse. In a now-deleted post on Instagram, the Meka can be seen being held on the ground and beat by a police officer (virtually) with the caption, “POLICE BRUTALITY?? What Should I Do ?!?! This Guard keeps beating me w/ his BATON because I wont snitch. I aint no RAT. Life in Prison is so Depressing.... I wish I could get out so I could start making music again.”
Yes, this is all done virtually in the metaverse. But why promote and mock police violence in this stereotypical virtual rapper? What’s the point? Y’all thought that was cool?
In a statement, CMG stated that they are cutting ties with the rapper saying, “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,” according to the New York Times.
Their decision to drop the project came shortly after Industry Blackout, an activist group, demanded an apology from Capitol Records and called for the partnership with FN Meka to be “terminated.”
In an Instagram post, they pointed out that the project was “an amalgamation of gross stereotypes, appropriative mannerism that derive from Black artists, complete with slurs infused in lyrics.”
They continued, “This digital effigy is a careless abomination and disrespectful to real people who face real consequences in real life.”
This is why we need more Black people in white spaces. If there were, there’s no way Capitol Records would’ve approved having an AI-controlled rapper that contained all of the worst Black stereotypes imaginable.
But maybe CMG got what they wanted. A virtual rapper they could control entirely. Someone that contained the most disrespectful stereotypes of the Black community without any backlash. The only thing they miscalculated is that the Black community would actually see this abomination and demand they shut it down.