AI Rapping and ‘Digital Blackface’

Does the ‘F’ in FN Meka stand for ‘Frankenstein’?

AI Rapping and Digital Blackface

By Brooklyn Allen, Spartan Staff

On the latest episode of FX’s TV show, “Atlanta,” the shelf-life of an African-American rapper’s popularity is questioned. The only hope for a Black rapper, the surreal show posits, is to find a YWA. The letters stand for Young White Avatar. The show states there is a glass ceiling, even for Black rappers.

Perhaps that’s the same idea understood by the creators of FN Meka as expressed in the opinion piece below.

        – Editor’s Note.



Can an AI robot rapper be racist?

Capitol Records thinks it’s possible despite having more than 10 million TikTok followers. 

In case you hadn’t heard of AI rapper FN Meka, the computer-generated lyricist is the creation of Anthony Martini and Brandon Le. The rapper – FN Meka, who technically doesn’t exist – was signed to Capitol Records and then dropped within two weeks of signing (Who signed it?) its contract because of backlash on Twitter over Capitol signing it in the first place. 

FN Meka basically is an AI creation mocking other -real – African American rappers and the Black community, downloading stereotypes into songs. The AI rapper talked about police brutality from the perspective of a black person.

FN Meka also used the “n-word,” liberally. 

Neither Martini nor Le are African American.  

Let’s start there. 

These guys created this AI. It gained 10 million TikTok followers and won a record deal faster than living, breathing rappers. But that’s still not the problem. 

The problem is the appropriation of modern-day Black culture that mocks Black people. 

It gets worse. 

FN Meka has a song with real-life rapper Gunna, “Florida Waters.” He sounds like a real-life rapper.   

Martini and Le created this thing. They chose what it was going to look like and they chose the color of its skin. Everything that it says and raps has to be put into a generator of some sort. 

What makes this worse is the record label, Capitol Records. apologized before the actual creators did. 

According to Capitol Records, “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.” 

The creators have yet to apologize. 

Even worse, recently the actual human person – an African American musician – spoke to The Source to reveal that these creators “ghosted” him.

Kyle The Hooligan voiced the AI rapper, FN Meka.

Kyle The Hooligan told the magazine, Martini and Le, “Used my voice, used my sound, used the culture and just literally just left me high and dry. I ain’t get a dime off of nothing.”

This to me is a problem that shouldn’t be a problem in this generation. If you are not a Black person or of Black descendants of some kind you should not even affiliate yourself with any Black stereotypes. 

Hip-Hop editor Aaron Williams from UPROXX  described FN Meka as a “racist caricature of a rapper” which I couldn’t agree with more. That’s quite literally what he is. This is an example of “digital blackface” considering they used the worst stereotypes of black people. “Loud,” “ghetto,” “thugs,” “violent,” “ignorant.” I can’t stress enough how offense this is.

What will Martini and Le do now? 

Will they delete the “avatar”? 

Will they make a new one? 

Will more people start “making” virtual rappers, like Dr. Frankenstein created his monster? 

I hope not. 

There are better uses for technology than creating FN Meka.