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  • Writer's pictureNick J Townsend

FN Meka - World’s first and last AI or virtual rapper?

Spotlight: FN Meka - World’s first and last AI or virtual rapper?

By Nick J Townsend, Illustration by Andy Meanock.

First of all, what on earth is an AI rapper and can it carjack me? I’m no technology expert or a cyber-sexter, but you know how horror author Stephen King wrote the sci-fi story The Running Man and used the pseudonym "Richard Bachman" when it was first published? Well, this sounds similar to that trick, but it also raises the ancient unanswered question of “What if the Crazy Frog could write his own music?”.

Capitol Records announced on August 22nd 2022 that their signee FN Meka was, allegedly, the world’s first Augmented Reality rapper and dropped a debut single titled “Florida Water”, which made armies of mechanical bots on Twitter very happy. However, a week later he got sacked for using the "N" word in his lyrics and creating videos fabricating instances of police brutality. I guess artificial police brutality is now a crime; hopefully he has a credible virtual lawyer to represent him.

According to unreliable sources, this virtual rapper was born in 2019 and has released a total of four singles during his career; arguably cracking the world record for ‘most singles released by a 3 year old’. Bizarrely, FN Meka faced major criticism for using foul language in his lyrics despite it seemingly being compulsory to shout them at hookers in most modern rap anthems.

Some criticise the existence of artificial musicians but it’s impossible to ignore the many advantages. An AI rapper can be programmed to work 24 hours a day without taking a lunch break and they can’t sexually assault Beyoncé.

Have musicians forgotten the lessons learned from hysterical actors who watched the 2009 movie Avatar without knowing it would take 14 years for a sequel? They were stupid enough to believe that all acting jobs would cease. Imagine the team involved in making an artificial movie and then consider how many real jobs in the music industry an artificial musician could create?

I couldn’t tell you much about AI music because I’ve not yet been programmed to listen to it and like most of the latest hyped products emerging from the mainstream music industry, I can detect real genuine human bullshit which puts me off enjoying it.

So, if a lone artificial musician gets a record deal, then is the record company signing it aware of the tech-savvy marketing and design team needed to manage and maintain it? I reckon FN Meka was dropped seconds after they realised he wasn’t an incredibly talented Skynet computer that liked the "N" word but in fact a large network of creative humans hiding behind technology.

How long would a record company justify financing the team needed to produce it? How much in CGI would it cost to do interviews? Could it sign any autographs? Think that’s daft? Then give the cast of Avatar a bunch of record deals too and then wait 14 years for their album.

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