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Human voice of ‘AI’ rapper FN Meka says he was cut out of the project

By | Published on Thursday 25 August 2022

FN Meka

The artist who voiced controversial ‘virtual’ rapper FN Meka has denied claims that he has been leading the project, adding that he has been cut out of the financial gains the company behind the venture, Factory Now, has made.

Previously anonymous, rapper Kyle The Hooligan came forward as the voice of FN Meka yesterday, after Universal’s Capitol label severed ties with the project following accusations of racism.

“They came to me with this AI shit and was like would I want to be the voice of it, and I thought it was going to be some collaboration”, he said in a video on Instagram. “They promised me equity in the company, percentages, all this stuff, so I’m thinking, ‘OK, this about to be some collab, something different for me, so I can do my music and do some AI stuff with this FN Meka character”.

Capitol announced that it had signed FN Meka earlier this month, releasing a single, ‘Florida Water’, featuring Gunna. However, after activist group Industry Blackout accused the project of being “a direct insult to the black community and our culture” and “an amalgamation of gross stereotypes”, the major label said that it would no longer work on FN Meka releases and began removing that one single from streaming services.

In an interview with the New York Times, Factory New founder Anthony Martini defended the whole project, and claimed that it had actually been spearheaded by (the then unnamed) Kyle The Hooligan, and that his company’s role was more akin to that of a traditional artist manager.

FN Meka is the creation of “a black guy … not this malicious plan of white executives”, he said. “It’s literally no different from managing a human artist, except that it’s digital”.

However, not so, says Kyle The Hooligan. “Everything [was] going good”, he continues in his Instagram post. “Next thing I know, [they] just ghosted me. Use my voice, use my sound, use the culture and literally just left me high and dry”.

“I ain’t get a dime off of nothing, and they got record deals, all this stuff”, he adds. “I wasn’t involved in no meetings or none of that, which is fucked up. So, I’m glad they ass got canceled cos that’s karma for they ass cos God don’t play with me. I’m gonna tell you that right now”.

Initially launched on social media, FN Meka amassed ten million followers on TikTok before signing to Capitol. It’s not now clear what the future holds for the project.

This story is discussed on this edition of our Setlist podcast.