Anthony Martini, a co-founder of virtual music company Factory New, has said that listeners should be critical of the rap lyrics that informed the controversial A.I. rapper FN Meka.
“If you’re mad about the lyrical content because it supposedly was A.I.,” he said, “why not be mad about the lyrical content in general?” Among the criticisms the project faced is how it was unclear who the team behind the project was, and the questions raised in making an A.I. rapper say the n-word. When Capitol Records dropped Meka, the label apologized to the Black community “for our insensitivity in signing this project without asking enough questions about equity and the creative process behind it.”
Factory New is the company responsible for FN Meka, which was signed to Capitol Records only to be dropped unceremoniously less than two weeks later. In a quote provided to the New York Times, Martini has questioned why listeners were quick to criticize the A.I. rapper but not hip-hop music by humans.
Martini has attempted to distance himself from FN Meka, and in a statement last month said he had left Factory New. “I joined the team in early 2020 because I am truly passionate about the future of digital media and felt my background could help fulfill Meka’s potential in the music industry,” he said. “It’s become apparent that I should have done more diligence before joining. In the past few days, I’ve learned of Kyle The Hooligan’s experience with Meka which is deeply at odds with my core values. I believe that artists must always be at the center of the creative process and must be compensated fairly.”
While Martini no longer involved in FN Meka or Factory New, Martini maintained that there’s a future in virtual artists. “Virtual characters have the potential to be a true equalizer and the next frontier in representation in the arts,” he added.