Enough is enough, people.
There are certain artists in the industry who have a certain something that causes them to stand out from the rest. And I have reason to believe that one of those artists is without a doubt, the innovative T-Pain. The Florida native has collected numerous accolades and broken musical barriers, yet he doesn’t seem to get the universal respect he deserves as an R&B artist. Throughout his career he has set trends and remained true to his unique self, all the while remaining humble. So why is he a forgotten name when we discuss modern-day R&B greats?
Here’s a short list of reasons why T-Pain truly deserves to be treated like the icon that he is.
- He delivered us countless hits that stuck like grits
T-Pain is singlehandedly responsible for the entire soundtrack to our adolescence and you can’t deny it. ‘I’m Sprung’, ‘Buy U a Drank’, and ‘Chopped and Screwed’ are just a few of the bops that had every iPod nano and personalized ringtone shook. Songs like ‘I’m ’n Luv (Wit a Stripper)’ and ‘Bartender’ had each and every preadolescent’s hormones raging and we’ll never be able to properly thank him for his part in making middle and high school dances all the more risqué.
- His features make the song
Aside from his singles, T-Pain is universally known for killing his features, and even sometimes stealing the thunder from the main artist themselves. ‘Kiss Kiss’, ‘Shawty Get Loose’, ’One More Drank’, and his most successful feature to date being Flo Rida’s debut single “Low” are known collaborations that would not have been as nearly memorable if it weren’t for T-Pain’s contribution. He has even hopped across genres, spicing up Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ with his country ‘Thug Story’ remix. There really is no hook that man can’t sing.
- He started the autotune movement
Nowadays, every rapper and most R&B singers are riding the autotune wave heavy, but credit must be given where credit is due. Before T-Pain’s takeover in the music industry, autotune was not being done the way it is today. He mastered the art of hitting those high auto-tuned notes all the while maintaining the soul within the track. An icon does not follow trends— they start them, and that is exactly what T-Pain has done.
- ..but, he can actually sing
Don’t get it twisted, though, because there’s a powerful voice hiding behind the autotune tracks. In his visit on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, he delivered a raw vocal performance, free of any editing or autotune. Audiences across different media platforms were floored, even becoming a trending topic on Twitter. Though he prefers using autotune as an instrument of choice, the man can sing and he can sing well.
- He still got it!
For two weeks in late 2007, T-Pain was featured on four top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He dominated the mid-2000’s, but he’s no legend of the past. In fact, he recently uploaded a free mixtape entitled Everything Must Go Vol. 1, containing all the throw-away tracks that never got to see the light of day. From uplifting hymn Hallelujah to reppin’ his home state with the track Miami featuring Ace Hood, not only has he proven that he has still got it— he’s proven that it really never left.