Y’all know nothing irritates me more than talentless artists infesting mainstream music.
Well, there’s actually one thing that makes me madder — talented artists who dumb themselves down for fame.
Oh hey, T-Pain!
Last week, every music fan alive (give or take two or three) sent me a video of the Human Voicemail Recording singing without his beloved auto-tune. Longtime Soul In Stereo fans know that T-Pain has been on my Enemies List for years now and this video was proof that the man actually is talented.
And yes, he IS talented. Hear for yourself.
But this video was no surprise to me. In fact, it’s proof why I’ve been so annoyed by T-Pain — and the music industry — for years.
T-Pain started his career in the mid-20oos as a solid rapper before falling in love
with a stripper with auto-tune. Listen to his first single, “I’m Sprung” — if you can get past the bad lyrics you can tell there’s talent buried behind that wall of noise.
T-Pain COULD sing. But he wouldn’t. And that’s what always bothered me.
Now, I’m sure someone is gonna run up in the comments section saying “But auto-tune made him different! He gettin dat money tho!”
First, shut up when grown folks are talking.
And second, I already realize that point.
If T-Pain hit the scene singing like Babyface in 2004, I would have given his albums sparkling reviews but he might be working double shifts at Super Kmart. You know the Christmas season is coming. OR he could have given us the best R&B albums since Keith Sweat in his prime with all the success to match (because Keef is always the benchmark for these things).
The troubling thing is that T-Pain went the safe route, using auto-tune as a crutch, LITERALLY dressing up like a circus act to lead rap’s minstrel show and, worse of all, ushering in the Ringtone Rap era, where ALL your favorite artists all decided to sound like Siri.
Record labels enable that destructive behavior too — putting gimmicks above genuine talent and then shoving them down our throats. By 2008. nearly every mainstream artist was incorporating badly performed auto-tune, giving us “classics” like Kanye’s 808s and Heartburn and R&B singer Lil Wayne.
Auto-tune put hip-hop AND R&B on life support.
T-Pain is a talented artist. The above video proves that. My beef with T-Pain wasn’t that he used auto-tune, people have been doing that for years. My beef is that he took the easy road to fame.
Now that he’s put the auto-tune away, maybe we can finally hear the real T-Pain consistently.