Does anyone remember Cher’s big comeback song from like 10 years ago where she asked us if we believed in love after love through a Peter Frampton talk box? T-Pain does. This guy is everywhere, and, along with his vocal doppelganger Akon, has commandeered the vocoder and is not letting go any time soon. I can picture young Faheem Najm sitting in his bedroom circa 1997 listening to “Believe” while devising his plan to take over the pop charts.
Step 1: jack Cher’s electro voice thing; Step 2: come up with some lyrics like “rrrerr, rreerrr, rreerrrr,” “oooo weeeee” and “now I know she thinks I’m cool” & Step 3: get a guest spot on absolutely every single radio hip hop track possible. Ten years later T-Pain’s dream has become a reality. He is omnipresent. Concerning the omnipresence of a supreme being, Sir Thomas Aquinas wrote in Summa Theologica that “God is in all things by his power, inasmuch as all things are subject to his power; he is by his presence in all things, inasmuch as all things are bare and open to his eyes; he is in all things by his essence, inasmuch as he is present to all as the cause of their being.” Could T-Pain be the god of pop and hip hop today? Blasphemy? You tell me…
I have to admit that when I first heard T-Pain singing about his love for buying dranks at bars, standing at bars, bartenders, getting drunk with shawties and then watching shawty dance I felt a certain kinship. After all, who doesn’t love such things? What began to surprise me was the frequency with which I was being serenaded by this dredlocked, sunglasses at night, man in pain. Generally, I have the radio on in the car and do a little station flipping so my radio listening time is minimal at best. Yet every time the radio was on in the year 2007 there was T-Pain letting me know that shawty got low-low-low-low-low or that he was going to take shawty home with him. Then I would walk into a store and hear T-Pain again, this time telling me that he got some drinks to drink, drunk ‘um and got drunk.
This T-Pain immersion led me to conduct an experiment to answer this question: Is T-Pain the most prolific and prodigious pop artist of the new millennium? The test consisted of randomly tuning into three different popular music radio stations as well as MTV, BET and FUSE to see how much T-Pain I could get in one day. The test was to determine how often I could get a dose of T-Pain without having to turn any of his jams on myself. My method involved keeping constant track of these media throughout a morning and then extrapolating the results. An arduous task, but a worthwhile one. These are the results:
8:12 AM – T-Pain featuring Akon – “Bartender” – holy shit, a twofer to start the day! A double fix of nasal electro voice. The morning show loves T-Pain and so do we.
8:40 AM – Flo-rida featuring T-Pain “Low” – cutting it close but a switch to a new radio station yields another hit.
9:00 AM – Flo-rida featuring T-Pain “Low” – MTV Jams is playing the video for this track. T-Pain cannot dance for shit. Flo-rida looks like a combination of Al Jefferson and a gorilla.
9:24 AM – “Church” / “Buy you a drank (ooo weee)” – Yes! T-Pain is on two stations at once! Double bonus points.
9:28 AM – I was tricked into thinking that the radio was playing back to back T-Pain. Plies! Why are you biting my man’s style so hard? Shorty may be a ten but that is up to T-Pain to decide, not you. Still, the presence of T-Pain can be felt in this jam.
9:33 AM – Baby Bash featuring T-Pain “Cyclone” – how much weed must be smoked to come up with the lyric “reeerrr, reerrrrrr, rerrr”?
10:00 AM – Chris Brown featuring T-Pain “Kiss Kiss” – T-Pain in only on this track to echo things Chris Brown says … and to let people know that its okay to listen to Chris Brown.
10:12 AM – Baby Bash featuring T-Pain “Cyclone” – combine Baby Bash’s jerry curl with T-Pain’s killer dreds and you get excellence.
10:33 AM – Plies featuring T-Pain “Shawty” – okay, Plies redeems by letting the godfather bless this track. Before shawty can be a 10, as Billy Bob in Varsity Blues would say, you gotta feel it when T-Pain explains just what a shawty is.
10:55 AM – Kanye West featuring T-Pain “Good Life” – The number one player in the game still wanted some of that T-Pain magic.
11:01 AM – T-Pain does not sing a song but does come on to do a radio promotion. Except: “This ya boy T-Pain on my favorite station B! 96” … I’m counting it.
11:20 AM – Baby Bash featuring T-Pain “Cyclone” – shawty does is all night long.
11:45 AM – “Church” video on MTV Jams – Seriously, for a guy who sings about dancing as much as T-Pain does, he needs some new moves.
12:13 PM – R. Kelly featuring T-Pain “I’m a Flirt (remix)” – Even the king of guest spots wants T-Pain on the track.
At this point I ended the experiment. I was excited to find that T-Pain had as much force and presence as I had hoped and expected. The longest I went all morning without hearing or seeing T-Pain was a scant 28 minutes. He’s unavoidable so embrace him. Good luck to you T-Pain on your way to winning Grammys for all your nominated tracks this year:
Best R&B Performance – “Bartender”
Best Rap Song – “Good Life”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration – “Kiss Kiss” AND “Good Life”
Shawty snappin’ indeed.