On Feb. 25, the University Program Board announced that rapper, singer and producer T-Pain will be performing at JMU’s spring concert on April 16. As a staple of hip-hop culture during the mid-to-late 2000s, T-Pain came into the rap scene with a unique auto-tuned style and delivery that’s influenced artists such as Travis Scott, Young Thug and Future. In case you haven’t heard any of his hit songs, or just haven’t heard anything of his in a while, here’s a list of essential hits to get in the concert spirit.
Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)
Arguably his most popular song, T-Pain’s “Buy U a Drank” is a smooth-sounding tune thanks to his slick flow and catchy beat. The song’s chorus is a true anthem of the mid-2000s and remains iconic to this day. The subject matter of the song is based on the idea of meeting that special someone in the club and proving yourself worthy of their time. Combined with a nice Yung Joc feature that features a rawer, more raspy voice to contrast T-Pain’s auto-tuned one, this song is one everyone should be familiar with.
Despite being one of his more heartfelt and emotional songs, “Bartender” is also a song about the idea of finding love in the club. T-Pain sings about being wooed by a bartender at the club after having his heart broken by his past significant other. T-Pain used his manipulated vocals in a way that conveys a sense of true admiration for the woman. The silky production also fits well with this feeling of love. Akon has a brief feature near the middle of the song, but it doesn’t compare to the chemistry between T-Pain and the beat.
I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper)
The story of “I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper)” comes from T-Pain’s little brother seemingly falling in love with a dancer at a strip club after she danced on him. The grander message of this song can be seen as the idea of developing feelings for someone who isn’t interested in a relationship. The standout part of this track is definitely the production, which includes acoustic guitars and glitchy high notes. T-Pain’s vocals — which aren’t auto-tuned — and lyrics aren’t nearly as interesting, but the Mike Jones feature early in the song is delivered pretty well. While being one of his earlier, messier songs, it’s still worthwhile to give a listen to.
T-Pain’s vocal layering and emotional distress both reach a peak with “I’m Sprung.” In this true breakup song, T-Pain finds himself conflicted regarding whether his lover is a good fit for him, but he’s so lovesick that he can’t get over the idea of having her all to himself. The production on this song includes some tasteful harp sounds that fit well with the vibe of the track along with T-Pain’s vocal layers. This adds more power to the strong emotions of love and confusion he conveys on the track. Overall, this song is a fine example of how T-Pain’s voice can carry a whole song and not wear thin.
Up Down (Do This All Day)
It’d be surprising if T-Pain didn’t perform this iconic party anthem at the spring concert. “Up Down (Do This All Day)” is about what goes down at the club and feeling like the star of the night. T-Pain’s voice seems explosive and energetic during certain sections of the track, making it even more exciting. The beat isn’t as experimental as his previous hits, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a banger that’s not only one of his newer songs, but one that anyone can enjoy at any party or concert.
Best Love Song
T-Pain and Chris Brown share a similar sound in terms of their vocal delivery, so “Best Love Song” is a successful collaboration between the two artists. The overall sound is triumphant and expressive with touches of pianos and electric guitars. It’s an interesting take on the “love song” music trope, considering it’s so upbeat and lighthearted. As an artist, this proves that T-Pain can take his production abilities down many paths.
“T-Pain Mashup” is a reimagining of his previous hit single “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’) and features production contributions from Kurt Hugo Schneider. It takes the original song and moves it in a more slow jam/R&B direction. For the most part, this effort is somewhat clumsy in terms of both T-Pain’s singing voice and the song’s piano parts. The beat is well executed, but T-Pain’s vocals don’t exactly fit with the stripped-back approach Schneider takes for the track.
If you’re looking for an idea of how T-Pain sounds today, he recently dropped a project with Lil Wayne titled “1UP.” Whether you’ve been a longtime fan of T-Pain or you’ve never heard a single song by him, he has a lot to offer when taking a listen to his past hit songs.
Contact Julian Denizard at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.