Music has a history of not giving musicians their due. Revisionist history forgets Chuck Berry was one of the founding fathers of rock and roll. However, that’s somewhat excusable because the internet wasn’t an available information resource in the ’50s. But people were surfing the web by the mid-2000s, which is why its a shame that Kanye West and his work on 808s & Heartbreak gets more credit for legitimizing Auto-Tune over T-Pain. The rapper-producer turns 32 years old today (Sept. 30).
T-Pain’s nightclub crooning was ubiquitous at his peak. He was only 19 years old when he first started changing the game in pop music with “I’m Sprung.” The profile of the self-proclaimed “rappa-ternt-sanga” continued to rise. While he was busy making his own hits, he was even lending his voice to features. And that’s where he had his biggest success: Kanye West’s “Good Life,” Flo Rida’s “Low” and Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It.”
The hit streak came to a dark end for T-Pain. The pressure of major labels and fame eventually got to him by 2011. He explained his struggles in a recent FADER interview.
“I’m usually a balanced person, but during that time it was all negative,” T-Pain says. “I felt like I had failed. When I found out that my kids were afraid of me, I was like, ‘F— this, I gotta do something.”
He may not have the guys in the clubs screaming “Buy U a Drank” these days, but he succeeded in winning his fans over after his Auto-Tune-less performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series and follow-up acoustic concert.
In October, T-Pain will embark on his “Acoustic Tour.” The six-city trek will feature him performing stripped-down versions of his classic songs. The trek kicks off Oct. 4 in San Francisco, Calif.
“I wanted to do something different for you guys,” he wrote on Instagram. “Performing some of my favorite songs in a way you’ve never seen or heard.”
Happy Birthday, T-Pain!
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