What happens when your popularity goes the way of a Fat Albert F.U.B.U. tee? Some take it in stride, while others, like the once ultra-successful T-Pain, partake in the new pop culture pastime that is throwing subliminal shade via social media. Though he’s since deleted the post, the Tallahassee native took a shot at rapper Future on Instagram.
T-Pain wrote: "Funny thing about that Bugatti you woke up in, #ItsMine #OhTheIrony hahahaaaa funny how ‘the new T-Pain’ has to use ‘The old T-Pain’s Bugatti for his Bugatti hook hahaaaaa yea. So. There’s That. Not at all throwing shots at @Acehood that’s my man 100 grand.’”
Raise your hand if you really think this is about who had a car first? If you did, do me a solid and smack the back of your neck for missing what T-Pain really meant when he quipped “#OhTheIrony.”
Enter T-Pain, calling into Hartford’s Hot 93.7 to clear up his comments:
“I don’t think Future gets the technology…I don’t think he understands how it actually works. He’s writing great songs—he’s a great writer. As far as how he uses Auto-Tune… I think he’s thinking you just turn it on, and it happens. A lot of people don’t sing with it, they just sing and put it on after, which is a terrible mistake. There’s a lot of stuff you’ve gotta know about Auto-Tune before you can start using it, because it’s the hot thing to do. But Future’s still great; he’s doing his thing.”
You can still taste the seasoned salt in this, so clearly it remains hard for T-Pain to say goodbye to yesterday—particularly, when tomorrow sounds all too familiar to the past.
In the same way T-Pain appropriated Roger Troutman’s sound and pushed it forward in order to mold it into something all his own, Future has snatched T-Pain’s autotune-enhanced format and built his own following. Future is sort of like T-Pain’s overcompensating little brother, in that regard.
Perhaps I’d feel a certain way, too, if someone snatched my shtick and left me in the cold; but if Troutman’s ghost isn’t haunting T-Pain in his dreams and Ja Rule isn’t writing angry letters from prison over biting his awful singing, T-Pain can get over it. I happen to enjoy Future’s mix of barely audible screams over jig-spawning beats, meshed with the sort of singing heard from a uncle after one too many sips of brown liquor. So if the technically far more musically inclined T-Pain wants that old thing back, instead of throwing shade, hit the studio.
I do have a few suggestions for T-Pain.
Less poppy collaborations with Lily Allen, please. Lily Allen is great and the song itself isn’t bad by any means; still, let’s not pretend you didn’t get popular off of songs like “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’).” Make music for the children and the cat daddy uncles and forever-clubbing aunties of the world, not the co-workers they don’t speak to outside of the job.
Feel free to work with Justin Timberlake again. However, if he’s no longer taking your calls, hit up Robin Thicke. It’s close enough and he’s doing wonders on BET, right now, via his acting on The Real Husbands of Hollywood.
Reach out to Future and record with him. He’s popular and y’all are virtually the same person if you close your eyes and cover your left ear, so why not? If you repeat the mistakes of Lil’ Kim in her handling of Nicki Minaj, you are Al B. Sure! to be even less relevant as time passes on.
All of this sounds much better than bitching about who the first one was to have a Bugatti in a music video. It’s not as if people remember most music videos five minutes after they’ve watched them anyway.