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The Past, Present, and Future of T-Pain

The artist talks about Auto-Tune, working with Lil Wayne, and more

It’s one of those things that everyone knows, but not a thing I’d ever had cause to think about: Part of pushing physical copies of albums to storefronts was sweetening the deal with a retail version of the album in question exclusive to that country. And, prior to the worldwide release of his sophomore album, Epiphany, in 2007, it wasn’t something T-Pain had given that much thought to either. That’s why "Calm the Fuck Doun" — tacked onto Epiphany, and the best song about lovers’ tiffs possibly ever — has always felt incomplete. Because T-Pain needed a bonus track for the Japanese retail version and just happened to have laid it down the night before.

But that was two albums ago. Three if you count the Greatest Hits compilation he put out in 2014. He’s picked up a persona-amplifying ringleader’s top hat and put it back down. He’s sheared off his frost-tipped dreadlocks and grown them back. Ten years hence he’s seen all of mainstream music informed by the sound he diligently worked to craft and took more than his fair share of ridicule for. That’s a weird thing. As is, one could imagine, making new music for fans that feel mostly nostalgia over you.

We talked about that, Snoop Dogg, making music with Lil Wayne, and a forthcoming album with a concept too precious for it to be jostled by label interests. Oh, and memes. We talked about memes, too.

On Working With Lil Wayne


On Stoicville


Full Interview on Channel 33

(Getty Images/Ringer Illustration)
Getty Images/Ringer illustration