Deep Album Cuts Vol. 38: T-Pain
This week saw the debut of Bigger Than Pain, Worldstar Hip Hop's 20-minute documentary about T-Pain. And I wouldn't really recommend it, unfortunately, you couldn't get a blander telling of his story from a middle schooler's book report. But it's good to see another piece of the concerted effort behind a comeback for T-Pain, or at the very least an opportunity to see him in a new light, to appreciate perhaps more fully than when he was a ubiquitous pop culture presence 5-10 years ago. In October, NPR's Tiny Desk Concert gave the world a chance to hear T-Pain sing without AutoTune, and in March he released a well-received mixtape, The Iron Way. His long-delayed 5th album Stoicville: The Phoenix is hopefully on the way soon, although it's not clear when.
I feel like even now that the public is primed for more T-Pain, what they want is more hits. But I also think that he made a lot of good music already, and most people haven't even heard anything beyond the hits. 2007's Epiphany was a #1 album and sold almost a million copies, but I was one of only 4 critics to vote for it in the Pazz & Jop poll that year. Maybe we'll never get to the point where he's back on top like Pharrell is right now, but it'd be nice if when he drops an album people listen to the whole thing.
T-Pain Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):
1. "Backseat Action" featuring Shawnna
2. "Rappa Ternt Sanga (Intro)"
3. "Put It Down" featuring Ray Lavender
4. "Dance Floor" featuring Tay Dizm
5. "Reality Show" featuring Musiq Soulchild, Raheem DeVaughn and Jay Lyriq
6. "Sounds Bad"
7. "I Don't Give A Fuk"
8. "Studio Luv"
9. "Long Lap Dance Song"
10. "Default Picture"
12. "I'm Hi" featuring Styles P.
13. "How To Hate" by Lil Wayne featuring T-Pain
14. "Give Her The Keys" by E-40 featuring T-Pain
15. "Serious" by E-40 featuring T-Pain
16. "Go Home With You" by Kardinal Offishal featuring T-Pain
17. "I Fucked My Aunt" by The Lonely Island featuring T-Pain
18. "So We Can Live" by 2 Chainz featuring T-Pain
19. "What's Wrong (Go Away)" by Jennifer Hudson featuring T-Pain
Tracks 2, 4, 8 and 12 from Rappa Ternt Sanga (2005)
Tracks 1, 3, 6 and 11 from Epiphany (2007)
Tracks 5 and 9 from THR33 RINGZ (2008)
Tracks 7 and 10 from rEVOLVEr (2011)
Track 13 from Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV (2011)
Track 14 from E-40's The Ball Street Journal (2008)
Track 15 from E-40's Revenue Retrievin': Graveyard Shift (2011)
Track 16 from Kardinal Offishal's Not 4 Sale (2008)
Track 17 from The Lonely Island's The Wack Album (2013)
Track 18 from 2 Chainz's B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME (2013)
Track 19.from Jennifer Hudston's Jennifer Hudson (2008)
I diverted a little from my formula for these playlists, which usually consist of just tracks from the artist's albums and maybe the odd compilation track here and there. T-Pain guested on so many dozens of albums by other artists, and while people rarely went into the studio with him without trying to make a hit single, occasionally those collaborations remained album cuts. And sometimes they were really good, so I thought it'd be fun to showcase those, since his 4 major label albums really don't capture how prolific he's been.
Some of these songs, like "Backseat Action" and "Studio Luv," got a little pinch of airplay at the time, but they weren't the big promoted singles like "I'm Sprung" and "Bartender" and whatnot so I still wanted to include them. But mostly I wanted to show the variety in his albums that you didn't necessarily get from the wall to wall club songs that were released as singles. The more goofy, down-to-earth songs like "Sounds Bad" and "Reality Show," even the weird maudlin narrative about contracting HIV, "Suicide," all those make him a more interesting songwriter than he gets credit for. And he produced most of these songs, his beatmaking skills are really underrated.
Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants