T-Pain - "Rappa Ternt Sanga" Aug 19, 2015 13:50:13 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Aug 19, 2015 13:50:13 GMT -5
Rappa Ternt Sanga (2005)
Outside of the snap rappers like Soulja Boy Tell'Em and V.I.C., T-Pain was probably the rapper who got the most hate in the mid-to-late 2000's, somewhat because of his ubiquity as an artist but largely because of his use of auto-tune. His heavily enhanced voice, thanks to the use of vocal enhancement pioneered decades before him (contrary to some false beliefs), equipped his voice with a partly computerized, almost metallic sound, one that meshed well with simplistic rap and R&B beats and carried a life of its own. The hatred for T-Pain came from the opinion that he was bastardizing the genre, or, at the very least, simplifying its strengths by saving all of his talents for the post-production portions of his songs, with many dismissing any potential raw talent the rapper had.
The fact is, Rappa Ternt Sanga (rapper turned singer), T-Pain's debut album after signing to Akon's Konvict music label, proves something about T-Pain that I've long defended and that's his ability to evoke melody and charm into his music, partly thanks to his vocals but also thanks to his songwriting. Hip-hop is often condemned for housing demeaning attacks and offenses towards women and violent lyrical content, two things I won't argue, but how come when T-Pain reaffirms his love for his wife and his desire to stay with one women on the album's big winner "Dance Floor," on top of never using an attacking or ugly phrase towards women throughout the eighteen tracks of his album, he gets no credit or praise?
The dislike for auto-tune is understandable, though I've never once looked at it as an inherent hindrance. Sure, it can be used to a point of incoherence, but many artists like T-Pain, Lil Durk, and Jeremih have found ways to really swoon over the mic and have the enhancer compliment not just their vocals but the ambiance of songs. "I'm Sprung," Pain's first single off of this album, has a beat that ebbs and flows with Pain's vocals in a way that makes for a track that radiates charm, and "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)," the album's second single, is a surprisingly tender, affectionate song about a man expressing his love for a woman at a local night club.
Pain's ability to take a genre that can get lyrically ugly and demeaning quickly and turn it into something that can appeal towards larger demographics (similar to the image Nelly and Drake have conveyed, which appeals to frat boys as well as soccer moms) is strong with these two tracks alone, not even considering the remainder of the album. "Como Estas" is a Spanish-influenced track that comes equipped with more Mexican influence than anything else, "Dance Floor" is a track full of life and easygoing charm, as Pain and his colleague - the underrated rapper Tay Dizm - boast about heading to the club and hitting the dance floor like they practiced in the mirror, complete with a sensual beat and winning flows from both men, "Ur Not the Same" is another powerful tune about love done gone, with T-Pain exercising feelings in a surprisingly mature and convincing manner, only booned by the likes of Akon, and "Ridge Road," like a good portion of the album, has Pain expressing strong love for his hometown of Tallahassee.
Rappa Ternt Sanga finds itself having much more influence and creative freedom by its artist than most studio debuts are known to have. The story of Akon finding T-Pain is a conventional one, with Akon taking note of T-Pain's ability to rap and, upon signing him, encouraging him to bring something more soulful to the table (the two undoubtedly have very similar sounds as is), but it's almost weird to see Pain control so much of his first studio album, especially being a recently signed artist on a label helmed by, at that time, the most popular R&B singer. With that, the wear on Pain's songwriting abilities begin to show with songs like "I'm So High" turning monotonous very quickly upon being predicated on a one-note joke and other songs like "Studio Luv" being downright corny and too cutesy with their lyricism.
With a debut that largely reflects a solo effort and is admittedly overstuffed, however, perhaps that was only inevitable. Nonetheless, Rappa Ternt Sanga shows Pain exercising complete and total strength at rapping and mimicking R&B styles, in addition to being the genre's saving grace when it comes to being a good boy and an appealing presence.
Recommended songs (in order): "Dance Floor," "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)," "Ur Not the Same," "Ridge Road," "I'm Sprung," and "Como Estas."