T-Pain the artist and producer have been a fixture in the business for quite a while now, with his own unique brand of production becoming the template for a lot of R&B and hip-hop. He’s worked with the top of the music business and in a resurfaced clip, he spoke about his experience with working with Aaliyah and her estate.
Reflecting back upon the perceived mainstream decline of T-Pain’s career on VladTV, Akon recently offered up his thoughts as to why T-Pain’s career never grew beyond the confines of urban radio.
“I think one of the major reasons is that T-Pain never left the hood. He just confined his music to urban music… That was it. I saw T-Pain as another me, to be able to cross outside of urban. Go into pop, go into EDM, go into Latin—I still think ’til this day he still can do it.”
Akon suggested that urban music listeners weren’t “loyal” and acts like T-Pain suffered from that – and their inability to reinvent themselves.
“You and I know better than anybody, urban audiences aren’t loyal. Every year there’s a new n*gga. Every year. So, you gotta take full advantage, maximize your urban presence, and then right as that side n*gga come in, you exit… Hip hop, it’s a [stick] and move. It don’t stick around long enough unless you continue to reinvent yourself.”
Loyalty in fandom has even been given a term – “stan,” which is short for a stalker and a fan. However, when a star dies, their legacy becomes fixed in history, and one of those artists is Aaliyah. The singer’s tragic death hit the world hard, considering her cut down on the cusp of her success.
T-Pain thinks however that because of her death, her legacy may have been exaggerated – as tends to happen when prominent people are lost suddenly and the world struggles to mourn people that were complicated as they were talented.
In a resurfaced clip, T-Pain discusses the legacy of Aaliyah due to the project he’s releasing containing unreleased vocals from the deceased singer on the song “Girlfriends.” When the interviewer asked about the controversy of T-Pain using auto-tune on Aaliyah’s vocals, T-Pain spoke up about the star and the height of her stardom when she passed.
“People tend to – I don’t know man – I’m not trying to discredit Aaliyah in any kind of way. But you know how sometimes when people die–yeah. You know how somebody’s an asshole their whole life, but when you go to their funeral it’s like ‘This guy was the greatest man that ever walked…’ No, I’m just sayin’!”
After the crowd becomes a bit rowdy, T-Pain tried to further clarify his statements.
“No, I’m not saying Aaliyah. But it’s like because she passed, nobody is deserving of being next to her. Nobody’s good enough. Nobody is good enough because she passed. If she was still alive, then everybody would’ve been like, ‘Oh! She’s tryna be Beyoncé!’ If she were still alive right now. But now that she’s passed, it’s like ‘Nobody could be her! Nobody could be her!’ That’s just how I feel. That’s how it goes. And that’s how people are, man. People look for s**t to talk about.”
See the clip below.