T-Pain: Musical Bartender
Epiphany is a blend of sex, pain and the experiences that fame and money has brought Faheem Najm. With a new single blowing up the radio and a video creeping its way up the charts, Najm better known as T-Pain sits down with HHDX. In this interview, the sanga turned musical bartender talks about his favorite drink, if hell ever do a full-length album with R. Kelly and shares a few personal epiphanies of his own.
HHDX: Your use of the vocoder makes you stand out in the game was that something that you came along by chance or was it just a decision on your part?
T-Pain: Honestly, I came across it by chance. It just happened. I didnt plan on that making me into the person that I am. I wasnt trying to do it, at first. I was just really into making music. So, the using of the vocoder had just came about out of nowhere, but Im glad that its worked for me.
HHDX: The style of music you make is a hit with the ladies. What determines your songwriting the ladies or the clubs?
T-Pain: Songwriting is determined by me, man just me. I write from real life, you know? Im not trying to get at anybody. I just make the music for myself. Its real life. Personally, I have to like the music that I make more and before everybody else.
HHDX: The single, Buy You A Drink (Shawty) is a burner. Howd the concept of the song come about?
T-Pain: The song just came up. Thats just how everyone is meeting these days. Can I buy you a drink? Thats how people are cultivating a relationship. Its how one may have a one night stand [laughs]. The song is just a reflection of those things.
HHDX: So, when T-Pain is in the club what can a shawty get to drink on your tab?
T-Pain: [Laughs] You know the boy has to have two shots of Patron on the rocks with a little bit of lime.
HHDX: Can you talk a little bit about your new album, Epiphany?
T-Pain: Its just more this time on this album. Theres more pain being exposed. Theres more experiences that I have been going through. The whole album is mature. Theres a song on there called Right Hand. Its about a dude that cheated on his girl and he has to tell her before the rumor mill started up about his infidelity.
HHDX: You blend rap with R&B in your music. How is your writing different between the two? T-Pain: Theres no writing difference between the two. I will say that you have to concentrate more on the R&B writing. But thats only because more people know how to rhyme. Its easier in a sense. Honestly, I prefer writing R&B and singing versus rap. You can put more feeling into it. You dont have to yell just to get your point across. You can be smooth with it. Hell, everyone is a rapper nowadays, so Im trying to be and stay different.
HHDX: Did anything in your life happen that influenced the titling of the album?
T-Pain: Man, Kev everything has been happening in my life. I have had a lot of tragedies to deal with. I lost one of my close friends. People who Ive known have been getting killed. So, Ive had two years to think about this album. Ive poured everything that I could into seventeen tracks on this album.
HHDX: Your boy, Mickey MeMpHiTz Wright, was instrumental in your career. What do you think he saw, or what Akon saw in you that others may have overlooked?
T-Pain: I dont know, man. A lot of people were looking at my hair. They were asking me what I was going to do about that. Thats what it was. I came up different than everyone else. I dont have the same story; the same shit, the same background. Thats how you appear different. So, I took my differences and used that to my advantage.
HHDX: So, given that, how does it feel to be simultaneously slept-on and sought after?
T-Pain: I never felt anything about that. I didnt know how to succeed, you know? I have never tasted success, so it didnt phase me none. I couldnt fail because I never tried.
HHDX: You also branched out and made a song carving into the MySpace craze. How did that come about?
T-Pain: Brandon T. Jackson brought it to me. Nobody would do that song with him. He had brought it to a couple of people, which mainly were a bunch of rappers, and they didnt want to do it. But he brought the track to me. I heard it and we ended up doing it that night. It was his first time in the booth. So, Im glad to have been a part of that experience.
HHDX: Aside from getting hits on your page, you making hits on the charts with R. Kelly. After the success of the songs yall do together could there be any plans of you two doing a whole album together?
T-Pain: [Laughs] Nah, he got too much time on him; too many years on him.
HHDX: Last question with more male R&B singers coming out and selling, how does T-Pain continue to standout within the crowd?
T-Pain: I can only do one thing and thats just be me. I cant do the same shit that everyone else is doing. I have to be a different kind of artist. So, in order to stay ahead, I can only be just me thats all I know.