When asked about how he’s reacted to a changing industry that rewards songs and mixtapes more than ever, T-Pain described being positioned for the current landscape early in his career.
“I don’t think it’s really an adjustment for me because, you know, I’ve never been an album guy,” he said. “None of my albums have done super great. Epiphany went platinum, Rappa Ternt Sanga went platinum, all my albums went platinum, but it’s like, it’s not really an album game for me. I can drop singles for the rest of my life. Just this one album that I’m working on now, Stoicville, I done recorded 110 songs already. I can just keep dropping singles for no reason and be straight and really ain’t got to do no shows, I can just chill at the house and be straight."
Referring to the introduction of media players and digital retailers like iTunes in the early 2000s, T-Pain described a stronger-than-ever focus on single songs. “When the digital age came in, and iTunes started, letting people buy singles on they own, that was the end of the album game. You telling me I can actually buy the song that I actually like without spending the rest of this money? Of course I’m just getting that, that’s all it is.”
Still, the Nappy Boy Entertainment founder detailed his motivation to simply feature on other musicians’ work. “I got royalty checks coming in from four years ago that I just signed contracts to,” he said. “So that money just been accumulating, that’s what people don’t understand, I don’t get regular royalty checks...these people got to realize, I been on 50 #1 songs damn-near. I can sit back and just rely on other people’s work. You got to realize, when you on somebody else’s song, you ain’t got to spend no money on promotion, you ain’t got to pay no label back, you ain’t got to do nothing, them people doing all the work for you. So all you got to do is sit back and collect the check for the sweet-ass song you made. You know, shit’s good. It’s nothing I have to conform to, I’m just out here making music man, I’m just in here doing my thing.”
During the interview, T-Pain also touched on being a part in almost every stage of a song’s creation. “I really stay in the studio for real,” he said. “I got two studios in my crib, a lot of people don’t like to have studios in they crib, they feel like they can’t catch a vibe, I catch a vibe wherever...I make the beat, write the song to the beat, record it, sitting here with my engineer while we mixing it. I’m basically part of the whole process until putting the song out happens and I might still put it out myself.”
Last month, T-Pain spoke with HipHoDX in an exclusive interview in which he talked about the possibility that his musical legacy will be almost completely tied to Auto-Tune. “It’s not gonna bother me at all, as long as my name is known,” he said. “People will make up anything they want about you. They feel like they can evaluate you, break you down and really divide you into what you can do. But when people really do the research for real, that’s when they find out. So if I do leave a legacy with my music here, it will be enough of it and enough different kinds of it—with so many different people—where it wouldn’t even matter how much you break it down. You’re going to find out like, ‘Oh shit, that dude actually was good. I didn’t know that. I didn’t actually give him a chance. He got Justin Biebered.’”