Just when I was finally starting to dig on T-Pain’s computerized whine–it was his creeped-out turn on the “Pop, Lock, and Drop It” remix what did it, and then the “I’m A Flirt” remix–dude starts fronting like he’s been anointed dictator for life of the vocal FX industry, claiming that everybody’s stealing his “signature” shtick during a Hot 97 interview:
T-pain…telling my girl Angie Martinez that artists better stop using autotuner (that’s the voicebox effect that T-Pain uses to , err, “enhance” his singing skills and make him sound like a robot) “without his permission.” He goes on to say that everyone made fun of him for using autotuner but now they’re copying him. “They know who they are….some rappers are doing it too.” T-Pain then says that its okay, but he better be getting paid for it.
The Missinfo post already mentions T-Pain’s more obvious inspirations (Roger Troutman, Teddy Riley)–which I’m sure not even Teddy Pain himself would deny–but what about the computerized/tuning effects that R&B producers have been throwing on vocals for decades now, not only to tweak them into perfection but because they sound futuristic. (Admittedly they’re usually used a little more subtly than T-Pain’s uncomfortably ululating robo-croak.) Listening to the Angie Martinez clip, I’m guessing he was probably joking, mixed with a little genuine grouchiness that grinches who griped that he was gimmicky are now ganking his golden gimmick. Still, watch it pal … or the spirits of vocoders past will find you.
Ass Of The Day Pt. 2…T-Pain [Missinfo.tv]