T-Pain is only beginning to get the credit he deserves as a pop innovator. His use of Auto-Tune on a series of hits in the ’00s foreshadowed not just Kanye West‘s 808s and Heartbreaks, but the success of two of hip-hop’s biggest stars, Drake and Future, as well as up-and-comers like Ty Dolla $ign. As part of the singer’s campaign to get respect, he has been doing unusual promotions. The latest is a Tiny Desk concert for NPR, which you can watch below.
NPR Tiny Desk Concerts do not usually involve artists who have owned the radio. T-Pain noted at the beginning of his set: “This is weird as hell for me… didn’t think you guys were gonna be here.” Accompanied by a keyboard — on a smooth, ’70s soul-worthy setting — and aided by no vocal effects, the singer worked his way through “Buy U a Drank” and “Drankin’ Patna.” He also did his recent hit, “Up Down (All Day),” which sounded a whole lot like Michael McDonald‘s 80s classic “I Keep Forgetting (Every Time You’re Near).”
In addition to the NPR appearance, T-Pain did an interview with The New Yorker in which he spoke openly about the past. “I wasn’t getting the credit I felt like I deserved,” he said. “I was getting shitted on.” He also made the news this year when he was open about his admiration for the critically acclaimed singer FKA Twigs.
T-Pain’s next album has an impressive title: Stoicville: The Phoenix.