When rapper T-Pain visited NPR for a Tiny Desk concert, they asked the King of Auto-Tune to perform his set without any vocal enhancement or embellishment. The result is nothing short of amazing.
T-Pain is certainly not the first artist to use Auto-Tune in his work — Cher had a number one smash back in 1999 that was fully auto-tuned, for one — but he certainly made the effect ubiquitous, and is probably the only artist to have an auto-tune app named after him. But many people dismiss auto-tune as a gimmick used by less talented artists, which T-Pain has issue with.
But somewhere along the way, somebody got it twisted. “People felt like I was using it to sound good,” says T-Pain, in an interview that will air on All Things Considered. “But I was just using it to sound different.”
At this point, hearing T-Pain without auto-tune sounds way more different, but in a good way. His acoustic version of “Buy u a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” sounds like a John Legend cover. T-Pain has a greatest hits album coming out next week, but after that, he should consider an album of stripped-down love ballads.