Jay-Z said Auto-Tune was dead on his 2009 single "DOA (Death of Auto-Tune)." That didn't stop T-Pain, an artist who has had much success with the voice manipulation software, from introducing a mobile application that mimicked the Auto-Tune effect that same year. Yet Thursday the hip-hop singer proclaimed that he’s ditching the software that's been prominently featured on his hit songs.
"I'm done with Auto-Tune,” he said in a statement. "I vow right here, right now, to never use Auto-Tune again.”
But don't go thinking T-Pain is about to show the world some stripped-down vocals. He has his own voice-altering software in the works, dubbed the T-Pain Effect. How the T-Pain Effect will differ from the T-Pain-via-Auto-Tune-effect remains unknown, but the rapper believes his technology is"bigger and better."
He isn't going it alone, either. The performer partnered with audio technology company iZotope to develop the product that he hopes will “evolve his sound.”
Ice Cube, Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco and T-Pain are all slated to headline Power 106's summer hip-hop concert, Powerhouse.
The full lineup for the concert was announced by the radio station Thursday. Trey Songz, who headlined last year, is listed as a special guest alongside Fiasco. Also slated to appear is R&B singer Jeremih, LMFAO, DJ Quik, Big Sean, Mann and the Rej3ctz.
Last year's lineup included appearances from Drake, Snoop Dogg, Ne-Yo, Diddy-Dirty Money, Jason Derulo, B.o.B and Bruno Mars. Tickets for the June 25 concert at the Honda Center go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. through LiveNation.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photos, from left: Ice Cube (credit: ESPN); Wiz Khalifa (credit: Darren Ankenman); Lupe Fiasco (credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times); T-Pain. (credit: Anthony Cutajar).
Cancún. Daytona Beach. Panama City. Fort Lauderdale.
All popular spring break vacations for college students looking to unwind, drink copious amounts of alcohol and perhaps partake in a wet T-shirt contest or two. The frequency of the latter sort of debauchery may or may not depend on the presence of MTV camera crews.
There was a time when Atlanta was a hot destination during spring break with its annual Freaknik festival, which in its heyday attracted hundreds of thousands of predominately black students from the surrounding colleges and universities.There was loud music, barely there bikinis, globs of people clogging traffic, and cameras were known to be rolling -- mostly to record the ladies.
It’s been more than 10 years since Atlanta has seen the festival, but thanks to Adult Swim and T-Pain, the party has been resurrected from the grave.
On Sunday, the Cartoon Network will premiere “Freaknik: The Musical,” a 60-minute animated feature produced by, and starring, the rapper -- and yes, there will be use of Auto-Tune.
For a bit of context on how a pop-rapper behaving terribly can recover in the public eye, think back to the halcyon days of 2007. Akon, the singer/producer, was fresh off an incident in a Trinidad 18-and-up club where he engaged in a lascivious bit on onstage grinding with a female fan who, it turns out, was 16 at the time. Trinidad police launched an investigation (that they soon dropped), but Verizon pulled a reported $3 million worth of sponsorship money from his tour with Gwen Stefani in response. In the court of public opinion, "Konvict Music" proved an apt name for his business ventures.
Now, Akon could have chosen to go the R. Kelly route and simply ignore all this while making even more sexually overblown (and brilliant) records. But he didn't. He went full-bore meta and released one of the strangest singles of the year, "Sorry, Blame It on Me," a monument to passive-aggressive R&B wimpsterism. On the track, he self-flagellates in great detail about both his absentee relationships and the Trinidad incident while -- sort of justifiably -- ducking much of that aforementioned blame:
"I'm sorry for Club Zen getting shut down / I hope they manage better next time around / how was I to know she was underage?...Verizon backed out disgracing my name / I'm just a singer trying to entertain / Because I love my fans I'll take that blame."
It was so weird, so contrary to all standard PR-agent instincts to decline comment on anything like this, that "Sorry" left upset fans with nothing to complain about that Akon hadn't already said first in the song. And wouldn't you know, people stopped talking about Akon as creepy-dance-floor-guy and let him get back to producing and writing in peace. Of course, he then promptly bodyslammed a kid at a radio festival and started this all over, but that's another story.
Which brings us to Kanye West, who had a less aggressive but even more public-upsetting run-in with a young girl onstage recently. There might be something for Kanye to learn from in the tale of Akon: It's a lot harder to criticize someone if they said it all first, and loudest (Eminem's character also tried this to great effect at the end of "8 Mile"). And who better to put out a withering self-critique than Kanye West? He's practically already written one, with "Everything I Am" from "Graduation" taking on the topic of his awards-show bad behavior (and, presciently, praising Beyonce).
At the end of this now-boilerplate "Intro to Auto-Tune for Frightened Boomers" story in Time is a small glimpse at a future in which drunken phone fights with your ladyfriend can precisely replicate "808s & Heartbreak." T-Pain and Antares are collaborating on an Auto-Tune app for the iPhone, with which you can use the company's vocal-transforming software to pitch-shift your own voice via cellphone.