Throwback Thursday Review: Rappa Ternt Sanga | T-Pain



T-pain crafted both a dance-floor/bedroom epic with Rappa Ternt Sanga. Chalked full of layered harmonies, acoustic six-strings, rhythmic snaps, claps and just the right amount of bass. T-Pain took his southern coast-style of rap and infused it with intense vocal pitches and alterations, effectively becoming the poster boy for autotuned music. Let’s clear one thing up too, T-Pain has an incredible natural voice. People tend to think that he uses autotune because he can’t sing, but that couldn’t be more incorrect. He is a perfectly competent singer but simply strives for a different sound by utilizing the vocoder. That is actually what makes his music so interesting to listen to, its uniqueness.

Take the tonal changes and other altered elements out and what you have is an R&B album. What autotune did was give him the ability to amplify his voice and turn a typical, soft-spoken verse into an orchestral, room-filling emission. Clean vocal echoes stream over both light electronic and acoustic elements with efficiency and ease. Really, the only purpose the instrumentals need to serve is to give us something to rhythmically nod our heads or move our feet to. In that, they more than fulfill their musical duty. Highlighting T-Pain’s voice as an instrument makes every note, be it instrumental or vocal sound as though they have a cohesive bond to one another. From the sporadic hi-hats of ‘I’m Sprung’ to the revolving flute sounds of ‘I’m In Luv’, few elements mean few distractions.  

The subject matter never strays too far from T-Pain’s adoration of love and women. Clearly easily persuaded by the sight and touch of a beautiful woman, T-Pain succumbs to his sexual vices more often than not. And more often than not, the music’s subject matter and vocal arrangements work as audible advantage, contextualizing it to the bedroom. The moments where he steps out into the world and deals with the stress of bills and even family alienation reveal how much more there is to this sang-rappa.

His music doesn’t need to be particularly deep, honest or telling. Rather than trying to be an open book here, he instead concerns himself with his fantasies. It plays much like a dream. His sweeping vocals layer the musical landscape with enough energy and emotion to keep his narrow lane of subject matter engaging for most of the 71-minute runtime. T-Pain crashed onto the scene with a sound that no other artists possessed at the time. It came as a sort of culture shock to both R&B and Hip-hop because of its unique take on both. It polarized conversations about music for years to come. Is autotune really singing? Yes, yes it is. Far from a perfect album but close to a revolutionary one that would go on to change elements of music production forever. T-Pain will always hold a special undocumented place in Hip-Hop and R&B where there are no rules to abide by and autotune runs rampantly and beautifully free.


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