T-Pain is not dissing Kanye, DJ Khaled or Akon. They appear in the video for his new swagger jacker diss track "Karaoke." T-Pain has also excluded Lil' Wayne from any of the venom he spews on the song that claims that unidentified artists have borrowed his style without permission. But even without naming names, the rappa ternt singa manages to create one of the year's funniest viral videos.
The video opens with T-Pain and Kanye in a men's restroom, suggesting Auto-Tune abuse. T-Pain exits to find a middle aged Asian man in a business suit performing his hit "Can't Believe It" on a karaoke stage. A frustrated T-Pain bum rushes the performance to salvage his song as his animated hype man DJ Khaled verbally assaults the audience of mainly elderly, seemingly out of place white people.
There is obviously genuine beef behind T-Pain's profanity filled accusations. But this may be the first hip-hop diss so funny (in video at least) that the attacks on other nameless rappers get lost in the humor.
Though I am a big T-Pain fan, I question his owning of the Auto-Tune/Vocoder/Talk Box sound in R&B and hip-hop music. For me, it was Roger Troutman who popularized the sound with his '80s hits with Zapp, "More Bounce To The Ounce" and "Computer Love."
But T-Pain does give the late Troutman and Teddy Riley a shout-out in the song.
Ironically, T-Pain is often knocked because he sings with the enhanced effects for which he is boasting. But why would he not enhance his vocals? He's not a true singer. Did you see him on the Hip Hop Honors Awards when he tried performing Keith's Sweat's "I Want Her" without the Auto-Tune? I am sure for a moment Teddy Riley, who produced the song, wasn't sure if he was being honored or roasted? It was that bad.
You can't argue, however, T-Pain's success. He has more mainstream hip-hop tracks on the charts than any other producer. And while some of you will argue with me, aside from his synthesized vocals, T-Pain does not have a signature production sound like Timbaland, the Neptunes or Dr. Dre, and that has helped him avoid over saturation. Before you try to call me out, you have to admit that his song "Can't Believe It," Chris Brown's "Kiss Kiss," and Flo Rida's "Low," sound nothing alike, and T-Pain produced or or-produced them all.
- DJ Khaled