What do you do when your
signature style has been lifted, copied and run into the ground by every rapper
and R&B star of note? For T-Pain, the Tallahassee native just continues to
refine his Auto-Tune sound and use his anticipated new album, Thr33 Ringz, [Konvict,/Jive] to poke fun at the circus which is
the music industry.
After a brief, frenetic
rapping intro, the album kicks off with Ringleader Man, one of the LPs few
ballads. Over a sprawling, dirge-like track, T-Pain takes aim at his many style
imitators and anoints himself as the ringleader of todays music scene. Instead
of coming off as a whiner, the versatile songwriter makes a triumphant
statement on how the Auto-Tune is still his and his alone among his
T-Pains chemistry with
other artists is again on display with over ten guest appearances for Thr33
Ringz. Chris Brown meshes well for a
funky dance track on Freeze, while Ciara assists the by-the-numbers but
enjoyable Blowing Up. Kanye West thankfully puts away his own Auto-Tune
obsession on Therapy, delivering one of the albums standout comedic verses.
T-Pain has no problems keeping up here, crooning to his woman I dont need
your sex, Ill masturbate.
T-Pain channels all of his
frustration on the uncharacteristically angry Karaoke. Finally addressing
those who feel he is a Roger Troutman rip-off, the singer lashes back and
argues hes the only one rightly continuing the legacy of his predecessors.
Showing competent rap skills, T-Pain for the first time draws a line in the
sand against those whove painted his record-breaking run as a mockery of good
When the singer very
briefly puts away the Auto-Tune, he shows good vocal range on Keep Going. All
too rare on this album, T-Pain discards the synths, loud drums, and
club-centered lyrics to blow over a sparse, piano melody. The short respite
offers a needed glimpse on this LP to the ringleaders versatility and solid
Thr33 Ringz will give ammunition to both fans and criticizers of
T-Pain there are enough skits and pedestrian songs for detractors to
say hes decreasing the quality of mainstream R&B. On the other hand, fans
can point to several creative, original tracks to reference the singers skill
and mastery of todays music scene. Whatever stance you take, T-Pains Thr33
Ringz displays that while just about
anyone can take a shot at the Auto-Tune sound, theres only one living master.