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ALBUM REVIEW: T-Pain – Thr33 Ringz

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 LP’s few

ballads. Over a sprawling, dirge-like track, T-Pain takes aim at his many style

imitators and anoints himself as the ringleader of today’s 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

contemporaries.

T-Pain’s 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 album’s standout comedic verses.

T-Pain has no problems keeping up here, crooning to his woman “I don’t need

your sex, I’ll 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 he’s 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 who’ve painted his record-breaking run as a mockery of good

music.

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 ringleader’s versatility and solid

singing voice.

Thr33 Ringz will give ammunition to both fans and criticizers of

T-Pain – there are enough skits and pedestrian songs for detractors to

say he’s decreasing the quality of mainstream R&B. On the other hand, fans

can point to several creative, original tracks to reference the singer’s skill

and mastery of today’s music scene. Whatever stance you take, T-Pain’s Thr33

Ringz displays that while just about

anyone can take a shot at the Auto-Tune sound, there’s only one living master.

THR33 RINGZ

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