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Ask A Rapper: Grammy-Winning Electro-Songbird T-Pain

The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to [email protected].

Note: We'd just like to mention that in the scant two-month history of the Ask A Rapper column, we've brought questions to two Grammy winners. You know, it's nothing really, but we're just throwing that out there. Thanks.

This Week's Rapper: T-Pain, in town for the Heineken Red Star Soul tour

This Week's Subject(s): Does Auto-Tune equal a Grammy; the non-machineness of Auto-Tune; how Jay-Z wasn't really taking a dig at him with "Death of Auto-Tune."

We always write our interview questions down beforehand. It just helps everything run that much smoother. When we took it out, T-Pain playfully leaned forward to see what we were going to ask. That's where we'll jump in.

Ask A Rapper: Hey, hey, whoa. You can't look at the questions before we ask them. That takes all of the suspense out of it.

T-Pain: [laughs]

AAR: Ok, real quick. If we get an Auto-Tune machine, will we win a Grammy? It's that easy, right?

T-Pain: I don't know what an Auto-Tune machine is.

AAR: Wait, what? It's not a machine? What about that [T-Pain vs. Auto-Tune] video we saw? That wasn't real?

T: Nah, we just put "Vocoder" on a tape recorder and it's automatically an Auto-Tune machine. But nah, it's definitely not that easy 'cause you still gotta write a good song.

AAR: Dang. We probably couldn't do that part.

T: You could put a lot of Auto-Tune on it and it'll still be a sucky song. [Laughs] AAR: Okay, for real, the D.O.A. song, that was dope, right?

T: Yeah, dope song. [He was clearly irritated with this question. "Yeah, dope song" sounded a lot like "Fuck off." We can only assume it was the 5,000th time he's been asked about that song.]

AAR: Didn't we read somewhere that you were pushing up your album or sending out a response or something because of it?

T: Nah, why would I do that?

AAR: We mean, he says your name in there.

T: Cause he says, "Get back to rap, y'all T-Paining too much," so he was talking about other people doing my stuff too much.

AAR: Uh, so it's like a big-ups to you?

T: Yeah, pretty much like "Hey, rappers, keep rapping. Don't T-Pain."

AAR: Ah. And then, you know, how much did your chain cost?

T: $410,000

AAR: Get the - all right, high-five. One high-five for the chain.

T: [high-fives]

Follow T-Pain at @DaRealerstTPain and see him online at www.t-pain.net.

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Shea Serrano