Screwston, Texas

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

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Shea Serrano