Five years ago during the album promotion for Blueprint 3, Jay Z was on a mission to make a statement on hip-hop’s reliance on Auto-Tune. His first single from his 11th studio LP was “D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune),” in which he addresses the industry for its overuse of Auto-Tune. With lines like “This is anti-auto-tune/Death of the ringtone/This ain’t for iTunes/This ain’t for sing-alongs” and “My raps don’t have melodies/This should make niggas wanna go and commit felonies,” Hov sent plenty of barbs to artists that have experimented with digital pitch correction.
While he didn’t name-check rappers such as Lil Wayne or Kanye West, Jay did call out T-Pain, who had large success with using Auto-Tune. “You niggas singing too much/Get back to rap, you T-Paining too much,” he rapped. It goes to show how much T-Pain has made his mark in hip-hop, arguably influencing the styles of Future, Rich Homie Quan, Kirko Bangz and more. It also shows that despite Pain’s hiatus from the game, he’s fully returned ready to sustain his career with hits like “Up Down,” which is the first single from his upcoming album Stoicville: The Phoenix.
But what does Pain have to say about the record seemingly aimed at his craft? We asked the R&B crooner his thoughts on the five-year anniversary of Hov’s controversial single. Here’s his response:
“I strived. I beat the game. I beat the industry. I Rick Ross’d his 50 Cent. [Laughs]. You see what I did? So yeah, I beat it. I came through it. I’m still making smashes. I’m still making money. I’m still touring. I’m still doing my thing. The game needs me. I went away for that little bit of time so people can realize, ‘Oh, shit, it’s not sounding the same. Something is missing. What is missing from the game? Everything is sounding the same. Something is going on. Oh! It’s fucking T-Pain!’ I come back. Two smash singles. Bam! Right back in the game! No problem.
“What did Cipha Sounds just say? ‘Oh my God, you really did just take a break because you didn’t lose anything. You took a break on purpose. I didn’t realize it. You did this on purpose!’ Yeah, I did this on purpose. Ain’t nobody gonna take me out of the game. I’m the best. You can’t take the best out of the game. You can’t lose talent. Chris Brown went through what he went through and still came back. Running shit. You know what I’m saying? Everybody went through what they go through. You can’t stop a hit. R. Kelly went through what he went through and still came back and smashed. You can’t count out a hitmaker. My daddy always told me, you cannot count out a hitmaker. It will never happen. I make smashes. I make hits. I’m the best. The industry needs me. That’s exactly what I am here to do to let y’all know this shit ain’t gonna be the same without me.”