The first time I heard T-pain was with his minor hit Im in Love with a stripper, it was cleaned up for the radio to Im in love with a dancer and even back then he had decided to roll with the robotic sound that sounded like a voice box, this process had been expiremented with before and the first big hit to use it extensively was Tell me Something Good By Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, it was upped to a gimmick by the legendary funk master Roger Troutman and his band Zapp. With his hit More Bounce To The Ounce and over a dozen more hits that sounded similar. Others experimenting with that sound were all the Electro-Rap groups like Afrikka Bambatta, Newcleus, Twlight 22 and others. In the 90’s groups like Jodeci and Teddy Riley and Guy experimented with it as an effect It was just a dash but not the whole bottle. Which brings us back to TP the nappy boy.
In the zero years this effect was rarely used until Tizzy showed up, had some small level success but after the megahit Buy You A Drink blew up like a BP oil rig, he refused to be known as a one hit wonder and kept on making more noise with the new version of the Voice Box. The Software program known as Auto-Tune. The intention was to correct any bad notes and keep you in tune hence the name but if you turn the effect up to 10 it just sounds robotic, and the artistic liscene kicks in that you do want to sound that way. So the next thing you know, Tee jumps being a regional artist with some strip club songs to being an A list artist that everyone wants to cameo on there record to get a hit, because it’s the hot thing. And the next thing ya know ya got him guest starring on Pop Lock And Drop It the Remix, Low with Florida, Shorty (Plies first hit), Blame It with Jamie Fox, The Good Life (with Kanye), Chopped and Screwed (with Ludacris) even a forgotten tune with Dance Crew Judge Lil Mamma and it goes on and on.
That’s the history so WHERE IS AUTOTUNE TODAY? Getting spoofed by the Boondocks that’s what. As a microcosm of the struggles in the music (especially rap) in 2010, the fictional rapper Thugnificent has fallen on dire straits, All his cars are getting repossessed, and his new album (with all auto tune) tracks bombs badly, he is reduced to selling crack and even one of his rock head customers criticizes has last poorly received CD saying that yeah autotunes horrible. Its official when the Boondocks clowns you then you are officially done, I also recently saw a webcast newshow that Auto-tunes the news, and its as stupid as it sounds. They do a real newshow about the issues of the day but due it with there voice to auto-tune and its one of the most annoying things I ever heard in my life. It’s a new decade and time for new trends and it does appear that T-Pain and his gimmick will be part of it, and good riddance but if you are hooked on this sonic crack pick up the Tizzy album Epiphany - TPAIN
Early Versions of Auto-Tune
Roger More Bounce
Tell Me Something Good
Stevie Wonder Voicebox