Remember the funny, chubby, black kid at your middle school that was a great dancer and had artistic skills but never got any ass? Hold your belief in karma, as the kid has grown into the Grammy award winning man T-Pain. A Tuesday night performance in OC proved that the man who's been in our lives for nearly 10 years has made quite the mark on not only hip-hop, but pop culture in general.
An 11:30pm appearance was too late for a portion in the crowd who left UCI libraries for a musical break, so by the time T-Pain had stepped out from backstage in a red beanie with Forever 21-esque spikes coming out of the side, the venue was hardly as packed as it was for the 10 opening acts preceding the Tallahassee native.
“We gone have some fun tonight or what?” asks Pain without his signature Auto-Tune modified his voice. Throughout the night, the digital effect would solely serve as background vocals while we got the real Faheem Rasheed Najm -T-Pain's government name. Pain implores the crowd to engage with him through their minds instead of pulling big screen TVs and 27″ iMac screens from their pockets.
T-Pain began his set, riddled with covers and remixes, with his the four-year-old hit “Booty Wurk.” His bodyroll dance evoked cheers from the crowd. Throughout the night he'd mix pop-locking motions that interpreted his song lyrics into the slew of hits he's been responsible for since we fell in love with a stripper. When his selector, DJ Monte, started “I'm On One,” one of the covers T-Pain would put his twist, the 28 year-old, still chubby as he was a decade ago played air guitar so aggressively his chain swung violently around his neck.
Flamboyant dance moves, often synchronized with his hypeman's, were just one facet of rapper-singer's exhibit. One of Pain's backup dancers turned opening acts also joined in on the choreography, jumping over Pain like playground jump rope session into the “Walk it out” dance. Later the two would put on imaginary seatbelts, adjust imaginary rearview mirrors and two-step their way from the DJ table to the front of the stage. T-Pain would push the shove the backup dancer backstage as one his solo dances hit a peak
With the Auto-Tune absent, Pain was able to make impromptu DJ cuts with his mouth over the beginning of “U an Dat (Booty),” as well as tell more jokes in between his songs.
It turns out T-Pain was not the only Grammy award winner in the building. DJ Montay, the man behind Pain the whole was responsible for a slew of hits that included Flo Rida's “Low.”
“If y'all didn't know, DJ Montay's a producer” Pain explains. “If you don't what a producer is, a producer is guy who makes beats” he goes on to say. “And if you don't know what a beat is, you shouldn't fuckin' be here!” Pain says with a delivery reminiscent of funnyman Kevin Hart's.
By this time a sweeper saying “Nappy Boy!”–T-Pain's record label, which had become filler as DJ Montay shuffled to find the next song–was irking. It often threw off the momentum of the show and in between the hits that predate “Turn Down for What,” the crowd was often pastoral.
By this time, the red shirt Pain wore was blotched with sweat stains. If he still lugged around his lengthy dreadlocks, it's likely his beanie would have looked the same. One of the “Buy You A Drank” singer's characteristics had not changed though. That was the pudge that showed through the soaking t-shirt.
“You can tell I been eatin'” he says before putting his mic on torso and slapping his stomach for the venue to hear. The vibe would, then, slow down more than it had for any other portion of the night as the sultry R&B hits “I Can't Believe It,” “5 O'Clock,” and “Bartender” played.
Before dropping the mic and concluding the hour set with his newest single “Drankan' Patna,” from his upcoming album Stoicville: The Phoenix,, T-Pain tried to inspire the crowd with “All I Do Is Win” and “All the Above”, and though everyone in the building put their hands and kept them until further direction, they didn't dare ask for an encore and with work and finals to attend to tomorrow the Observatory was empty.
Critic's Bias: When “Get Money” played and it came time to throw money, I was looking forward to a few dollars flying my way to pay for gas, sadly no one decided to make it rain.
The Crowd: Instagram thugs with Old English font written on their snapbacks and chicks wearing jerseys with high-waisted shorts. It was a live slideshow of urban fashion blogs.
Overheard: Before T-Pain came on there was guy yelling the lyrics to Yung Dro's “FDB (Fuck Dat Bitch)” awfully loud. The guy obviously needs closure.
Random Notebook Dump: T-Pains shuffle while “Sexy and I Know It” played was kinda painful to watch as no one's actually shuffled for, like, two years.
Buy You A Drank
Walk It Out
Black and Yellow verse
Blame it on the Alcohol
Make it Rain (remix)
Crank that Nae Nae (remix)
U and Dat x Turn Down for What
I Can't Believe It
5 O'clock x Between the Sheets (Isley Brothers)
I'm N Luv (With a Stripper)
All I Do Is Win
All the Above
I listen to music. I write about it. I like hot sauce on my chicken.