Today in Hip Hop History: September 30, 1985
Faheem Rashad Najm, also known as T-Pain, was born in Tallahassee, Florida in 1985. T-Pain is a singer, rapper, producer, actor and record label executive. T-Pain is most notably known for his mid 2000’s popularization of auto tune, but he can sing without it as well. From 2006 to 2010, T-Pain featured on over 50 chart topping singles, the most popular being Flo Rida‘s “Low,” which has since gone 6x RIAA Certified Platinum.
The name T-Pain is short for “Tallahassee Pain,” which symbolizes the hardships he endured when growing up and living in the city. At the young age of 10, Najm transformed his bedroom in a music studio containing a beat machine, keyboard and a four-track recorder. In 2004, he joined the hip hop group Nappy Headz and recorded a cover of contemporary Akon‘s song “Locked Up.” Upon hearing the track, Akon inked T-Pain to a deal on his label, Konvict Muzik.
T-Pain released his debut album Rappa Ternt Sanga in 2005 to commercial success; the album peaked at #33 on the Billboard 200 and became RIAA Certified Gold. T-Pain’s sophomore effort, Epiphany, contained the hit singles “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” and “Bartender,” featuring Yung Joc and Akon respectively. He has since released his third and fourth albums, Thr33 Ringz and Revolver.
Despite solo career success, T-Pain found much of his allure within hip hop and R&B features. He has featured on such songs as “Cash Flow” by Ace Hood, “The Boss” by Rick Ross, “Can’t Believe It” by Lil Wayne, “Good Life” by Kanye West and “Baby Don’t Go” by Fabolous among numerous other songs.
In addition, his other ventures include creating his own iPhone App and acting in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Freaknik: The Musical and Lottery Ticket. Najm also founded his own record label, Nappy Boy Entertainment, in 2010, which features a roster of Shawnna, Tay Dizm, Young Cash and others.
All of the auto tune (shitty or not) that you hear today is heavily influenced on T-Pain’s innovative usage of the sound effect. 808s & Heartbreak, Drake, Future and several other artists/projects have T-Pain to thank for his contribution to the hip hop world.