The name T-Pain, especially for those in college, probably first evokes the phrase “throwback.” It makes us stop and reminisce the incredible buzz he generated as one of the go-to artists in pop music during the late 2000s, appearing on more than 50 chart-topping singles, such as “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” and collaborative hits including “Good Life” with Kanye West and “Low” with Flo Rida.
The rap icon performed a dazzling set at PlayStation Theater on Friday night featuring a long list of fan favorites and trap throwbacks.
Much of the rapper’s performance was a medley of nostalgic beats — a reminder of the days when he had the whole nation dancing to his tunes. He was always quick to build up hype before launching into his previous hits, sometimes by asking the crowd if they were having a good time, or a “good good” time, before launching into his parts on “Good Life.” On the video wall, the screen would alternate between visuals of a Miami beach scene and the current song’s music video.
He also drew from his winning performances from the TV show “The Masked Singer,” performing covers of songs such as Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” and Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It.” These are certainly nostalgic, if not timeless, former hits, and T-Pain played to his crowd well, delivering a unique and powerful spin on them.
Of course, this was primarily a tour for his new album “1UP,” so naturally, he performed many new songs, namely the single “Getcha Roll On,” which features rhythm and blues artist Tory Lanez on the album version. The tracks on “1UP” use less autotune and allow his live performances to be closer replicants of his studio version. Still, one could not help but be captivated, as it turns out the autotune was masking a naturally beautiful voice.
It was clear that T-Pain was also having fun as he performed. Often during a bridge, he would break out into dance, typically doing the robot but also performing more contemporary dances such as the Shoot, popularized first by Blocboy JB last year.
At the end of his performance, an out of breath T-Pain shouted, “We can only go up from here.”
After the way he lit up PlayStation Theater, it is almost impossible to doubt his words. T-Pain has said in previous interviews that the performances he gave on “The Masked Singer” were merely so that he could prove that he’s more than capable without autotune. It’s safe to say that T-Pain is getting the praise he is due.
A version of this article appears in the Monday, March 25, 2019, print edition. Contact Iffat Nur at [email protected]