You’d think that after six years of not releasing any new music, an artist would finally drop something that is unique or cutting edge, or even different from their prior works (like Fleet Foxes or Ted Leo for example). T-Pain did none of that on his fifth studio record, Oblivion.
Known for his revolution of the autotune pitch-correction, T-Pain produced hit after hit, with songs like, “Low” with Flo Rida, or “Good Life” with Kanye West, where these killer tracks became club bangers. His style worked then, but with the evolution of new auto-tune titans such as Travis Scott and Lil Uzi, T-Pain sounds extremely outdated on his new project.
It’s almost as if the Florida artist hid under a rock for six years and missed the new wave of rappers who enhanced the sound that he began more than ten years ago. Guys like Travis and Uzi have stepped it up a notch with the vocal effects, and there’s no more room for Pain’s bland production anymore.
Oblivion not only carries monotonous aesthetic, but also channels discouraging and borderline disturbing lyricism. Specifically on the song, “Straight,” T-Pain sounds severely tone-deaf with lyrics like, “Ima get you straight in line,” and “walking around the mansion with a white beater.” In the political landscape that we live in today, it is incredibly senseless to talk about feeding a girl dick and keeping her straight, especially with all that is going on in the entertainment industry right now. Having Chris Brown as a feature doesn’t help either.
“Pu$$y on the Phone” is another instance where Pain brings tastelessness to a whole other level. In no way does he sound seducing on this single, especially with a line like, “The neighbors going to think I’m a wife beater.” Even without that melody, he still sounds wholly unsexy. Not to mention sonically, he isn’t breaking any barriers or giving us a new sound at all.
He then decides to drop in a painful seven minute track called “May I,” where he tries to add this 90s “California Love” type autotune effect that falls flat on its face. The Mr. Talkbox edition does little more than give us the impression that T-Pain is struggling to turn the clock back. In all honestly, the only time that I felt like he was playing to his strengths is on the very first single, “Who Died.” While the writing is pretty simplistic, at least it was short and too the point.
If you don’t have clever writing or interesting beats, what do you have in a rap album? T-Pain sure doesn’t bring any swagger. This feels like one of those albums where it would be awkward to listen too with anyone around you. It’s shocking to see how incapable he is in constructing a project with any thought, especially considering how long it took for this to get released.
The worst part about this listening experience is T-Pain thinks he comes off as charming, but honestly, he’s just downright creepy. This album is offensive on all levels, and it makes me wonder if anyone religiously listens to this.
It’s difficult for me to defend someone who has taken such an uninteresting approach to their artistry, and produces a complete dud. The person who revolutionized this melodic sound effect that many rappers have used multiple times in their discography has reached a new low. The title of this album, Oblivion,” speaks perfectly to T-Pain’s state of mind right now. He’s oblivious to his surroundings and where this world is at. Mix that with boring production, laziness, and the fact that it took six years for this train wreck to be released, and you’ve got yourselves a perfect storm of toxic waste.