The T-Pain Effect: How Auto-Tune Ruined Music… And Saved Hip-Hop

Question: “What is the difference between the old blues and the new?”

Answer: “Electricity.”

—Albert Goldman interview with Jimi Hendrix, 1968

Faheem Rasheed Najm, the Grammy-winning producer, entrepreneur, and “rapper ternt sanga” known around the world as T-Pain, was flying to the BET Awards a couple of years ago when a flight attendant approached him to say that another passenger wanted to talk. The person was waiting in the galley, she informed him. T-Pain unfastened his seat belt and got up to investigate.

The T-Pain Effect: How Auto-Tune Ruined Music... And Saved Hip-Hop

Standing at the rear of the plane was Usher.

“He said, ‘Yo, man, I need to talk to you. I need to express something that’s on my mind,” T-Pain recalls. “And it was like, ‘Yo, you kind of f***** up music. Like, completely.’”

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