Tuesday, November 11, 2008

album review: t-pain - thr33 ringz (2008)

Artist: T-Pain
Album: Thr33 Ringz
Record Label: Jive Records/Nappy Boy Entertainment
Release Date: November 11, 2008

You either love him or hate him, but chances are, you’ve heard at least one of his songs in the past few years. T-Pain has been hip-hop and r&b’s go-to guy for hooks and cameos since he released Rappa Ternt Sanga in 2005, which along with 2007’s Epiphany, have been subpar and underwhelming releases in the genre, save a few chart-toppers.

500 hooks and an inflated ego later, T-Pain is on a high from his third studio release, Thr33 Ringz, which has been highly anticipated for some time. The circus-esque concept of the record comes from T-Pain, who deems himself the “ringleader” of the current rap game.

Although T-Pain is commonly known as the guy who made the vocoder cool again, he shows off his emcee skills in lead track “Welcome to Thr33 Ringz,” which abrasively leads into melody-heavy “Ringleader Man,” which puts the album off to an awkward start.

T-Pain never fails to deliver songs that will undoubtedly see huge success on the radio. Aside from his lead single, “Can’t Believe It,” Pain teams up with Ludacris on the Texas-inspired “Chopped and Screwed,” and Chris Brown on “Freeze,” both of which are set to be singles and club staples.

He also maintains a subtle sense of humor in many songs, like the Kanye West assisted “Therapy,” where the both of them speak on failing relationships and having their couches returned. “It Ain’t Me” shoos away the gold diggers, as T.I. and Akon lend their talents to the track.

As is the case with many hip-hop releases nowadays, there is a lot of filler on Thr33 Ringz. Aside from the obnoxious skits that everyone hates or skips, songs like “Blowing Up” and “Long Lap Dance” are throwaways, and the latter of which has sentiments already expressed in 2006 single “I’m In Luv Wit a Stripper.”

T-Pain even branches out and takes a shot at diversity while attempting a ballad with “Keep Going,” a song complete with acoustic guitars and piano. Aside from “Keep Going,” the second half of Thr33 Ringz falls completely flat. Songs like “Superstar Lady” and “Digital” are hardly impressive and instantly forgettable.

Overall, Thr33 Ringz is an entertaining release that bridges the gap between hip-hop and pop, and will surely be saturating your local radio station in no time. T-Pain is not necessarily as legendary as he claims to be. However, the man has an obvious gift and with his work ethic, he will remain relevant. None of this matters, though. In the time it took to complete this review, T-Pain just wrote the hooks to five more Billboard top 100 tracks.

Grade: C-

t-pain on myspace

p.s. related/unrelated note: who the hell said dj khaled could drop N bombs all over t-pain's albums? ridiculous.


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