T-Pain Wrote ‘Good Life’ for Kanye After MC Ordered Food
T-Pain, known for his brand of rapping and singing -- after all, he coined the term "rappa-ternt-sanga," which was also the name of his debut album -- is a musical mastermind, having taught himself the art of production as well as playing a wealth of instruments, piano and guitar included. In a recent interview, conducted by music industry radio veteran Nic Harcourt, the Tallahasee native reveals some interesting tidbits involving his recording history.
During his in-depth 'At: Guitar Center' podcast, T-Pain speaks on his influences, how collaboration challenges him and the pressure to stay relevant in today's changing music climate.
The 25-year-old notes Busta Rhymes, Cee Lo Green and Andre 3000 as lyricists he looked to while getting his start as a member of the Nappy Headz rap outfit. "Anybody that wasn't afraid to step outside of the music box," he reveals of the unique artists who inspired him on the come-up. "They had more courage to do something different even when everyone else was doing the same thing because that's what was working or that's what was in or hip."
From rapper to singer to producer, the self-taught entertainer, who began focusing more on his production career in 2003, opens up about how it wasn't part of his upbringing to learn the fundamentals of music. "People see me play the piano and pick up a guitar with ease, and say, "Well, who taught you?" he explains. "I don't see how everyone's taught how to do things. It's not really available to everybody. Growing up the way I did, it definitely wasn't available to me. We don't have guitars in Tallahassee; we don't have pianos in Tallahassee."
His work as a beatmaker, which sparked his interest in creating the T-Pain Effect recording software -- he's also off that Auto-Tune movement -- garnered him respect from major players in the hip-hop world. Though he crafts beats, his talented songwriting capabilities earned him studio time with Kanye West, most notably working on 'Good Life,' which scored him a Grammy award in 2008. Pain breaks down what inspires him to write lyrics during a collaboration and reveals just what he was thinking about when writing to the Chi-town MC's song.
"Really, it's just feeling their vibe and seeing the aura of the whole room and the people they hang around and even like the stuff they order to eat. It's like really a lot of little things that go into me doing features with somebody," he continues. "Like when I did 'Good Life' for Kanye, I came up with that concept because he was ordering lobster and Cristal, but he didn't know I was coming up with these things in my head as he was ordering this stuff. I pulled up in a regular Cadillac Escalade SUV; he's got a driver and a Maybach outside waiting on him. It's like, this is the good life. So you know, automatically as soon as I heard the beat, I'm like, this is what this song is about."