In the early-aughts T-Pain established himself with songs about partying—“Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)”—that featured bopping beats and plenty of autotune, a pitch correcting device that gave T-Pain his distinctive sound. But the technology was quickly satirized (see SNL parody band, The Lonely Island, which even featured T-Pain in a song), and as it fell out of favor, T-Pain did too. Then, in 2014, he gave an acoustic performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk, and it went viral. His voice—lovely, warm, and classically R&B—relaunched him, and renewed the public’s appreciation for his early work with autotune. —C.J.F.
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