Rapper-turned-singer T-Pain occupies a genre all his own: "Hard & B" is how he describes it. On his sophomore album, EPIPHANY, the Tallahassee native follows the same formula that made his debut such a success--namely, shockingly hardcore lyrics normally reserved for the rap arena, cloaked in sweat and sensitive melodies. With a penchant for computerized vocal effects (much like his contemporary and label-boss Akon), T-Pain ups the ante on radio-friendly raunch with sexy club anthems like "Backseat Action," "69," and "Yo Stomach." EPIPHANY features guest appearances from Yung Joc, Akon, Cham, and J Lyric, among others, further solidifying his credibility within the world of hardcore hip-hop.
The chief purveyor of "hard & B," Tallahassee native T-Pain embarked on a solo career in the mid 2000s after leaving local rap group Nappy Headz. The multi-talented songwriter/rapper/singer signed to Akon's Konvict label, and released a string of hit singles that offered a hard-edged, synth-driven update on New Jack Swing's mix of hip-hop and R&B. T-Pain has collaborated with a slew of the biggest names in rap and R&B including Chris Brown, E-40, R. Kelly, Paul Wall, Trick Daddy, T.I., and Kanye West. He released his second full-length, EPIPHANY, on Konvict during the summer of 2007.
Rolling Stone (p.103) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The hooks come fast and loose....EPIPHANY should be lighting up both bedrooms and the clubs."
Entertainment Weekly (p.80) - "[T]here's no denying the allure of his sinuous melodies." -- Grade: B
The Wire (p.65) - "Pain's epiphany on EPIPHANY is probably that rapping still had his strengths....Pain exercises a lot of latitude..."
Vibe (p.76) - "[A] superior effort....Like any modern machine, T-Pain takes what he wants, strips it down, and gives it the voice of computer love."