T-Pain reveals how he feels about those DMs, working with family on new album

The Florida rapper told theGrio exclusively that opening his DMs was perfect timing as he was considering returning to the studio

T-Pain is finally getting his flowers and he couldn’t be more thrilled.

The Florida rapper, 35, has been bombarded with love on social media ever since he discovered in April that he had been missing direct messages from celebrity friends and collaborators for over two years. T-Pain said at the time that he didn’t know there was a message request folder, where he saw DMs from stars like Viola Davis, DJ Diplo, Keri Hilson and Fergie, on Instagram.

The Nappy Boy Entertainment founder told theGrio exclusively that opening his DMs was perfect timing as he was considering returning to the studio.

“I think I was ready to get back to it anyways. I think that’s why the sequence of events have been happening. The fact that I got off my butt was like, ‘Okay, you know what, let’s go in and get this back going,'” he explained. “I started hiring a new team, I started getting my whole conglomerate together. I hired a social media manager…he put a whole new light on life.”

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T-Pain attends the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on FOX at Microsoft Theater on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

“I didn’t know that they don’t separate certain accounts from others. The crazy thing is Mark Zuckerberg, he understands that’s one of the things that needs to be fixed in the software. So, you know, talking to him and laying it all out. Even after we had our public live on IG [about improving the DMs], we’d still talk to each other in the DMS–like he’s asking for suggestions. I’m telling him and getting notes from my friends and stuff like that. We’re not just talking business in the DMs, it’s actually some chill vibes.”

Celebrity friends aren’t the only people clamoring to collab with T-Pain on his newest album, “Precious Stones.” The rapper said that he has also been working with his wife, Amber, and their daughter on the project, which has no release date as of yet.

“My head is in a genre-bending space,” T-Pain said about the album, which will feature his hit single, “I Like Dat” with Kehlani. “Like I’m really trying to integrate different styles into my own sound, and hopefully make a new sound. I’ve always thrived on trying new things and bringing in different people that wouldn’t be heard in our genre at all. I try to include people around me.”

He continued, “One of my main singles on the album, my wife helped me write and my daughter sang on the hook. It’s been a different bunch of things. I brought in a South African group to record one of the songs with me [using] congos. They killed it, they brought in accordions and microphones from World War II. So I’m trying to bring in different stuff that’s just not me and the keyboard and the laptop.”

T-Pain performs onstage during the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 21, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

T-Pain went on to jokingly share that working with his family was “super cheap.”

“My wife is always in the studio with me and working with me and stuff like that. I’m always asking her for suggestions,” he explained. “With this particular single, my daughter came down–I couldn’t hit a note. She was like, ‘Oh, I can kill this.’ “Boom, she knocked it out first try. Couldn’t believe it.”

“It’s heartwarming. With your own family, being able to guide them in the ways that you already know, all the things I’ve learned from the game. Being able to tell them how to go about making things sound a certain way. If they have any suggestions–like, my daughter would suggest a certain effect. It’s just a lot of different things that you wouldn’t get from not only strangers, but even your friends in the studio. Like it was a different feeling.”

The rapper revealed his plans for new music while discussing his partnership with Ruffles’ Ridge Top sneaker, co-designed with The Shoe Surgeon. T-Pain, who describes his sneaker style as “whatever I can feel at the moment,” says the relationship between fashion and hip-hop is one born of out of the desire for cool.

Credit: (Utah Jazz/Ruffles)

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“We just set trends,” said the rapper, who sported the Ridge Top sneakers at the Utah Jazz vs. Memphis Grizzles game on May 23. “We set what people call ‘cool.’ We’ve set a staple in the world that has always looked to, you know, ‘Is this going to work? What say you hip hop?’ And then, boom and it works. We say, ‘yay’ or we say ‘nay,’ that’s the way it’s gonna go. People have grown to know that. It’s such a vast audience that you have no choice but to look to it.”

He continued, “I think cool comes in the form of individuality. It burst out so much in our community because a lot of our artists are individuals, and we have our own styles and you can differentiate each of us from the other. So I think that’s what defines cool, it’s about the confidence. [Artists like] Andre 3000, CeeLo Green, Busta Rhymes, you know, we can we can come up with these crazy things and still be [cool].”

Fans have the opportunity to get their hands on an exclusive pair of the Ridge Top sneakers by entering for a chance to win at RufflesSneakers.com, where one winner will be selected each week for five weeks, beginning on May 22. 

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