T-Pain’s “Thr33 Rings” Carries a Painful Tone

There are few people in today’s rap game that are as easy to hate on as T-Pain. He runs around with overly extravagant clothes, refuses to let go of his vocoder and Auto-Tune, and even worse, he sings the hook to everybody’s songs. So it’s no surprise that he sounds like a featured artist on his own album.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a song on the album that has T-Pain holding a track on his own. One of the few songs where he does so is the annoying “Ringleader” where he, along with a number of unnecessary skits, attempts to sell the circus concept of the album.
To T-Pain’s credit, he knows his own limitations and loads it with many of the artists he did favors for with his knack for hooks. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the benefit of having stellar verses from his supporting cast. Mix the “been there done that” lyrics from his featured artists with his own lackluster verses and you get a typical glam-rap album.
What attempts to give the album something to set itself apart from the rest is its circus theme. Unfortunately, the concept is loose and only runs through the opening song and the brief skits.
This, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although a tight and flowing concept can set an album apart from the rest á la “And I Love Her,” by the South Carolina rapper, Danny!, the circus theme seems like T-Pain decided to try something new after watching one too many Panic! at the Disco music videos.
There are some strong tracks on the album, but they are always brought to respectability by his guests. “Freeze” is a bouncy dance track saved by Chris Brown that could easily make its way in some of UC Irvine’s dance crews’ sets in the future.
“Reality Show” is as soulful as T-Pain will ever get, but that’s only because he was in the same studio as Musiq Soulchild. The album’s first single, “Can’t Believe It,” is another T-Pain and Lil’ Wayne collaboration where both of them kill the vocoder to death, but somehow manage to make a solid song.
Yet, these high points don’t do enough to hide the slew of low points on the album. Although he does a good job of hiding his limits, T-Pain’s weaknesses are exposed with a full album.
With lines such as, “I can be her K-Fed / She can be my Britney” and “I don’t need your sex / I’ll masturbate,” T-Pain’s lyrics are downright bad, to put it mildly, while he gives his good choruses away to other artists, diminishing his importance on the record.
Here’s hoping Kanye fares better on his upcoming all-vocoder album, “808s and Heartbreak.” It’d be hard for him to do much worse than T-Pain.