Kids who've lived in Tallahassee know that town has some awesome house parties, so it makes sense Tallahassee boy and multiplatinum artist T-Pain would theme his latest tour around that house-party vibe.
He converted the Revolution stage into a living-room hangout, complete with comfy couches, bottles of liquor, girls in short-shorts and T-shirts dancing, and a nice rug to tie it all together. It brought us back to our college days pretty hard. Not that we were ever lucky enough to party with T-Pain, but you get the idea.
It turns out T-Pain is an incredible entertainer. Despite what the Auto-Tune reputation might have you believe, he's a powerful singer. He's also a really funny comedian and a hell of a dancer, which makes up for the fact that he isn't one for getting shit started on time.
What was supposed to pop off at 8 p.m. didn't really get going until about an hour and a half later. We'd heard there were at least a couple of scheduled openers, and we were worried it might take all night just to get to hear some Teddy Bend-Her-Ass-Down, but T-Pain is a smart fella. Instead of having his friends open for him, he worked their sets into the house party.
He hit the stage and opened the show for himself, turning the crowd up and getting the place excited, and after a few songs, we heard a doorbell ring.
"I got some people coming through tonight," he told us. "I need y'all to help me answer the door." We were instructed to ask, "Who is it?" every time we heard the doorbell go off. It took the audience only a few rounds to get it down.
He moved through his first set, taking control of the crowd as "Ringleader Man," backed by a full band to make the beats that make the girls' "Booty Wurk." After his remix of "Black and Yellow," we were joined by our first guests, Mykell Vaughn and the fellas of Lefeu Music Group. He hyped the crowd with remixes of hits like "Lifestyle" and "No Flex Zone," but it's hard to match the energy of the one and only T-Pain.
The crowd perked back up when the now-dreadless Rappa Ternt Sanga returned. He was swinging hard, moving through "I'm Good," "Blame It (On the Alcohol)," and then taking it back old school for the fans with "I'm Sprung." The whole time he was breaking it down on choreographed moves, telling the story of the songs with his body in a way you don't see most rappers even attempt. From his giant alien-bling microphone to his highly animated persona, T-Pain is a true entertainer in every sense of the word and honestly deserves a lot more attention from the mainstream crowd.
After instructing us to take our shirts off, the doorbell rang and we greeted our next guest, Rich Kidz 4 Life, or RK4L as they're apt to be called. People kind of milled about as they waited for Pain to come back, not that the Kids weren't given it all they had.
When Pain came back, he was dressed in a black and white Baptist preacher-type robe, and after some spirited commands, he took us to "Church." The organs were going, the bass was thumpin', and everyone was clappin' along. He showed us he can be a "Rude Dude," then had the place singing along to "Bartender." A cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" had us headbanging and took the energy to a whole new level. It was also pretty tight the way he worked "Buy You a Drink" into the beat of "I Got Five on It."
Things got real sexy when he sang "Can't Believe It" and a host of features, from "One More Drink" to "Shawty," and we got misty-eyed to "5 O'Clock." He's one of those singers who has more hits than you even remember.
"I don't usually do this," he teased, "but because I'm a Florida boy from Tallahassee, I'm going to do it for you tonight. And yeah, I luh dem strippers."
After his stripper-loving anthem from the early days, we were joined once more by his friends, this time the smooth-singing Bando Jonez. After a rather indulgent R&B intro, he started taking clothes off one article at a time, until he was just bouncing around in his baggy jeans doing his hit "Sex You."
Snootie Wild followed, the last house guest of the night, and he got so worked up after rapping "Made Me" that he jumped down into the crowd and let them follow him around with cameras while he finished the set with "Yayo." It felt kind of like we were suddenly on the set of his music video, and he stopped to take pics with the fans before things were broken up with the cry of "Nappy Boy!"
Finally, the "home stretch," and it was nothing but T-Pain till last call. It was a barrage of hits from "This Way" to "U and Dat" and the biggest T-Pain hit of all "Low." After hearing the tour title track "Drankin' Partna," which samples Hall and Oats "Man Eater," it was time to finish things with a bang.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he started, "we have now reached the part of the show where you rep the place you're from."
This being South Florida, it wasn't hard to get excited about a string of DJ Khaled hits, and everyone joined the rapper on stage once more for a big heart-warming hood finish. And when T-Pain told us to put our hands up and make 'em stay there, everybody did, and we wouldn't put 'em down until the last ring of "Nappy Boy" died in the air.
So what did we learn from the Drankin Partna Tour? T-Pain is a boss motherfucker. He can sing his ass off, he can dance better than the rest of these rappers, he's got a great sense of humor, and he's got no problem puttin' his friends on his back and sharing the spotlight. Next time you're writing a song, make sure you get T-Pain on the track. All he does is win.
Set List (or at least most of it)
Black and Yellow Remix
Mykell Vaughn Interlude
Blame It (On the Alcohol)
Take Your Shirt Off
Can't Believe It
One More Drink
I'm in Love With a Stripper
Bando Jonez Interlude
Snootie Wild Interlude
"U and Dat"
"Turn Down For What"
"So Hood" Remix
"All I Do Is Win"
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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