T-Pain performing a nearly a cappella version of his 2007 hit “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” is something I never thought I’d see—much less enjoy. But, thanks to NPR’s intimate Tiny Desk Concert series and their request that he perform a three-song set sans any “embellishments or effects,” that’s exactly what we’ve been treated to today.
Most people probably think of T-Pain as a pioneer of Auto-Tuned vocals—even before Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak—or remember him for his guest ad libs on The Lonely Island’s ubiquitous “I’m on a Boat.” And so many of us have never thought to take T-Pain’s untouched vocal chops seriously. But after hearing him run through the aforementioned hit, his current club banger “Up Down (Do This All Day),” and new song “Drankin’ Patna” accompanied by just a pianist (which even T-Pain himself seems to find funny), we might all have to think again. Sure, he’s no Stevie Wonder, quite—the end of that last song gets a little shaky—but let’s just say that if T-Pain were to ever make a full-on R&B album using only his raw vocals, I wouldn’t be mad at it.