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T-Pain is ready for the next phase in his career that includes podcasting, gaming and tacos. The hip hop mainstay and auto-tune pioneer recently partnered with Moe’s Southwest Grill to unveil his own limited-edition menu item, the Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Queso Taco. The taco, which combines Moe’s signature buffalo queso and Frank’s RedHot sauce, will be available in-store and online through September 5.
“... I put Frank’s [RedHot] on everything, and mix that with [Moe’s] queso and a hard shell and soft shell taco – that’s a winning combination right there,” he told REVOLT.
The Moe’s partnership is just one of many new deals T-Pain is currently embarking on, several of which came about from his missed DM debacle. Back in April, the “Buy U A Drank” singer stumbled upon the app’s “Message Request” feature and discovered hundreds of DMs ranging from collaboration requests to new business opportunities.
“Before that, I was just chilling,” he recalled. “... After all that stuff, I was gonna chill again, but everybody was like, ‘Nope. I need this, I need this.’ I’m slammed! I’m doing five things a day just from that. It’s been a lot of opportunities.”
Besides the new wave of work jumpstarted by his DM discoveries, T-Pain also recently launched his own podcast, “Nappy Boy Radio.” This fall, he’ll release his own mixology book, inspired by some of his drink-influenced tracks, Can I Mix You a Drink? And, the hitmaker told REVOLT, Nappy Boy Gaming and the Nappy Boy Drift Team are coming soon, too.
After the success of his recent collaboration with Kehlani, “I Like Dat,” which peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was followed by a “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” performance, T-Pain says more music is on the horizon. He’s also working to support his own artists at Nappy Boy Entertainment. However, the 36-year-old industry vet is bringing new wisdom and lessons learned to the second phase of his career.
“... Being hands-on with my own career I think is gonna help tremendously. It was necessary for me to go through all the things I went through and come back out swinging,” he said. “So you know, it’s just that time again.”
REVOLT chopped it up with T-Pain about his new ventures, working with Kehlani, the lessons he’s learned along his journey and more. Read the convo below!
What made you want to partner with Moe’s for the Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Queso Taco?
Food and money. Those are two of my favorite things! I like it a lot (laughs). But no, I put Frank’s [RedHot] on everything, and mix that with [Moe’s] queso and a hard shell and softshell taco – that’s a winning combination right there. Also, it came with money, so that was pretty cool.
You recently linked up with Kehlani for “I Like Dat.” I remember seeing her say that she’s a big fan of yours. How did that collaboration come about?
I’ve also been a fan of Keh’s for a super long time, like, before she was really known. So, this was a long time coming. It’s well overdue. But yeah, we came up with the track on our side, on our team, and we were thinking about who we could get on it and who would sound the best on it and of course, Lani was at the front of the line. So, we made sure we got that to her and she literally recorded it the same day. We got it right back and here we are, we got a smash on our hands. People don’t usually get to finish a song that fast. I’ve never gotten a feature back that fast. It was pretty impressive, not gonna lie. I’m usually the one that does that.
Both of you together sounded so organic on the track, too.
Oh yeah – and that’s just us being us. It was very organic, absolutely.
So it wasn’t a missed DM situation that got you guys linked up.
Oh no (laughs). I went looking for her!
After you saw all those messages, did you end up reaching out to anyone to link up? Did any new opportunities come from that?
Oh yeah – they already have! It’s been nonstop. I haven’t stopped since I found all those messages. It’s been all work. Before that, I was just chilling — wasn’t really doing anything, wasn’t really planning on releasing any new music anytime soon. And after all that stuff, I was gonna chill again, but everybody was like, ‘Nope. I need this, I need this.’ I’m slammed! I’m doing five things a day just from that. It’s been a lot of opportunities. It's definitely been nonstop.
You know there’s a message request folder on Twitter too, right?
I have found that, yes. I’m not super-duper active on Twitter, though, so people know not to go there.
That town hall you hosted on Instagram after finding all those messages was great. After “Nappy Boy Radio,” that might need to be your next series.
Thank you, thank you. Maybe! “Nappy Boy Radio” is going pretty well. A lot of people are hitting me up to do the show, so it’s doing its thing. It's doing what it’s supposed to do.
You said on social media that the idea to start a podcast just came from having conversations with friends and thinking, “We should be recording this.”
Every time we have those conversations in the studio. That’s why I built my podcast area in my studio, so we don’t have to, like, go anywhere. We don’t have to go to another room, we can just chill. We’re already there. Once we get to the real format that we intended, it will be a lot better. I mean, we came into some deals after all that DM stuff and there’s some stuff with the podcast, so now we have to run episodes in a certain order. But, once we get to the format that I love and that I built in my studio, that’s when it's gonna get really fun.
With the Moe’s deal, “Nappy Boy Radio,” and your new book coming out, do you feel like you’re entering a new phase in your career?
Oh absolutely. And you know, coming at it more mature, thinking about things more, thinking these things out and really being hands-on with my own career, I think, is gonna help tremendously. It was necessary for me to go through all the things I went through and come back out swinging. So you know, it’s just that time again.
Talk about your book coming out. The drink recipes are also paired with your music, which is super cool. How did you think of that?
Well, a lot of the drinks are drinks I’ve been trying out over the years and they always come with some kind of story. I try to go with the local drink everywhere I go and that was a big part of my journey to figure out what I liked as a connoisseur. But, it never worked. I always came right back to tequila (laughs). Of all the drinks I’ve been trying, some things are a little difficult to make, especially if you’re already hammered. But yeah, it’s always a story behind a different drink and a lot of the times I was in the studio and we’d have bartenders come through, or go to the bar after the studio – or before – you know, so it’s always something that would correlate with music and correlate with my life, which is music too because music is life.
So these are all original T-Pain recipes!
A lot of them, yeah. Even just putting my spin on classic recipes, too. I would go to a bar and say, “Lemme get a screwdriver,” which is vodka and orange juice, and then I’d say, “Well, add some cranberry in there. Let’s see what that’s like.” It helps a lot to put a little spin on things. You don’t have to just accept what people hand you across the bar sometimes.
What else do you have in the works?
New music! Got a second song coming out, “Simpin Ain’t Easy,” which we just shot the music video for, so that’s gonna be nice. My artists SprngBrk and Chayo Nash are dropping music right now. Chayo Nash and I just dropped “Like Dis.” SprngBrk has a new song called “Pride” out right now. We have the Moe’s thing. That’s always gonna be good. I’ve got a lifetime supply of tacos. The book, the podcast, the Nappy Boy Drift Team is coming soon, Nappy Boy Gaming, my Twitch stream is going crazy. It’s a lot. It’s a little overwhelming at the moment, but we’re getting the help that we need.
As someone who’s been in the game so long, you have a lot of wisdom to share with these younger artists on your roster.
Yeah, but it’s all about who’s gonna actually listen to it. I can tell when people aren’t gonna really digest it. You know when people are listening to respond instead of listening to absorb what you’re saying? It’s a lot of the responding people.
Right, all you can do is put it out there.
That’s it. But yeah, I try to give it out as much as possible. Some people are amazed that I’m even talking as much because a lot of people don’t like to give away the game, so to speak, but I don’t think anybody should be playing a game. This is serious stuff. This is people’s lives and careers at stake, like, give them as much information as possible. That’s my view on it.