When Nate Dogg passed in March, a disturbing trend emerged. Excuse me, reemerged. As a head-scratching and all-around ugly attribute of Hip Hop, the genre again flashed its uncanny ability to belittle one person while attempting to praise another. I’m sure some super-intellectual, psycho-personal reason explains this, but that remains another battle for another war. For as many “R.I.P. Nate Dogg” comments I came across, there were nearly as many proclaiming “T-Pain will never replace Nate Dogg.” As if both coexisiting in the large scope of music was clinically impossible. Day six of “The 30 Day Song Challenge” is not a pro-Pain argument or one with the intentions to convince the world Pain is Nate’s equal.
I know what I know. T-Pain created exceptional college theme music. And I, for one, am forever thankful.
The time was around the spring of 2007. Michael Jackson was still an outcast in society (go ahead and deny it all you want). Barack Obama was in his “underground-rapper-nearing-the-cusp-of-mainstream” phase. And T.I. had yet to catch his gun charge, which ironically led to a professional downward spiral we all see now in 2011. As for myself, I was still two years away from joining the TSS ranks. I had recently crossed – joined a fraternity – and junior year at Hampton was nearing a close.
T-Pain’s music was an exact representation of the lifestyle, from the parties, to the alcohol, to the overall carefree nature that was higher education. Was he ignorant at times? Yep, but you know what, every student was at some point. Chances are you weren’t experiencing college right if you have no “that-was-stupid-as-hell-now-that-I-look-back-on-it” type memories. We enjoyed the hilarious, strange honesty of “I’m In Luv With A Stripper.” The same with “Bartender.” During the summer of ’07, Plies’ “Shawty” was heard blaring from every car within a five mile radius of campus – including a professor I once had for some now forgotten elective class. As Kanye and Pain told the world about their “Good Life,” we were living the best times of ours. “The Boss” had everyone feeling like one and “I’m So Hood” was just a classic record altogether.
But “Buy You A Drink”? That was his magnum opus.
For a song to take on a life of its own, at least in the small bubble that is the collegiate world, an assortment of factors must fall into place. Time. From what I remember, the song originally leaked during the early months of 2007 allowing it to make its rounds on the Internet and gain traction from there. By the time the weather broke, it was already billed as the next T-Pain hit in a long line of notable records. Setting. If there is one thing college kids do, it’s drink. Everyday is Cinco de Mayo and Thirsty Thursdays are considered holy. Hell, text messages about TT’s were sent out around Tuesday to game plan, which leaves me to wonder how much more efficient we could have been had Twitter been the powerhouse it is now. Finally, crossover appeal. Think about it, “Buy You A Drink” was a safe smash single. Guys could play it in their car without fear of ridicule and it featured an above satisfactory verse from Yung Joc. Girls loved the hook and the unavoidable snapping resulting from it. The song was played everywhere from student centers, to cabarets to house parties. Maybe this was solely at Hampton and I’m overrating this song like none other, but I am not exaggerating the impact.
Driving back home from work the other day, the song appeared on an iPod Shuffle and was initially intended to appear as such on TSS. The memories were simply too powerful to ignore and will always remain mentally embedded for as long as the days of undergrad bring smiles to my face. And yes, it is true, T-Pain will never replace Nate Dogg. That being said, however, higher education would have not been the same without Nappy Boy #1 and his autotune. There’s no convincing me otherwise.
T-Pain Feat. Yung Joc – “Buy You A Drink”