T-Pain (@TPAIN) is a rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer known for popularizing auto-tune in modern music, and host of the Nappy Boy Radio podcast.
What We Discuss with T-Pain:
- Why T-Pain will wear a Fitbit over a Rolex, and why there’s no shame in wearing fake jewelry in public.
- T-Pain’s tattoo goals and the meaning behind the ones he already has.
- What T-Pain learned after avoiding time with his own family pursuing the ambition to be #1.
- How T-Pain went from having $90 million in the bank to $0, and how he climbed his way back.
- How a musician’s life really changes once they earn a Grammy award (let alone two).
- And much more…
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Bring up the prevalence of auto-tune pitch correction in modern music at a party with your friends and arguments are bound to break out. Some will decry its inescapable prominence and lament it as a way for talentless hacks to dominate the airwaves. Others will unapologetically declare their allegiance to this relatively recent addition to the melodic lexicon. And while he didn’t invent the effect, rapper and singer T-Pain is credited (or blamed, depending on your perspective) for popularizing its hold on today’s musical landscape.
In this episode, we talk to T-Pain about success, creativity, making a ton of money (and then losing it all), and almost losing his life as a result before emerging from the other side. Even if you think auto-tune ruined music, this is one you’re going to want to hear. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Missed the episode we did with Annie Duke — World Series poker champion and author of Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts? Catch up by listening to episode 40: Annie Duke | How to Make Decisions Like a Poker Champ!
If you enjoyed this session with T-Pain, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank T-Pain at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- This Is Pop: Auto-Tune | Netflix
- T-Pain | Website
- T-Pain | Instagram
- T-Pain | Twitter
- T-Pain | Facebook
- T-Pain | Twitch
- T-Pain Injured in Golf-Cart Accident | Rap-Up
- Lil Wayne | Twitter
- Singer T-Pain Arrested During Performance In Miami | Baller Status
- Too $hort | Twitter
- Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain | PodcastOne
- Nike FuelBand: The Rise and Fall of the Wearable That Started It All | Wearable
- I’m On a Boat (Explicit Version) Ft. T-Pain | The Lonely Island
- Grammy Award Winner T-Pain Has a Goddamn Meme Tattooed on His Hand | Vice
- T-Pain’s 12 Tattoos & Their Meanings | Body Art Guru
- Lil Jon | Twitter
- Mike Tyson: The Champ Is Here | Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain
- Akon | Instagram
- 10 Rappers with the Wildest Chains in the Game | High Snobiety
- T-Pain Tells Desus and Mero About His Dumbest Purchase Ever | Vice
- Can I Mix You a Drink? by T-Pain, Maxwell Britten, and Kathy Iandoli
- Three Ringz (Thr33 Ringz) by T-Pain | Amazon
- Ludacris | Twitter
- Bartender by T-Pain feat. Akon | Amazon
- Top Clothing Optional Resorts In Negril, Jamaica | Hedonism II
- T-Pain Shows Old Recording Setup and Funny Hedonism Story | T-Pain Daily
- Usher Talks About His Relationship with T-Pain | BuzzFeed
- T-Pain Defends Usher Following His Controversial Auto-Tune Comments | NME
- Cher to Kanye West: The History of Auto-Tune in Seven Songs | Red Bull
- Roger Troutman on The Talkbox (1987) | Video Soul
- Eric Clapton Shows Some Guitar Skills | YouTube
- Evolution Of Mumble Rap [2011 – 2018] | Hip-Hop Universe
- Lil Yachty | Twitter
- Bill Nye | Radical Curiosity Saves the World | Jordan Harbinger
- Space Billionaires Get Skewered in the First Promo for Jon Stewart’s Apple TV Show | The Verge
551: T-Pain | You Can’t Auto-Tune Your Way to Happiness
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Starbucks for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:04] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:07] T-Pain: There was literally a point, my homeboys came in the studio with a plaque saying that my album had just went double platinum. And I was like, "Oh, my album went double platinum. That's cool as hell." I was working on these harmonies though. I need to finish that because I felt like I needed to work harder to stay there. Everything else was a distraction. So I didn't want to have my wife around or I didn't want to have kids around me because my wife is doing the work with the kids. I'll do the work to make the money. That's the dynamic and that sh*t was so stupid. And I realize that now being around my family more and actually becoming a family man, that is the most important thing. This is music sh*t doesn't mean.
[00:00:53] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts, entrepreneurs, spies, psychologists, even the occasional journalist turned poker champion, Russian chess grandmaster, or former Jihadi. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:01:22] If you're new to the show, or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about it, we've got these episode starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by popular topics to help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started or to help somebody else get started with us. Of course, I always appreciate it when you do that.
[00:01:42] Today on the show hip-hop legend, love him or hate him, T-Pain. He helped define a sub genre. I don't say genre, but sub genre to be fair. Many of us associate him pretty much exclusively with Auto-Tune and today a very candid conversation about success, creativity, making an absolute ton of money, and then losing all of it in — well, ways you'll hear about today, and then almost losing his life as a result before coming out the other side. Lots in here, even if he can't stand hip-hop or Auto-Tune. So don't write this episode off if you're not a T-Pain fan, because I think you will change your mind after you take a listen to this episode.
[00:02:20] And if you're wondering how he managed to book all these amazing authors, thinkers, and creators every single week, it's because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong. Now, here we go with T-Pain.
[00:02:43] So first I got to say, man, some of my research on you was surprising. First of all, who gets in a golf cart accident? Like that's not something you hear every day.
[00:02:56] T-Pain: Golf cart accident that was — and you know what the stupid thing was I had just gotten the governor taken off of the golf cart.
[00:03:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:03:06] T-Pain: In order to make it faster.
[00:03:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:03:08] T-Pain: I don't know why I needed my golf cart to go faster, but I was young, I guess.
[00:03:13] Jordan Harbinger: You still are. I mean, what are you 36? Is that how old you are?
[00:03:16] T-Pain: 36, yeah, going 37 in September. Not excited. Super not excited at all.
[00:03:22] Jordan Harbinger: Try 41. It's less exciting. Spoiler alert. It's definitely less exciting.
[00:03:30] T-Pain: Yeah. My wife just hit 40 and she's reminded me every day.
[00:03:32] Jordan Harbinger: She's like, "At least you're not 40."
[00:03:35] T-Pain: Right, she's making sure I know that, but no, we — I had this golf cart, it had hydraulics on it, 22-inch spinners, speakers everywhere. I don't even know where that golf cart is. I do know where it is.
[00:03:46] Jordan Harbinger: It's at the bottom of the lake. You tipped it into or whatever.
[00:03:48] T-Pain: No, I sent it to get fixed at a golf cart repair shop here in Atlanta. And they were just like, they don't make anything for this golf cart anymore. This is really old. And I was like, "You know what? Just keep the goddamn golf cart.
[00:04:02] Jordan Harbinger: So now there's somebody else who's like, "This is T-Pain's old golf cart."
[00:04:05] T-Pain: Absolutely. No question.
[00:04:06] Jordan Harbinger: Bouncing up and down.
[00:04:07] T-Pain: Absolutely, yeah. Hydraulics is running. Everything is good. It got 12 batteries in that. It's just too much. It's too much. But yeah, it worked out for somebody. I'm glad my purchase actually helped somebody to get some kind of bragging rights. But yeah, that got my teeth knocked out. I had to go to an emergency dentist. I didn't know that existed.
[00:04:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I guess it has to, but that's scary, especially if you're a singer and a rapper. So it's scarier for a guy like you or a guy like me to have something happen with their mouth. Like, it sounds like you're going to lose one. I'm like, okay. But if they're like, "You're going to lose your tongue or teeth." I'm like, "Oh, sh*t, what am I going to do?"
[00:04:40] T-Pain: This happened on tour. I was on tour when this happened.
[00:04:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:04:46] T-Pain: I was on tour with Lil Wayne. I skipped one show. I went to the emergency dentist that night. He gave me a new set of choppers and see here's the good thing about having grills because I had my grill with me because they couldn't figure out what my teeth looked like before it all got busted out. So I was like, "Guys, guess what? I got a perfect mold of my teeth in my pocket right now."
[00:05:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:05:07] T-Pain: Here it is!
[00:05:08] Jordan Harbinger: It's made out of gold and diamonds and sh*t but it's still the same shape.
[00:05:11] T-Pain: The inside is exactly how my teeth were. So they took that, made a mold of my grill and then made my teeth exactly how they were before the accident. It's one advantage of it.
[00:05:23] Jordan Harbinger: Imagine having that come in handy, and then you go to your mom, you're like, "Remember when you made fun of me for this. Turns out, it came in handy."
[00:05:29] T-Pain: Came in freaking handy.
[00:05:31] Jordan Harbinger: Great investment.
[00:05:32] T-Pain: Very envious, and then skipped one show. And then I was back on the road the next day.
[00:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: That's a lot. I mean, I assume that hurt for more than just the one show you skipped. You just dealt with the pain while on stage.
[00:05:43] T-Pain: Actually it didn't hurt a lot.
[00:05:45] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:05:46] T-Pain: Yeah. I had a hole in my lip and I kept putting my pinky through it.
[00:05:50] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, that's not a small hole.
[00:05:52] T-Pain: It was no, oh no, it was not because—
[00:05:55] Jordan Harbinger: Like a tooth went through it.
[00:05:56] T-Pain: Yeah. My mouth was closed and it's like I got curb stomped because the golf cart flipped over my mouth, hit the curb, and my mouth was closed and my tooth went through my mouth and then it broke up on the outside of my bottom lip.
[00:06:11] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:06:12] T-Pain: So my tooth like went through my lip and was on it — I have my broken teeth somewhere. It's in—
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: Like in a jar?
[00:06:19] T-Pain: It's like in a box or drawer somewhere.
[00:06:23] Jordan Harbinger: So you got rid of the golf cart, but you kept a broken cracked in half tooth. I don't know. I probably make the same decision, actually.
[00:06:29] T-Pain: I have the shoes that I wore that day, I have the shoes with all scuffed-up shoes and it was crazy because it was in an arena. And in order to test out just how fast my golf cart was, I was going down like one of those loading bays, like where the trucks would go down and it was steep, it was not something — and the brakes of a golf cart aren't made for 22-inch rims.
[00:06:53] Jordan Harbinger: For 40 miles an hour or whatever you were going, right? Like they're like 15 miles an hour.
[00:06:58] T-Pain: Barely 12, probably.
[00:07:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:00] T-Pain: Like, you know, so that was an eventful day. But I do have a lot of memorabilia from the accident. It's pretty, goddamn cool, actually.
[00:07:06] Jordan Harbinger: Slash scars, yeah. The other thing I got to say, that was really bizarre that I was like, I got to ask them about this is, this is 2007, so it's been a while, but T-Pain refused to shorten his performance at Radio One Spring Fest concert in Miami, which caused police presence to become escalated backstage.
[00:07:24] T-Pain: Yeah. I went to jail that night.
[00:07:26] Jordan Harbinger: So who gets arrested for performing too much? Like I can imagine they're like, "Suspect is a black male, mid 30s, wearing a 34-palm gold chain. Requesting backup."
[00:07:35] T-Pain: So they couldn't press charges because the whole situation was, they said, if I let Uncle Lou come out and let a couple of people from Miami come out on my set because I was closing and you know, they wanted to show to be as big as possible. They said, "Let these people come out. It won't count towards your time on stage." "Cool. Absolutely. You're telling me I can still perform my show. Let these people come out. I look like I'm the big guy on campus bringing out the legends. Absolutely." They come out. Obviously, it counted towards my time. The police came in on stage while I was performing and started unplugging my DJ stuff.
[00:08:11] Jordan Harbinger: What?
[00:08:12] T-Pain: So the only thing that's still going is the microphone. I'm pissed off because not only are they running behind, they're telling me that everything's going to be fine. I can do my whole show. Can you bring out these extra people and we'll add more time to your show. They didn't do that. They didn't honor their word. So I said, "They can't arrest all of us."
[00:08:35] Jordan Harbinger: Famous last words.
[00:08:35] T-Pain: And so I threw the microphone into the crowd because it was just so much going on. And I wasn't the most sober person in the building.
[00:08:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:46] T-Pain: So I threw the microphone in the crowd. So they called that inciting a riot.
[00:08:51] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay.
[00:08:52] T-Pain: And as I was going backstage, I was just screaming. I was talking, I was like, "These people suck, blah, blah, blah." And then right — I don't know what made me pick these words right. When I saw a police officer, I looked very tall, like a seven-foot-tall police officer right in the windows of his soul. And I looked, I looked right at him and said, "F*ck the police." I just kept walking. And then that is what started the whole thing. We walked a little faster and then I heard somebody behind me, "The police coming, the police coming, the police coming." And then we just started running. Everybody's running. We don't know why we're running. We don't know why the police are coming, but we're running. And they got everybody up. They take my homeboys. One of them slammed a homeboy on the ground and put his face in the exhaust of the van we were trying to leave in.
[00:09:46] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, that's dangerous.
[00:09:47] T-Pain: So yeah, super, super safe. But we did get in the van and we told the driver to take off and the driver was so afraid that he didn't move and they got in the car. But I had actually gotten a look at the driver once we were saying, "Go, go, go, go." And he looked like he had the goddamn measles. There were so many red dots on his face. And they were like, "If you put this van and drive, you're going to get a face full of tasers." So, I understand why he didn't leave.
[00:10:16] Jordan Harbinger: Like red laser dots on his head.
[00:10:18] T-Pain: Oh, yeah, there were laser dots everywhere. They're like, you're going to get a face full of taser if you put this thing, right, if you're like—
[00:10:25] Jordan Harbinger: Like a sniper rifle.
[00:10:26] T-Pain: So yeah, they asked us out of the van. They couldn't charge us with anything. So we stayed in a holding cell. All the inmates knew who I was and they were handing me sandwiches and sh*t. It was f*cking crazy thing. So I would say that was a good time. I got a free mugshot.
[00:10:40] Jordan Harbinger: That is so ridiculous, well, with the taxpayer's cost—
[00:10:44] T-Pain: Free photoshoot for me.
[00:10:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You should put that on the cover of your next album.
[00:10:50] T-Pain: It'll just be that, just be that. I was skinnier. So that's a plus.
[00:10:54] Jordan Harbinger: You got that going for you, yeah. I mean 2007, we were all skinnier back then.
[00:11:00] T-Pain: Well, there's many vegans in 2007. I feel like that was a feat. That was a goal to be had.
[00:11:07] Jordan Harbinger: I've heard sometimes that you wear fake jewelry, like costume jewelry, which to me—
[00:11:11] T-Pain: Oh, yeah.
[00:11:12] Jordan Harbinger: —that's probably the most sensible thing I've heard in a long time.
[00:11:15] T-Pain: Absolutely.
[00:11:15] Jordan Harbinger: And I think you got to be pretty secure with yourself to be open about this. I've heard you talk about it.
[00:11:19] T-Pain: Yeah.
[00:11:19] Jordan Harbinger: It makes sense. Especially because I see some of these guys and I'm like, there's no way that that thing you're wearing is less than like $300,000 or $400,000.
[00:11:28] T-Pain: Yeah, some people actually don't wear fake jewelry. It baffles me because there's nothing else you can do with that afterwards. You know, it's good for pictures, good to be seen, and stuff like that. But you know, I'm not going into a crowd of thirsty people with a million dollars of jewelry on. And plus I've gotten robbed a lot. I've gotten robbed a lot with real jewelry on. I had my real jury taken. So I'm like, okay, maybe it won't feel as bad if this chain was like $70.
[00:11:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:59] T-Pain: Instead of $70,000. So, you know, when I'm going into crowds and I just need pictures and stuff like that, it's probably got to be better. Now, if I get beat up by security or anything like that, and it's like an event, yeah, I go wear my real jewelry there. If I'm going to Target, real jewelry, everything real.
[00:12:16] Jordan Harbinger: At Target?
[00:12:17] T-Pain: Nobody's going to rob me at Target. Who's going to rob me at Target?
[00:12:19] Jordan Harbinger: I guess, that's true, yeah — well, you never know.
[00:12:21] T-Pain: Just rob Target. There's so many better stuff, just rob Target. If you're that hungry for something, just take stuff out of here. The thing that you're trying to do with my jewelry, you're just going to end up coming to Target and buying their stuff. Like you're going to go sell my jewelry to somebody and you're going to go to Target and buy snacks. Just go take the snacks, skip the process.
[00:12:44] Jordan Harbinger: Cut out the middleman, yeah.
[00:12:45] T-Pain: Right, you're cutting out the middleman. But no, it's situational. You know what I'm saying? It's definitely a situation though with what I want to do. If I'm just like going to a studio, going to somebody else's studio, I don't know who's going to be there. I don't know who I'm going to encounter on the way into the studio. I don't know if they have a gate around the studio. I'm driving in one of my cheap cars. Like, you know what I'm saying? I'm driving a Honda Accord to your studio. I'm not coming in a Rolls-Royce. I don't know what neighborhood your studio is in. It's definitely situational. But if there's an event and I got security, the event has security, and the security aren't friends with the crowd, then yeah, I can wear real jewelry at that point.
[00:13:17] Jordan Harbinger: Studios are never in a good neighborhood though. I feel like—
[00:13:19] T-Pain: Ever, ever, ever, because if you want a good price, you're going to have to take a loss on the location. That's it.
[00:13:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's probably also just like a screen credit thing, right? Like if you're with, like, I don't even know who did I meet? Like, Too Short or something, he's not like, "Oh, yeah, come to my Beverly Hills studio." He's like, "Drive to the airport and then go down this dirt road. And then there's a building by the satellite dish."
[00:13:42] T-Pain: Why is it always about the airport? Do you get anything done — nothing's insulated in this place. You bought a warehouse and put speakers in here and a microphone. This is not a studio. Why is it by the airport? I can hear planes in the background of my song.
[00:13:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yep.
[00:13:57] T-Pain: Why am I recording here? It's always by the airport. I don't know. I don't know. It's a very, not super desirable area, I guess.
[00:14:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like you said, you're parking next to their car and it's like, "Oh, they drove a really nice car." Or you're like, "Why are they driving a Ford Fiesta? What do I not know? Maybe I shouldn't park this Tesla right here."
[00:14:19] T-Pain: You got to park it in a decoy parking lot. You need a secondary parking lot—
[00:14:22] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:14:23] T-Pain: —to actually get robbed and broken into and I can drive my Honda Accord into the primary. And it'd be good.
[00:14:27] Jordan Harbinger: What about when you're wearing jewelry for like a video? I heard that it's not good to have real jewelry in videos because it doesn't look as good as fake jewelry does in videos. Is that true?
[00:14:36] T-Pain: Oh no. This is the opposite. It's the opposite. Real jewelry, actually, we call it dancing. It dances more.
[00:14:42] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:14:42] T-Pain: You know, like when you go into like a Kay Jewelers or Jared or something like that, the lights they have in there make the diamonds shine a very different way.
[00:14:53] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:14:53] T-Pain: Because the second you take it out of that store and it looked like sh*t. It's the lights that they use, the presentation. Nobody wants to touch it. That's why they could easily take a ring out of the thing and just hand it to you. But that's why they bring out that little tray, the little velvet tray, they place the ring on it, at all nice. And it's just holding itself up. Presentation plus lighting that makes real jewelry dance a lot more than fake jewelry.
[00:15:23] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense.
[00:15:24] T-Pain: Sometimes fake jewelry can dance though, but more not then, yes.
[00:15:29] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense. Like when you go to a watch store and you're like, "Oh, that one's cool." And they're like, "Hold on." And they put on like white gloves slowly in front of you and they're like looking you directly in the eye while they do it. Right? And they open up the vault. Yeah. Like a little like steam comes out. Like, it's like airbag — shhh. Like, "I just want to see the chrono, like I'd thought it had a map on it."
[00:15:54] T-Pain: "We just got this this morning from Iceland."
[00:15:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:15:59] T-Pain: I saw you bring — this is a Swatch. I saw you bring this in here.
[00:16:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's something you can get on Amazon for at the price, but yeah. It's like, "Oh, this has an emergency alarm on it. So anywhere in the world, if you activate it, this rescue team will come and get you." And I'm like, "Wow, is that real? Like I saw a watch with that. It's just huge," and I go, "Wait a minute. Why would anybody who's like a mountaineer wear a watch that has like diamond, and you're not wearing this on anything where you could get lost and have to be rescued by Navy SEALS."
[00:16:27] T-Pain: Absolutely, they're going to take it, first of all. Because one, you're dead. That's one. Then they're going to take that, but no, yeah — I mean, I've seen like million-dollar watches that look like total pieces of sh*t. Like no dance, no kind of no show. But like if I buy a watch, it's got to be something. You know what I'm saying? It's got to have some kind of characteristic. That's going to make it like, oh, that's cool. f*cking watch. You know what I'm saying? Like if I buy, if I'm going to spend more than $30 on a watch, yeah, it's got a, I don't even know it.
[00:16:58] Just remember when those Nike FuelBands came out, like I wore that more than Rolex because it did something. Do you know what I'm saying? Like when people were like, "Did you get your steps in today?" I'm like, "Yeah." Like, you know, Fitbit. I'll wear a Fitbit over a Rolex, like if it does something, if it does something cool. Like if they start coming up with holographic sh*t, I'm all the way in the business.
[00:17:22] Jordan Harbinger: I'm with you, man. I'm like, if I need to tell time, I got that on my phone. I don't need to just tell time. There needs to be maps on here. I need weather reports.
[00:17:30] T-Pain: Not one watch in my entire household is on at the current time. None of them. They're never set, this can't be — what time is it?
[00:17:40] Jordan Harbinger: Right now? 1:26 p.m. Pacific.
[00:17:43] T-Pain: Nope. This is wrong.
[00:17:47] Jordan Harbinger: Purely decoration.
[00:17:50] T-Pain: It's like, come on, man. And this is safe. All this is real.
[00:17:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Well, you're in your house.
[00:17:54] T-Pain: I'm in my house. So this is safe. Unless — you're not going to rob me, are you? You're not going to rob me. Okay, cool. We're good, yeah. My assistant is not going to rob me.
[00:18:05] Jordan Harbinger: She already did.
[00:18:06] T-Pain: She already did. The job is done.
[00:18:10] Jordan Harbinger: The job is done. Oh, you thought you had Bitcoin. You don't have any Bitcoin.
[00:18:13] T-Pain: You shouldn't have put me in charge of your wallet. You stupid idiot.
[00:18:18] Jordan Harbinger: I noticed that you don't take yourself too seriously, which I think is great. I think there's something cool and endearing about that. I mean, you're in like The Lonely Island video, I'm On a Boat, right?
[00:18:27] T-Pain: Yeah.
[00:18:27] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like most of your tracks are about love or partying as opposed to like murdering people, or whatever, so far, anyway.
[00:18:36] T-Pain: So far, so far. I think we can safely say that mostly.
[00:18:40] Jordan Harbinger: And your tats are meme tattoos, I heard. I haven't seen them, but I assume that they say they're meme tats.
[00:18:46] T-Pain: I do have some. This one says you don't have to like me because of Facebook. I got—
[00:18:52] Jordan Harbinger: Got it.
[00:18:52] T-Pain: I got Jackie Chan there.
[00:18:54] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, nice. Why Jackie Chan?
[00:18:55] T-Pain: I'll do this a lot when I don't want to hear what people are saying and it's kind of like, a message to stop talking. Like, "What the f*ck are you saying? What the f*ck have you been saying?"
[00:19:04] Jordan Harbinger: Nice like a Rush Hour reference.
[00:19:06] T-Pain: It's just like, what the f*ck are you doing? Pan-pan from We Bare Bears. It's a cartoon. My wife is mixed with black and white and I call her my Panda.
[00:19:16] Jordan Harbinger: Nice, cute.
[00:19:17] T-Pain: So that's for her, I guess. That's my label, Nappy Boy, right there.
[00:19:21] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:19:21] T-Pain: Remember f*cking famous? You know the famous F?
[00:19:26] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:19:29] T-Pain: Wait, was it Travis Barker? That F, that famous. It was like a clothing brand. It was called Famous.
[00:19:35] Jordan Harbinger: I vaguely, I vaguely remember it. And you remember it well because it's in your forearm.
[00:19:38] T-Pain: Right, my real name is Faheem and I used the famous F—
[00:19:41] Jordan Harbinger: Ah okay.
[00:19:42] T-Pain: That was f*cking stupid. There's a lot more. I got a clown lady on my side. I got a lot of stupid f*cking tats. So my goal was to get a tattoo from every continent.
[00:19:58] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:19:59] T-Pain: That I went to. I didn't have any ideas for the tattoos. I just wanted to get a tattoo in every continent, but—
[00:20:06] Jordan Harbinger: So you show up and they're like, "All right, I'm in the mood to draw." "All right, cool, man."
[00:20:12] T-Pain: They're like, "Tell us a little bit about yourself." And I'm like, "I'm drunk. So let's just get to it."
[00:20:19] Jordan Harbinger: This buzz is going to wear off eventually. We don't have that kind of time.
[00:20:22] T-Pain: We don't have that kind of time, so let's go ahead and get to it now. I think we can just go. It's semi worked out, I guess.
[00:20:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Well, so far so good. I heard you didn't live with your wife for like three years because you were working. But to me I was like, is it because you're working or is it like I'm having too much fun? No one's keeping me in check.
[00:20:40] T-Pain: No, it was — I didn't want the responsibility of being married because, I think it was Lil Jon that told me that like if people find out that you're married, like it's going to be bad. I'm like, I don't think that's—
[00:20:52] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:20:53] T-Pain: I mean, that's like the sentiment of all of every industry. Like make yourself available, make people feel like they have a chance and you'll be better off. I didn't believe that. But at the same time it was like, I didn't want the responsibility of marriage and children because it would have taken me off the path of being number one. I just wanted to be number one. I wanted to have all the hits and if I would have had to change a diaper in the middle of recording a song, I feel like I wouldn't have did that. But I realize now how f*cking unimportant that was. When I actually go back to realizing how much I could have been involved with my family and thinking about my kids and my wife and really being involved. Yeah, that was stupid as hell. It felt like if I would've had the married life and having the kids life, that I wouldn't be able to be an artist because that just was portrayed to us at a young age. And if you want to be successful, you can't be tied down to anything. And that's just what I thought was the solution.
[00:21:58] So I had my wife and my kids living with my mom, and then I'm in a house in Atlanta by myself and my hype man and my artists that was signed to my label and stuff like that, we were having parties, of course, but I mean, I was still working. I was just work, work, work, work, work, and everybody would be having a party upstairs and that'd be in the studio. And there was literally a point, my homeboy came in the studio with a plaque saying that my album had just went double platinum. And I was like, "Oh, that's coolest sh*t. I'm trying to finish the thing though."
[00:22:29] Jordan Harbinger: Like work, like finished work.
[00:22:32] T-Pain: My album went double platinum. That's cool as hell. I was working on these harmonies though, I need to finish that. I was so focused on doing more of that, that when it actually happened, I didn't care. You know what I'm saying? I was so focused on being number one.
[00:22:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:46] T-Pain: I always used to say the hardest thing about being number one is staying number one. And that stuck with me so much that I didn't even care when I became number one, because I felt like I needed to work harder to stay there and everything else was a distraction. So I didn't want to have my wife around or I didn't want to have kids around me because my wife is doing the work with the kids. I'll do the work to make the money. That's the dynamic, that's our family dynamic. And that sh*t was so obscure and it was just so stupid. And I'll realize it now, being around my family more and actually becoming a family man, that this is the most important thing.
[00:23:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:27] T-Pain: This music sh*t doesn't mean anything. When I saw Mike Tyson lay down his belt on his pool table and said, "This means nothing to me. My family is more important." Then when I saw that, I was like, "Oh sh*t, I might need to rethink some sh*t." Mike Tyson is laying down his belts because that was the most important thing to him at one point.
[00:23:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:44] T-Pain: That was the moment. When I saw that interview with him, he was just like, "This is nothing. What does this mean to anybody? What does it actually mean?" The interviewer was like, "Well, that means you've done something in your life." Like, "So, for who?" That was like, yeah, that makes sense.
[00:24:00] Jordan Harbinger: How old are your kids now?
[00:24:02] T-Pain: Man, I'm about to have an 18-year-old.
[00:24:03] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay.
[00:24:05] T-Pain: Not excited.
[00:24:05] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:24:08] T-Pain: Right now, we've got 17, 15, 13.
[00:24:13] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Yeah. So the rest one is legally outside your control and the other ones are just de facto outside your control because they, yeah—
[00:24:21] T-Pain: My son is 15 and he just — he's on a date right now.
[00:24:25] Jordan Harbinger: That's got to be kind of a head trip. I got a two-year-old, so I'm not there yet.
[00:24:28] T-Pain: It's going to f*ck you up. It's going to f*ck you up. I didn't think it was a date at first until he asked for cologne.
[00:24:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:24:36] T-Pain: That's it. It's like, "Oh man, I know what you're doing up. I know what's going on." So it's weird. It's going to f*ck you up.
[00:24:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I'm excited about it. I mean, I got a little girl on the way too, so I'm a little bit more nervous about that.
[00:24:53] T-Pain: Oh, geez. Yeah. So my oldest is my daughter.
[00:24:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:24:57] T-Pain: So she's 17. She's about to be 18. She doesn't do dates. She's a gamer, but my son—
[00:25:04] Jordan Harbinger: That's fortunate, I think.
[00:25:04] T-Pain: My son is like, "I'm going to go finger something right now." I don't know what he's thinking, but you know, seeing my son go on a date and I know how I used to date and I'm f*cking awkward as hell. So I don't know if he's like—
[00:25:22] Jordan Harbinger: That's funny.
[00:25:23] T-Pain: I at least want him to do a good job, man.
[00:25:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:25:25] T-Pain: You know? Like, get it done, brother.
[00:25:27] Jordan Harbinger: Get it done. It's got to be kind of weird for your kids to like be in their friend's car. And they're turning on like, "The bartender—" "It's my dad!"
[00:25:35] T-Pain: My kids don't tell their friends who their dad is.
[00:25:38] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:25:39] T-Pain: Yeah. Like they go to school, like nobody in their school knows that.
[00:25:43] Jordan Harbinger: Really.
[00:25:43] T-Pain: They just don't want to be bothered. People find out. But—
[00:25:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:25:46] T-Pain: When they do find out, my kids are like, "Dude, I get it that you know, but chill the f*ck out."
[00:25:51] Jordan Harbinger: Chill out. Nobody comes over and is like, "Yo, you know your dad looks a lot like T-Pain? Do you ever hear that?
[00:26:00] T-Pain: They don't come here.
[00:26:01] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:26:02] T-Pain: My kids have Stockholm syndrome. So this pandemic really did not do a good number on that. So they go to other people's houses. They got to show pictures and stuff like that, and they'd see, but we don't get a lot of visitors because people just don't know what's happening here. So there's no — like if the kids knew who their dad was, they would be like, "Oh, I'm just coming to your house."
[00:26:25] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:26:26] T-Pain: But being that they don't know, it's like—
[00:26:28] Jordan Harbinger: Who's Bently with those rims and spinners in the driveway? Oh, is Akon over again? Akon's over again, Akon's having dinner.
[00:26:36] T-Pain: Exactly. So they don't know. So, but you know, we just let them go to other people's houses and let them explore that way instead of having people over here touching my sh*t.
[00:26:44] Jordan Harbinger: That's fine. Yeah, exactly. I'm like, "God, lock them out of my studio. I only have some things I care about. Don't let your stupid friends touch it."
[00:26:52] Back about 15 years ago now, I know you had some ups and downs financially, right? I believe the PC term is you went broke, the technical term.
[00:27:03] T-Pain: Exactly. Yep. That's how they said it back then, yep, for sure.
[00:27:06] Jordan Harbinger: But how broke is broke? Because a lot of people were like, "I'm broke. I only have three billion. I had 30."
[00:27:12] T-Pain: No, broke was Wells Fargo's made email saying your accountant had zero dollars.
[00:27:18] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow.
[00:27:19] T-Pain: Like broke was me asking my manager, can he buy food for my kids?
[00:27:24] Jordan Harbinger: Oh sh*t.
[00:27:25] T-Pain: And this is from upwards of $90 million. Like—
[00:27:29] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:27:29] T-Pain: Yeah. I mean, having it be the most money I've ever had in my life at one time was like 90 million.
[00:27:36] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:27:36] T-Pain: And then going to pure zero.
[00:27:39] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. So there's always a combination of factors, but I'm wondering is that like, there's got to be like a stack of irresponsible purchases.
[00:27:47] T-Pain: Yeah. Bad investments, listening to would be realtors.
[00:27:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:54] T-Pain: You know, people like, "This is going to be a great buy. You should buy this house over here. Nobody's bought it yet, but that's an opportunity. We can flip it. We can do all this." And we did that to like four or five houses in Miami, but I had never seen, I still to this day had never seen the houses. I don't know what they looked like. I kept pouring money into rebuilding the houses, knocking them down and rebuilding them. I bought my childhood home. That I had to sell, you know, once I got rid of the money.
[00:28:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:28:20] T-Pain: I had 43 cars at one time.
[00:28:21] Jordan Harbinger: How many? 43?
[00:28:23] T-Pain: 43 cars.
[00:28:24] Jordan Harbinger: Where do you even put 43 cars?
[00:28:26] T-Pain: You don't.
[00:28:27] Jordan Harbinger: You don't?
[00:28:28] T-Pain: You just don't.
[00:28:29] Jordan Harbinger: They're just around.
[00:28:29] T-Pain: They're just around and all the gas goes bad and all of them. The Ferrari's don't crank up. If they're not driven every day. The Bugatti is stuck in between two Chevy's. You can't get it out. It's just like — you just don't know. There was a lot of, I mean, because I was young. I'm like, what am I supposed to do?
[00:28:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:49] T-Pain: Like right at the beginning, you signed me as a 19-year-old and just handed me $40 million. What do I—? I don't know what to do with this.
[00:28:58] Jordan Harbinger: Like, you could grow up with two parents that are financial managers and you still screw up that money at that age.
[00:29:05] T-Pain: There's no way to not do that, but—
[00:29:08] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:29:08] T-Pain: I mean, obviously it was a lesson learned, but you know, learning how to get it back, that was a task.
[00:29:15] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sure that it was. In fact, I'm curious about that, but I am curious also what was like the first, so wildly irresponsible purchase where you still think about it? You're like, "Why did I buy that?" Yeah. There's houses and stuff, but like, there's got to be one thing where you were like, "Okay, that was definitely like top five dumbest things I've ever spent money on."
[00:29:32] T-Pain: There's two of them, one was a chain, the big ass chain.
[00:29:38] Jordan Harbinger: The one that you see in photo, like a bunch of photos and stuff.
[00:29:40] T-Pain: The big ass chain that was literally done on a dare.
[00:29:44] Jordan Harbinger: The chain was.
[00:29:45] T-Pain: From a stranger.
[00:29:46] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, God.
[00:29:47] T-Pain: I was at a show chilling on the side of the stage. I don't even know who the guy was. I've never seen him again. Never talked to him, never seen him before that. This guy walks up to me and he says, "T-Pain, I bet you won't get a chain that says big ass chain." And $400,000 later, I went and got that sh*t just to show him. I don't know who it is.
[00:30:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:30:08] T-Pain: I don't know to this day. I have no idea who the guy was, never seen him before, still to this day, just to impress a stranger. I spent 400 grand on a chain that said big ass chain.
[00:30:19] Jordan Harbinger: What happened to the chain?
[00:30:20] T-Pain: Well, I melted it down to make other chains.
[00:30:23] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, it like gave birth to other chains.
[00:30:25] T-Pain: Then I melted those chains down to make the big ass chain again.
[00:30:28] Jordan Harbinger: That's even more ridiculous. So you melted the big ass chain.
[00:30:30] T-Pain: It's worse. So I melted down the chains I made out of the big ass chain to make the big ass chain again.
[00:30:39] Jordan Harbinger: I won't say why because I think we know where this is going, right?
[00:30:41] T-Pain: Well, now it's a staple. You know what I'm saying? Now, it's like a moment in time that kind of reminds me to not do stupid sh*t.
[00:30:49] Jordan Harbinger: So you still have it somewhere?
[00:30:51] T-Pain: Oh yeah, it's up in the closet right now, yeah.
[00:30:52] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow. Okay.
[00:30:53] T-Pain: Yeah.
[00:30:53] Jordan Harbinger: It looks like whenever you're like, "Oh man, that house looks so nice." You're like, "Let me go to — I just need to take a peek at something really quick. Big ass chain, should I buy that house in Miami again?"
[00:31:02] T-Pain: It's like a magic eight ball.
[00:31:03] Jordan Harbinger: "Not unless you want another one of these staring at you every time you put on your socks."
[00:31:08] T-Pain: It's like a goddamn magic eight ball.
[00:31:13] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:31:14] T-Pain: So it's up there, man. It's up there in the closet right now. The second thing is the thing that I thought I was going to buy and how I found out I didn't have money.
[00:31:26] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. What was that?
[00:31:27] T-Pain: A house.
[00:31:28] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. What? Just one of the houses.
[00:31:30] T-Pain: Second house. So the house that I live in now, we're like really back far in the woods. So like, let's say if you're on the street, so there's a house here, a house here. My house is in between those houses, but behind them.
[00:31:48] Jordan Harbinger: Gotcha. Okay.
[00:31:49] T-Pain: The person on the right moved out of their house and there's a path that goes from my house to the front house. I wanted to buy that house just to have as another house
[00:32:01] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. As one does that sounds logic.
[00:32:04] T-Pain: Babe, if you need me, I'll be in the second house—
[00:32:07] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:32:08] T-Pain: —up the hill a little bit.
[00:32:08] Jordan Harbinger: Watching TV, same thing we're watching now.
[00:32:10] T-Pain: Same thing we're doing in here.
[00:32:11] Jordan Harbinger: Just in a different house.
[00:32:12] T-Pain: I'll be doing that, but I was going to move artists in there.
[00:32:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:32:16] T-Pain: You know, I was going like, have that as like a Nappy Boy entertainment house. And then I hit my accountant and he was like, "Oh no, you can't do that." And I was like, "What? What do you mean? I'm super rich." And he was like, "No, you are not, not anymore."
[00:32:31] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:32:34] T-Pain: No, you are not. And that was like the moment I was like, "What? Okay, you got to run me down. So some P and L here."
[00:32:42] Jordan Harbinger: I need to see a spreadsheet, I need to see a spreadsheet right now.
[00:32:45] T-Pain: I need to see a f*cking QuickBooks immediately. So he ran that down and yeah, I could not do that. And I was like, "Oh sh*t, what does that mean for the house I'm in?" He was like, "Oh yeah, I was going to call you about that."
[00:33:01] Jordan Harbinger: Oh no.
[00:33:03] T-Pain: And he was like, "You need to start doing something real different, real quick." And yeah, I started looking into myself and figured out how to f*cking get all my sh*t back and get rid of some cars. I only have nine cars now.
[00:33:16] Jordan Harbinger: Only nine, yeah.
[00:33:17] T-Pain: Only nine.
[00:33:18] Jordan Harbinger: Two per each member of the family, something like that.
[00:33:21] T-Pain: I got to get more soon. My kids don't want to drive. They think they're going to be able to take Uber everywhere.
[00:33:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that doesn't really, I mean, technically possible.
[00:33:32] T-Pain: I keep trying to teach them how to drive.
[00:33:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, they don't even know how to drive at age 18, 17.
[00:33:36] T-Pain: I keep trying to teach , I mean, granted, the sh*t, I'm trying to teach them to drive in. Like you don't want to learn how to drive in a Rolls-Royce.
[00:33:44] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:33:45] T-Pain: That's the only — and I'm damn sure not going to teach him how to drive a manual shift right now. And that's all my race cars. So I have a driving simulator in the other room and I'm trying to teach them on that. That way they can wreck. They can do anything they want to. That sh*t moves around.
[00:33:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:33:59] T-Pain: You know, when you hit something that actually jolts forward. It's cool. So they still don't want to do that. They're like, "No, we're just going to just Uber everything."
[00:34:07] Jordan Harbinger: You got to get Volvo from like 2013. And you're like, just, if this thing gets wrecked, whatever, right?
[00:34:12] T-Pain: My daughter, my oldest, doesn't want to drive, but she wants a Mustang. Like an old one, like a '70s Mustang.
[00:34:19] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense.
[00:34:20] T-Pain: And I'm like, "You get what? What are you going to do?"
[00:34:23] Jordan Harbinger: Can you make it self-driving?
[00:34:24] T-Pain: She just wants to look at it. Oh my God, a self-driving Fastback
[00:34:29] Jordan Harbinger: Like a Cobra GT, except it just drives itself.
[00:34:32] T-Pain: You might've just did something.
[00:34:33] Jordan Harbinger: It's possible. Let me know if you want to invest in one of my ideas, T-Pain.
[00:34:37] T-Pain: Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.
[00:34:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:34:41] T-Pain: Damn.
[00:34:46] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest T-Pain. We'll be right back.
[00:34:53] This episode is sponsored in part by Sugarwish. Has someone sent you a Sugarwish yet? If they have you'll understand why I'm a fan, it's easy gifting. So here's how Sugarwish works. The buyer picks the gift size and then the recipient picks their favorites from candies, cookies, popcorn snacks, a lot in there. You know, you get a gift from someone you go, "Great! A flavor of, you know, thing that I don't like. And the other thing that I'm allergic to." You don't have that problem with Sugarwish. And then they're delivered in these nice boxes. They're delightful, just like the treats inside. So whether you're sending one gift or a thousand, Sugarwish is a perfect choice, it makes things really easy. They've delivered over a million of these things. It's no surprise. It's fun to get these things in the mail. They sent us a bunch of candy. I picked a bunch of stuff that Jen hated but that's all right, because it's my Sugarwish not yours.
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[00:35:54] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Starbucks. Starbucks Tripleshot Energy is an extra strength coffee beverage in a can, 225 milligrams of caffeine. Let's just say it works as advertised. All right. It's that Starbucks coffee you love, ready to drink. You got the energy to do the things that matter to you. I could probably use one right now. I got a little jet lag going. Great for keeping you energized on a long road trip, any kind of other trip, getting you amped to tackle the work day ahead if you need to get amped, some of us need amperage. Offered in classic flavors like cafe mocha and caramel, and also with zero sugar and dairy free flavors like black and vanilla. Going to the coffee shop is great if you have the time, but it can interrupt productivity and sometimes it just can't get there. Keep Starbucks Tripleshot Energy in your fridge to drink every now and then for a little pick me up. Tripleshot is also perfect to throw in your bag when you need it. What gives you energy? Find your Starbucks Tripleshot Energy online or at your local store.
[00:36:43] Now back to T-Pain on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:36:52] You mentioned you found out that you were going broke or that you went broke when you talked to your accountant, but did you just not, you like never log, I don't even know how you check, but then obviously it's not all in some checking account, but you just never checked any of that stuff.
[00:37:04] T-Pain: At the time, my accountant was also my manager.
[00:37:07] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, that doesn't sound probably like a good idea.
[00:37:09] T-Pain: Wasn't.
[00:37:10] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:37:11] T-Pain: It was not. It was the worst idea, but he made me feel good. He made me feel good. He was very persuasive. Anytime we would talk about business, like, you know, managerial stuff, he would be very confident about it, talking loud and sh*t. Anytime there was a number that came up, he would whisper. He was like, "Okay, so we're doing this thing for the super bowl. We're going to be out there. It's going to be the 23rd. And, we're going to do this thing and they're offering you $75,000. So when you get there—" It was like, oh, this guy knows what he's f*cking doing. He knows when we're going to do it and when not to do. No, but he was convincing. He was super Jewish. So that helped a lot.
[00:37:50] Jordan Harbinger: Street cred wise.
[00:37:51] T-Pain: Yeah. Like, you know, like, why not? Like that's the thing. If you're a black rapper or black singer, get a Jewish account. That's like the thing, that's just what you do.
[00:37:59] Jordan Harbinger: It's like having 42 cars.
[00:38:00] T-Pain: He let me do that. He let me do that. So obviously, this guy knows what he's doing.
[00:38:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Sound investment logic, car number 43. Now hold on, you may have too many vehicles.
[00:38:15] T-Pain: It was all based on what he let me do.
[00:38:17] Jordan Harbinger: Right. He was like, "You know, this is your money, right?"
[00:38:21] T-Pain: This guy knows the sh*t.
[00:38:21] Jordan Harbinger: "I can't tell you what to do, but I could tell when you don't have any more money." Yeah.
[00:38:25] T-Pain: It's your money. I'll just tell you when you run out of it.
[00:38:27] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God.
[00:38:28] T-Pain: Yeah. But no, it was, I mean, it was a good relationship and it seemed like it was going well. And you know, at that age, I'm thinking I'm going to make money forever.
[00:38:37] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:38:37] T-Pain: All I got to do is f*cking sing what's on my mind and seeing what's in my heart and I get money for that. Oh my God. I'm never going broke. And then yeah, so—
[00:38:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I mean, did they just kind of tell you, like, "All right, your first album was a success, you're successful now."
[00:38:54] T-Pain: Yeah.
[00:38:54] Jordan Harbinger: "Now it's just strippers and swimming pools for the rest of your life.
[00:38:57] T-Pain: That's it. I mean, they didn't say that, but—
[00:38:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:39:00] T-Pain: —it was like, this is very easy. Nobody's losing here. This is great. And I think they're on the same wave as me and, you know, the same euphoria of like, "He just sh*t hits like hell. This is good. We got a great client. We have to worry about sh*t. We can just do this." So we just kept going on that wave. And then that wave ended as all waves do. And we didn't prepare.
[00:39:25] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:39:25] T-Pain: I mean, it was bad decision making and desperation, you know, and stuff like that. That was really fueling what we did for the next year and a half of trying to figure out how to get it back. And then I came to the conclusion that it was just a bunch of bad decision making. I can do this better myself. I'll go find my own team. I go do this. Once I figured out my own habits, I figured out my own wrongdoings and just the bad things that I was getting into my brain and really getting accustomed to, once I figured that out, I was able to really get back in like two years. It took me nine years to lose all that money. And it took me two years to get it back.
[00:40:05] Jordan Harbinger: That's amazing.
[00:40:06] T-Pain: So—
[00:40:06] Jordan Harbinger: You lost like 90 million, whatever give or take, in nine years, and then you basically made it back in two years. I mean, that's actually incredible.
[00:40:16] T-Pain: The main thing that made me lose it was my attentiveness. It wasn't just, I didn't care. I wasn't paying attention to it. And, you know, me looking back and just seeing where I went wrong and where I was actually putting my attention to, I can see now that those things were distractions and diversions and things like that. So now that I look into myself and I see where I need to be paying attention to, and actually keeping an eye on everything and watching what I do. I mean, it's child's play at this point now. It's just like, if I would've just taken this approach at the beginning, that whole era, that whole point in my life would've never happened.
[00:40:53] Jordan Harbinger: It's out of sight, out of mind kind of thing, right? Just like, forget it.
[00:40:57] T-Pain: I had a guy, I had a guy. I was like, "He will take care of that. I'm not going to run out of it. He's not going to let me run out of money. That's great. I got a guy."
[00:41:04] Jordan Harbinger: I am surprised that he'd let you run out — it wasn't like, "Hey man, seeing this happen a bunch, you're going to regret it. You should really invest a bunch of this. If the getting's not always good." You think he would be like, "Let me manage the investments for you. Then we'll all make money for 50 years."
[00:41:18] T-Pain: Most of the investments was his.
[00:41:21] Jordan Harbinger: What do you mean?
[00:41:23] T-Pain: I mean, it's embarrassing to say, but most of them—
[00:41:25] Jordan Harbinger: That's okay. Yeah. I mean, no one's judging you for this. Like you're 36 now, I'm 41.
[00:41:29] T-Pain: Most of the things that he had me investing in was like secretly his companies.
[00:41:33] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, that's crooked as hell, man.
[00:41:36] T-Pain: He's like, "Yo, you know what you should do. You should buy this property in Miami," and secretly he owned the property already. So I was buying it from him.
[00:41:43] Jordan Harbinger: Like an inflated, "It's a good deal. Look, it's a great deal."
[00:41:46] T-Pain: Great deal. Like, so he was like just kind of secretly getting double paid.
[00:41:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:52] T-Pain: You know, because the money I paid for the property goes to him and then the money I make from selling the property to somebody else, he gets 20 percent of it because he was my manager also.
[00:42:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:42:02] T-Pain: Yeah, there's a little double dip but it's not like the stuff like—
[00:42:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:42:06] T-Pain: —you started to realize little things every now and then, and you look back at it like, "Man, I was f*cking — I was stupid."
[00:42:13] Jordan Harbinger: It still sucks to get robbed by somebody though. That sucks.
[00:42:16] T-Pain: Somebody that you really trust and really see as a friend and not just like a business partner, you know what I'm saying?
[00:42:24] Jordan Harbinger: Do you think you could make it back at the time or were you like, "Okay, I'm screwed. I'm never going to be successful again"?
[00:42:28] T-Pain: I thought I was going to die.
[00:42:29] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:42:30] T-Pain: I was going to be homeless. I was like really being prepared to be working at Subway and somebody being like, "Aren't you f*cking T-Pain?"
[00:42:39] Jordan Harbinger: And you're like, "Nope, nope. Pickles?"
[00:42:42] T-Pain: You want some more, you want some more Chipotle ranch?
[00:42:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:42:44] T-Pain: I was like ready. I was like preparing myself to do that because I was so crazy on like alcohol back then that I didn't think I was ever going to be like, okay, enough to function alone. I looked at myself, I didn't remember — it was like four years of my life I don't even remember. Like, I was just so crazy. And that was the part where I didn't have money. I was like, well, if I'm going to die, I'm going to die drunk as sh*t. I was just, I was ready, I was prepared to just be out. I was prepared to just be like, this is it, but I'm going to have fun doing it every night. And I'm just going to go crazy every night. And that just turned into depression, turned into a bunch of sh*t. And after that I was like, "Wait a minute. I could probably do this if I just stopped going crazy every night."
[00:43:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:33] T-Pain: I'm fine in the daytime. I can just do stuff then. And then I just started coming up with routines and ways to really look at my money. And then I started asking different accountants, like, how do you do this? You know, just really soaking up the game. And then I came to a point where I was like, somebody tell me how I keep all my f*cking money.
[00:43:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:53] T-Pain: And then I got the game from a bunch of different accountants. And I was like, okay, I think I got it. "Can I do this and drink?" "Yes." "Great. Okay."
[00:44:04] Jordan Harbinger: You can make your own drink and then people will pay you.
[00:44:06] T-Pain: And then boom. And then we made that and now I have a drink book.
[00:44:12] Jordan Harbinger: I saw that, yeah, I saw that, I saw that. I'm wondering about the Grammys, right? I know you won a Grammy and like, I'm wondering if, how does that change things for you? Or you mentioned before you got the plaque and you were like, "All right, whatever. I'm wondering, does it change your career a bunch or is it kind of just like—
[00:44:26] T-Pain: Prices go up, for sure.
[00:44:28] Jordan Harbinger: Prices go up for you to perform?
[00:44:30] T-Pain: Just anything.
[00:44:31] Jordan Harbinger: Everything?
[00:44:31] T-Pain: Yeah, because once you put Grammy award winning in front of your name—
[00:44:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:44:35] T-Pain: —yeah, especially if you've got multiple because — now I've got six.
[00:44:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You got your age stacked up. Now. I'm just wondering if the first one must have been like crazy.
[00:44:45] T-Pain: The first one was surreal is a word I can use.
[00:44:50] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:44:50] T-Pain: I didn't really believe it. I didn't know where it came from. I didn't know what I did to deserve it. I got a Grammy off of doing sh*t that I was just doing every day. It was just like, this is normal. And if this normal thing had me win a Grammy, why didn't my other stuff win? I was very negative on myself at the time. So I didn't have like a positive view of winning a Grammy. I'm like, why didn't my other regular sh*t win it? Why did you guys wait until I got with somebody else to do the sh*ts? I was very negative about it. I mean, prices went up and things started happening a little bit more. I got noticed a lot more and yeah, then I went on to win a bunch of more and then it kept happening. But the first one, I was very negative about it.
[00:45:37] Jordan Harbinger: It's amazing how our view of ourselves can color anything. Like people think that they can get something external that will help fix it. And they're like, "No, if I get more money, whatever, I'll be happy." And you're like, "I literally have a Grammy and I've done the platinum plaque and everyone knows who I am. And I'm still like, eh, this sucks." Right?
[00:45:55] T-Pain: It sucks. This sh*t sucks. Why the hell didn't you give me 13 of these? Because when I won my first Grammy, I had already been nominated for five of them—
[00:46:04] Jordan Harbinger: Oh okay.
[00:46:05] T-Pain: —in one year. In one year, I had five Grammy nominations.
[00:46:08] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:46:09] T-Pain: Because all the five Grammy nominations were just me, on my own. And the one I won was with somebody else. And I was like, "Y'all didn't give me a Grammy for my sh*t. But when I get on a song with somebody that you know who they are and they f*cking—"
[00:46:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:46:24] T-Pain: You know what I'm saying? Like, oh, why was he so famous? I was just so negative about everything and it didn't help my mindset at the time, but it works. I did get more money for stuff. So that was cool.
[00:46:37] Jordan Harbinger: I heard that you didn't get paid for features in songs like those, like cameo type situations, I guess if it were a movie.
[00:46:43] T-Pain: I didn't want to.
[00:46:44] Jordan Harbinger: You didn't want to?
[00:46:45] T-Pain: I didn't want to get paid for those.
[00:46:46] Jordan Harbinger: But it was like two years, you were just like, "No, I'm good. I'm just going to show up.
[00:46:49] T-Pain: I was so honored to be in the presence of people that I looked up to. I was like, "You got to pay me for this? I'm like happy to be here. You don't have to pay me. I'm fine." And then I wasn't fine, but no, I was, I mean, I did get a lot of reciprocation for a lot of the things I did. I did get, you know, features on my album. I mean, my Three Ringz album was packed with features and most of those were returned favors. Not only was I super popular at the time, but you know, a lot of the people on that album were just returned favorites.
[00:47:24] Jordan Harbinger: That's amazing.
[00:47:25] T-Pain: A lot of them wasn't even swaps like, you know, like T.I. was charging 200 grand for a verse at a time, and I did a hook for him earlier, and that's not even. On Chopped N Skrewed, Ludacris was charging 250.
[00:47:38] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:47:39] T-Pain: Per verse, but also I had just started charging 250 per verse. So I was like, how about we just don't pay each other and it's just I'll do one for you. And that's when I did One More Drink for Ludacris and then he did Chopped N Skrewed for me. So we would just like, "You can give me 250 grand and then I'll give you your money back. Or we can just not do this at all and just do the song and we'll be fine. So it worked out in a lot of different ways and I think that generosity I had for a lot of artists actually worked out in my favor.
[00:48:10] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely. Yeah. So we talk a lot about like dig the well, before you get thirsty. You know, help other people, don't expect anything in return. Don't be attached to getting anything in return. And then usually when you do that, like 50 times, you know, 40, 30 of those people are going to go, "All right, I can help you back." 20, you never hear from them again, but maybe they can't do anything for you and you don't even need anything.
[00:48:29] T-Pain: You don't even need it, yep, absolutely.
[00:48:30] Jordan Harbinger: If you don't think about what's in it for you then later on, you're like, "Hey, I got a new album coming out. Will you do it?"
[00:48:35] T-Pain: Boom!
[00:48:35] Jordan Harbinger: They look like a real a-hole if they were like, "Nah. I'm good."
[00:48:37] T-Pain: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
[00:48:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:39] T-Pain: I mean, there were so many a-holes, but you know, whatever.
[00:48:43] Jordan Harbinger: There are always a-holes, yes.
[00:48:45] T-Pain: It's not going to be a hundred percent every time. So yeah, I definitely went that route and it actually worked out for me.
[00:48:50] Jordan Harbinger: I heard this, the Bartender song that everybody knows and the one that I was just butchering earlier, you made that at a crazy resort in Jamaica called Hedonism.
[00:48:59] T-Pain: Hedonism.
[00:49:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:49:01] T-Pain: Three, the third one.
[00:49:02] Jordan Harbinger: The third point, right? The first two, just weren't hedonistic enough.
[00:49:07] T-Pain: Hedonism three. That sh*t was fire, except for that one thing.
[00:49:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So tell me about that. Because this is a weird story, like by all accounts, right?
[00:49:15] T-Pain: So I was at Hedonism. I don't know why I was there.
[00:49:20] Jordan Harbinger: Tell us what this place is because it's not like a usual vacate — it's not sandals.
[00:49:23] T-Pain: This place, Hedo — it's not like sandals. It's like sandals, let's just say it's nudist sandals. It's a nudist resort.
[00:49:32] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:49:32] T-Pain: I mean, you'd look out your window, you're ass naked, looking out your window with a cup of coffee with people f*cking by the pool. Just everything's happening all at this one hotel. And you're just like, this is nice. This is nice. You're just ass naked at your window in your hand a cup of coffee, window wide open, and you're like, this is a cool place.
[00:49:53] Jordan Harbinger: What did those animals sounds like here outside? Ah, I see Bob from accounting.
[00:49:58] T-Pain: It's usually very old people.
[00:50:01] Jordan Harbinger: Really? That shouldn't surprise me, but it does, yeah.
[00:50:03] T-Pain: Super old couples that want to rekindle something or just like put some more flare into their sh*t. Yeah. So it's just, everybody's in this big resort. Everybody's ass naked. I set up a studio in my hotel room. And when I set it up, I've figured out that I forgot my microphone cable. So I couldn't do that. And the DJ that was deejaying the entire resort every night, he was there every night. I was like, "Dude, you got to have a microphone cable. There's no way you don't." And he was like, "I'll give you a microphone cable if you record a dubplate for me." Now, if you don't know what a dubplate is, that's when basically like, let's say I would redo all I do is win for this DJ and put his name in the song. And he wanted me to record that at the resort. And I was like, "Well, I'm trying to record this one song. I just need your microphone cable. It's not that serious where you need a dubplate for me. It's kind of unnecessary, a little bit unprofessional."
[00:51:03] Jordan Harbinger: It's a little bit of that — it's like asking somebody for like a $50,000 thing to get a ride to the airport. You're like, well—
[00:51:09] T-Pain: Yeah, come on, man. It's kind of unprofessional. So he did give me the microphone cable, but he did also threaten me with a butter knife. And he was like, "I'm very disappointed." And he was like twirling the butter knife in his hand. "I'm really disappointed you didn't record my dubplate." I'm like, "Dude, give me whatever."
[00:51:23] Jordan Harbinger: I'll email it to you.
[00:51:24] T-Pain: Right. I'm done with the song. You can have your mic cable back. So now, but I recorded Bartender in a hotel room of a nudist resort.
[00:51:32] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:51:33] T-Pain: And it came out good.
[00:51:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It paid for a new microphone cable.
[00:51:38] T-Pain: It was absolutely a new microphone cable worth of songs.
[00:51:42] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, but then something kind of weird happened. And I'm the only reason I'm trying to get the story is it is, it's bizarre.
[00:51:50] T-Pain: Oh, Bob. So after I recorded that song, I was cool. We went to the bar and there's police tape everywhere. And there's one little area right by the bar. I go to the bar, I'm with my security Boogie. We go to the bar. Everything's all inclusive. So we're not paying for anything. There's one guy at the bar. He's looking pretty down. You know, I remember I'm like, "Dude, everybody's ass naked, man. Pop up. What the f*ck are you doing? Are you crying at the bar? You're crying at the bar at a nudist resort. F*ck, what's wrong with you, dude? Get up, come on. Let's have a drink. Get this man a drink." And I'm just getting him drinks and getting him drunk and blah, blah. You know, he introduced himself, he said, "My name is Bob Everland. I'm so glad you guys came into my life. I was at this bar having my last drink because I don't know if you see all this police tape." It was very obvious, very, a lot of release tape, "But my wife just died in our hotel room."
[00:52:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:52:44] T-Pain: So he says, "I was at the bar having my last drink. This was going to be it. I was going to go kill myself, but you guys came into my life and kept me alive. And I'm just glad to see that there are good people still in the world. I'm very sad that my wife died, but man, you guys put a spark in my life and I want to stay here. If there's going to be more people like you guys, I want to stay here." And I still talk to him to this day.
[00:53:07] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:53:08] T-Pain: He actually texted me while we've been talking.
[00:53:10] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:53:11] T-Pain: So—
[00:53:15] Jordan Harbinger: Good for him. I mean, and good for you. That's an amazing thing to do. I think a lot of people might've been like, "Oh, this is kind of a drag. Like I'll leave this guy alone. It's awkward." But you had been at this point, is this post depression where you were like, "I know like some of what you're feeling right now."
[00:53:29] T-Pain: I went to this place to try to get out of my depression. I went to this place. I'm like, "Oh my God. See about the titties, a bunch of old titties, everybody cool, everybody cool. This got to be cool. This has to cure some kind of depression." I was like, "Cool, let's go," and we went. It wasn't as glorious as the pictures, maybe.
[00:53:50] Jordan Harbinger: No. The models are slightly younger that the actual clientele.
[00:53:54] T-Pain: Hot 30 in the pictures. I mean, but it was still a fun place. We did a lot of activities. We still had a lot of sh*t going on. So I'm like, nobody should be sad in this place. And I saw Bob being sad and I'm like, "Dude, there's no way you're sad here." It's like, I was actually, I thought I was cured at one point. I was like, this is a f*cking great place. Everybody's happy. Everybody's doing what the f*ck they want to do. Everybody's literally rocking out with a cocktail. Everybody's fine. This is great. What is f*ck is going on? And he was the only sad person and I felt my responsibility was to make sure he felt better.
[00:54:29] Then we found out all that and now we still talk. He lives in Orlando. He works at Universal, like resorts and sh*t like that. And I had a show in Orlando like a couple of years ago and it was the first time I had seen him since the trip. And man, I think it was like 11 years had passed since I've actually seen him face to face. And he was like, "Yo, I'm Bob." And I'm like, "Oh sh*t." And we embraced. A lot went on. He cried, I cried more than him. It was just a lot, man, but yeah, we still talk today. He's literally texting me right now. That's great.
[00:55:06] Jordan Harbinger: I'm glad to hear that. That's kind of a cute story and kind of fun. I mean, it's a bummer, of course, it's awful that his wife passed away, but you were there like right in time—
[00:55:13] T-Pain: Yeah, man.
[00:55:14] Jordan Harbinger: —for that. Because who knows what he was going to do? Did he tell you how he was going to plan to kill himself after his last drinks?
[00:55:19] T-Pain: No. He was just like, "This was my last drink. I was here having my last." And he doesn't drink like that. He drinks beers. He's like a beer guy.
[00:55:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. He's Bob from Orlando. He's not like a hard—
[00:55:29] T-Pain: He's Bob from Orlando, so he's a beer guy and he was drinking like straight rum, like Jamaican rum. Like he was like, same thing I was doing, "If I'm going to go out and go out drunk." Like he was doing the same thing I was doing and I saw it. I guess I kind of identified with it and unconsciously, I kind of subconsciously I kind of identify with it. And I think I saw what was happening and was like, I think this guy needs some lifting.
[00:55:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Like you were in a very unique mental or emotional place to spot that like right away.
[00:56:00] T-Pain: Yeah, and the crazy thing was nobody else was sitting around him. Like literally, it was me and my security and there were two chairs empty next to him. It was like person, empty chair, Bob, empty chair, person. So it was like set for us to surround him with this love.
[00:56:18] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:56:18] T-Pain: And man, you know, we love Bob, man. Bob is Bob.
[00:56:23] Jordan Harbinger: Shout out to Bob in Orlando and his beers.
[00:56:26] T-Pain: And his beers.
[00:56:27] Jordan Harbinger: Craft beer obsession, most likely. Yeah.
[00:56:31] T-Pain: And IPA.
[00:56:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, exactly, his Coors Lights.
[00:56:36] T-Pain: Right.
[00:56:41] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest T-Pain. We'll be right back.
[00:56:48] This episode is sponsored in part by Zelle. Zelle is a great way to send money to friends and family, no matter where they bank in the US. These days I travel light. I don't even carry a wallet. I'm not even sure where my wallet is. I never carry cash. Jen is my wallet now. She's got a purse. That's how it works. I've sent a friend beer money for fun using Zelle. I paid back my brother-in-law for something he bought from me using Zelle. And you don't have to download yet another app because it's most likely already in your banking app, since it's in over a thousand different banking apps, as it is. The money sent goes straight to the recipient's bank account, typically in minutes between enrolled users. So look for Zelle in your banking app.
[00:57:22] This episode is also sponsored by Scribd. I read a ton, not just to prepare for this show mostly, but also for fun. I prefer to read through my ears because I can power through at least two books a week through audio. I really wish I had Scribd back when I was a teen, because it would've loved to just read all the time. With Scribd, you can get instant access to millions of e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and more. You also get curated picks and smart recommendations based on what you've read before. So you can discover new books and new authors, which makes choosing your next book that much simpler. I love Scribd. They've made listening to audiobooks, easy and affordable. Access to the world's largest digital library, all for just 9.99 a month, which is less than the cost of a single book in most places. If I can only share with you the sheer amount of books that I have saved.
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[00:59:35] And now for the rest of my conversation with T-Pain.
[00:59:42] So you seem happier now and a lot of like, by all accounts, you've kind of got to be, I mean, unless you're really good at covering it up. It's hard to tell from a conversation, but your kids are growing up.
[00:59:52] T-Pain: That's why I'm not friends with any actors.
[00:59:55] Jordan Harbinger: Why is that? What do you mean? Oh, because they covered their feelings.
[00:59:57] T-Pain: Yeah, of course. Like, they're just really good at it.
[01:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I'm doing great. Love it. Go home. Take like seven pills to go to sleep.
[01:00:04] T-Pain: No, I am so much more happier now that I'm not chasing anything because you got to be so serious when you're chasing sh*t. And when you're trying to have a certain level of money and you got to portray this level of success. Like for who?
[01:00:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:00:21] T-Pain: This is the same way I stopped smoking cigarettes. I used to smoke cigarettes. I used to chain smoke cigarettes, like really chain smoke. I used to chain smoke cigarettes to the point of, I used to light up cigarettes with other cigarettes.
[01:00:33] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yikes.
[01:00:34] T-Pain: Like it was like I was going crazy. And when I started wanting to stop smoking cigarettes, I would pick up a cigarette and thinking to myself, why do you want to smoke this? And if I couldn't come up with a good excuse, I just put it back. And it's the same thing. It's the same approach I take now. Why do you need people to know what you're doing? I don't. Are you satisfied with where you are? Do you have enough money to keep your family going? Do you—? Yeah, I'm good. Oh, okay, cool. You don't need to do more than what you're doing then.
[01:01:03] These are internal conversations I have with myself. You don't need people to think you're on top of anything. Do you need that? Like, why would you need people to know? I guess I'll make more money. Are you not making enough money? Do you need more money? I think I want that jet ski?
[01:01:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that daughter, she wants a Mustang, those things are expensive.
[01:01:25] T-Pain: I do say dumb sh*t. Like, I did, I want a jet ski or like a boat or something. And it's like, do you live around ?
[01:01:32] Jordan Harbinger: In the woods. I mean jet ski in the woods? Can't rent these? It's possible.
[01:01:40] T-Pain: Are you f*cking Mobius over here? Goddamn. Why do you need a jet ski so goddamn bad? So yeah, I mean, but I have these internal conversations—
[01:01:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:01:47] T-Pain: —that helped me make better decisions. And it's so much more fun when you're doing it for yourself, as opposed to making sure everybody knows you're doing it at all. It really helps to just be content with where you are and how you're doing. Because the thing that people get misconstrued when people say, "Don't forget where you came from." I will never forget where I came from, but I will die on the hill saying, "I'm going to do everything in my power to not go back there."
[01:02:23] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:02:24] T-Pain: So it's not the fact that I'm forgetting where I came from. I don't want to be there. I know where I came from and that sh*t was horrible.
[01:02:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I can never forget it. Like I can't forget it.
[01:02:35] T-Pain: This isn't like a goal for me because it's a big thing in the rap community, in the black community. "Oh, you can't come back to the hood." "Thank God. Oh my God. Hell yeah. Really? Am I not allowed back in there? Because that's great. You don't want to be there." Everybody says, "Yo, when I get some money, I'm going to get my mom out the hood." Okay. So you don't want to be there and you don't, you know, you don't want your mom to be there, but I'm supposed to make sure I stay there all the time. No, what the f*ck?
[01:03:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:03:06] T-Pain: Okay. That's fair. I didn't want to be there. You don't want to be there now. I'm okay with not being able to come back.
[01:03:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:03:13] T-Pain: And I'm not going to forget it. I'm not going to forget it. I respect it and everything that happens within it, I get it. I understand it, but it's not my goal to go back. It was my goal to leave. It's everybody's goal to leave.
[01:03:28] Jordan Harbinger: Everybody's goal is to leave, yeah. What's the analogy? People call it like the crab bucket, right? Where like the crabs are crawling out and then the other ones are reaching up and they're obviously just trying to get out but they'd, by way of that—
[01:03:38] T-Pain: Pulling all the rest of the crabs back down while they're trying to get to the top and ultimately nobody gets to the top.
[01:03:43] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:03:44] T-Pain: You end up in f*cking boiling water.
[01:03:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:03:49] T-Pain: Nobody gets out.
[01:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[01:03:51] T-Pain: Unless you're that one that gets on the floor and nobody wants to touch you because—
[01:03:54] Jordan Harbinger: This analogy went off the rails. This metaphor went—
[01:03:56] T-Pain: Oh, you've never dropped a crab on the floor.
[01:03:58] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[01:04:00] T-Pain: Okay. So when we cook crabs, you got to dump them out of the actual bucket. But sometimes one of them doesn't go in the bucket.
[01:04:07] Jordan Harbinger: Like swings away, yeah.
[01:04:08] T-Pain: And then it gets on the floor and it's just f*cking, what's up, bitch? What's up, bitch?
[01:04:13] Jordan Harbinger: It's like fighting.
[01:04:14] T-Pain: Back up, bitch. It's just like you can't put it in the pot now because one made it out. One made it out and it's going to clamp your f*cking fingers if you try to put it back in. So then you got to take drastic measures and f*cking kills it on the floor. Okay, now we went off the rails.
[01:04:34] Jordan Harbinger: And that is why people don't make it out of the hood.
[01:04:36] T-Pain: We'll make it. It's the 360, it's 360 days, you'll figure it out.
[01:04:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man. I read in the news lately. And this is, I don't want to dwell on this too much, but I'm curious this thing with Usher where he like woke you up on—
[01:04:52] T-Pain: Yeah.
[01:04:52] Jordan Harbinger: Can you tell us what happened? Because I read the articles and I'm like, is this bullsh*t? Is this real?
[01:04:55] T-Pain: No, that's real. Usher woke me up to tell me that I ruined music.
[01:04:59] Jordan Harbinger: You're like sleeping on an airplane, right?
[01:05:01] T-Pain: Sleeping on an airplane, sleeping off a f*cking hangover because I was alcoholic at that point. His kids were running all over the plane, jumping all over my chest, and I had a window seat and his kids apparently wanted to see out the window. So they jumped in my lap and f*cking looking out the window just across me. But the flight attendant woke me up and told me that Usher wanted to talk to me. And he was like, "You ruined music." And boom. I mean, small talk before it wasn't so cut and dry at one point. Yeah, the sentence he said out of his mouth was, "You ruined music."
[01:05:30] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:05:31] T-Pain: Oh no, "You f*cked up music," is what he said. He didn't say "ruined". I'm trying to keep it clean. But he said you f*cked up music.
[01:05:38] Jordan Harbinger: That's awful though. Like to wake someone up and then say that, I mean to say that at all.
[01:05:42] T-Pain: I mean, I could have been fully awake.
[01:05:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:05:44] T-Pain: I could have been on f*cking five-hour energy. And that still would have been pretty f*cked up.
[01:05:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's weird.
[01:05:51] T-Pain: But I understand what he was saying. I think he just chose his words—
[01:05:54] Jordan Harbinger: Poorly.
[01:05:55] T-Pain: —very poorly.
[01:05:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:05:57] T-Pain: Super poorly. He was saying that I shifted the industry to a standard that didn't fit what he was really good at.
[01:06:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Well, it seems like, you know, it's a threat because he can sing and he's like, "Well, crap now everybody—"
[01:06:11] T-Pain: Now everybody can sing.
[01:06:12] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:06:12] T-Pain: That's exactly what he said. He was like, "I was special because I could sing better than everybody." And Usher has perfect pitch. You can literally call out a f*cking note and he'll just sing it. Like before you even play it on a piano or you can play a note on a piano and he'll tell you what note that is.
[01:06:28] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:06:29] T-Pain: He has perfect f*cking pitch. This man has never needed Auto-Tune in the studio. I've worked with him multiple times. Her is one of the greatest f*cking singers of our generation. And he was basically saying, "I was special because I had that ability. And now everybody has that ability. You made me normal."
[01:06:48] Jordan Harbinger: Did he say that to Cher because she's the one who popularized Auto-Tune in the beginning in the '90s?
[01:06:52] T-Pain: I don't think so. But the thing is, she popularized it, but nobody copied her.
[01:06:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:06:57] T-Pain: Nobody else did it after her. Nobody else was like, "It's the new Cher sound. I need to do that on my record too." It was frowned upon in the music industry if you sounded like anybody else at that time. You couldn't have — I think the only time that it was okay to sound like anybody else was like the disco era. Like all disco sounded the same.
[01:07:18] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[01:07:19] T-Pain: I'm working on a project right now called disco sucks because of that whole campaign that was happening. And I feel like that's what happened to me and I'm not dwelling on it, but that was a major part of my life that, you know, I feel like the whole disco sucks movement was kind of like the anti Auto-Tune movement. Having people copy — even when Roger Troutman did the Talkbox. Nobody else was doing it. But even if they tried to do it, like Eric Clapton, he did it with a guitar. He put a spin on it. He did something different, but it was not widespread that nobody changed an industry with it. Even Kanye did it before me. Kanye did Auto-Tune before me, but nobody copied him and nobody wanted to sound like him and nobody was making hits with it. It didn't change the industry. When I did it, it changed the industry. It bursts a whole new genre of music. So I understand being the face of it. Like when mumble rap happened.
[01:08:17] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah, good God.
[01:08:18] T-Pain: Little Yachty was the face of mumble rap. Little Yachty wasn't by far the least mumbly rapper at the time, but he was the face of it and he got the brunt of mumble rap. He got the brunt of the hate of it. So I understand that the person that's the most sought after for doing a thing and as seen as the originator would get the most hate for that. I understand that. But to say that you made me not special anymore was—
[01:08:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:08:51] T-Pain: That's not my fault.
[01:08:53] Jordan Harbinger: But it's good that you realize that because it's almost like he blamed you for a thing that was his own insecurity at the time, like you said, and he chose his words poorly, but it's also like, "It's like shame on you for shifting this industry. Now, I'm having a harder — I might have a hard time." It's like, he didn't say, "You don't have any talent." He didn't say, "Your stuff sucks and I don't like it."
[01:09:13] T-Pain: He didn't say he didn't like it.
[01:09:14] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[01:09:14] T-Pain: He didn't say he didn't like it. It's a good thing. And like I said, I still respect Usher. He's one of the greatest singers of our f*cking generation, but he chose his words poorly. It goes back to me running out of money because I was sh*tting out hits. Anytime I open my f*cking mouth, I got a million dollars. But once that got normal to people and it stopped making that money, I had to figure out how to do something different.
[01:09:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:09:39] T-Pain: Usher was not ready to do that because every time we got an Usher release, it was a smash. But if you're not keeping up with what, how the industry is changing, that's not going to work anymore. And oh f*ck, it's not going to be easy. "Hey man, you made this not easy anymore."
[01:09:59] Jordan Harbinger: In a way, running out of money was like a really good way to teach you agility in the market and teach you how to survive.
[01:10:04] T-Pain: Absolutely. No question, no question for sure. Yeah. I have to f*cking — agility? Acrobatics. I had to f*cking, I had to flip everything, man, and the thing that I realized very early on was nobody saw, nobody had seen my personality. Nobody had seen that I was actually an okay guy. I did meet-and-greets a lot in my early stages and I would always hear two things. One, I thought you'd be taller.
[01:10:39] Jordan Harbinger: How tall are you?
[01:10:40] T-Pain: I'm f*cking 5'10" I think.
[01:10:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay. I thought you'd be telling them that too. I'm sorry.
[01:10:48] T-Pain: My wife is f*cking 4' 11". This works out really nice.
[01:10:50] Jordan Harbinger: My wife's five-feet tall, so we look fine. Everyone's like, "Oh wow, your husband and you are — he's so much taller than you," but I'm like, "Yeah, don't stand next to me when she's around."
[01:10:59] T-Pain: Yeah, that's how that works. I always heard, "I thought you'd be taller," and "I thought you'd be an assh*le."
[01:11:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh really? You seem super nice in like the boat video — everybody, like, you're like a good natured guy.
[01:11:09] T-Pain: Because that's when I started showing my actual personality.
[01:11:12] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay.
[01:11:12] T-Pain: You know, when I would do interviews or when I would do videos, I would put on this act that I thought we had to put on. I would talk differently because I thought if you didn't sound stupid, you weren't cool. Like you know what I'm saying?
[01:11:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:11:31] T-Pain: Just the fact that I enunciate my words now. The way I do interviews differently, and the things that I decide to say, the things that I actually know, actually show my intelligence. I don't know if this was even a part of your culture, but in our culture, in the hip-hop culture, like you getting made fun of for going to college.
[01:11:48] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[01:11:49] T-Pain: Like, if you come out as a rapper and you went to college, like that's a bad thing for something. What the f*ck is that?
[01:11:56] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting. The crab bucket, man. You don't need college.
[01:12:03] T-Pain: What? You went to college.
[01:12:03] Jordan Harbinger: For educated people.
[01:12:04] T-Pain: You're not from the streets, you're not from the streets. You went to college. No, no, no. What? So I've never actually understood it, I just participated in it. You know, seeing that people can actually see my personality and I can get on Twitch and actually show people that I'm a good person. I haven't been that person that everybody thought was going to be an assh*le. And I'm more approachable than other artists. I mean, I've been in the airport with multiple artists and people come to me and they're like, "Can I get a picture?" And I'm like, "You don't see, you don't see all these big ass artists around me." I've literally had people tell me, "Yeah. But you seem like the only one that actually would take a picture with me." And it's just like the demeanor on people, you know, the demeanor and the expression on people's faces just make them unapproachable and very off-putting. That's like, I'm just happy now. I'm just so happy that it's like, "Yeah, come on." Picture's going to take probably two and a half seconds if you go to work your phone.
[01:13:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:13:05] T-Pain: Usually they don't know how to work their phones though.
[01:13:07] Jordan Harbinger: That's the problem. Yeah. Yeah. You know who Bill Nye, the science guy is?
[01:13:10] T-Pain: I definitely know who Bill Nye, the science guy, yeah.
[01:13:13] Jordan Harbinger: So when people come up to him for selfies, he's like, "Okay, make it fast." But if they're like, "Okay, hang on." He's like, "You need to learn how to walk and take a selfie." It's like his pet peeves. He's a very nice guy, but he gets like, "Come on, man."
[01:13:22] T-Pain: So what I do when people are like, "I want to take a picture," I take the phone. I've seen every phone in existence. I know how to work all of them. Everybody takes pictures with different phones, especially when you like take pictures in Japan and you see all these weird ass phones and sh*t and stuff like that. I've seen every phone in existence.
[01:13:40] Jordan Harbinger: That's really funny.
[01:13:40] T-Pain: I'm just, "Give me the phone, give me the phone." I'll take it. Boom. It's literally one button, two maybe. Two to get on the camera app and then one, bam.
[01:13:50] Jordan Harbinger: That's funny. Because there are a lot of weird asss phones, like in Asia, like Xiaomi Red Note 3, or like, how do you use this? What's a Xiaomi Red Note 3?
[01:13:59] T-Pain: Yeah. I had to take a picture on a phone that was like a teardrop shape.
[01:14:04] Jordan Harbinger: That's cool.
[01:14:05] T-Pain: It was crazy though. The camera was at the top of that.
[01:14:08] Jordan Harbinger: You know what? I'm just going to keep this phone. I'll text you the photo.
[01:14:11] T-Pain: Text to me when you're getting a new phone. You know the number, right?
[01:14:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's funny.
[01:14:20] T-Pain: So it comes down to knowing where you are and being content with that and knowing that you're okay because I could be a lot richer. I couldn't be going to space right now.
[01:14:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:14:32] T-Pain: I could be going to space in a giant dick.
[01:14:35] Jordan Harbinger: With Jeff Bezos.
[01:14:36] T-Pain: Or I could be stuffing my nose and my ears with toilet paper to make sure roaches don't get in it. I think I'm fine where I am.
[01:14:44] Jordan Harbinger: Amen. That's a great way to look at it. I think that's' a good place to — on that note, let's wrap it up. Thank you so much, man, for your time and your candor and your vulnerability, man.
[01:14:53] T-Pain: Absolutely.
[01:14:54] Jordan Harbinger: This is a real pleasure. I think it's important to be honest about all this stuff that you were honest about.
[01:14:58] T-Pain: Absolutely.
[01:14:59] Jordan Harbinger: And don't forget to text Bob back, by the way.
[01:15:00] T-Pain: Yeah, I got to f*cking call Bob.
[01:15:04] Jordan Harbinger: Call Bob. I don't want Bob to linger.
[01:15:07] T-Pain: Absolutely, man, I really appreciate it, dude. This is great. This is kind of free therapy.
[01:15:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah, you know, I really enjoyed it.
[01:15:18] We've got a preview trailer of our interview with poker star, Annie Duke on how we can learn to make better decisions by thinking in bets, instead of trying so hard to be certain all the time.
[01:15:28] Annie Duke: The quality of your life is determined by the sum of two things, the quality of your decisions and luck. When something bad happens to us, we act as if skill wasn't involved at all. We just sort of pawn it off to the luck element. But when good things happen, we sort of ignore the luck element and we say that it was because of our great skill.
[01:15:48] A self-driving Uber just hit and killed a pedestrian. But what I thought was really interesting was that the reaction was to suspend the testing and just to take the cars off the road, not just the Uber cars, but other self-driving vehicles. And what I didn't see were any comparisons to how self-driving vehicle did per thousand miles traveled versus the technology that we already have on the road, which is cars that are driven by humans. We know that 6,000 pedestrians died per year by regular driven cars.
[01:16:24] Let's say that you're on the side of the road and you've got a flat tire. And of course, what everybody's thinking in that moment is, "I have the worst life ever. Like why do these things always happen to me? I'm so unlucky. I'm so miserable." What's really interesting to me about it is like you could have gotten a promotion, like the biggest promotion of your life three days before, and you're not standing on the side of the road going, "My life's great because I just got the biggest promotion I could ever imagine." So imagine that you had this flat tire a year ago, and now I'm asking you today, a year later, how much do you think that that flat tire would have affected your overall happiness over the year.
[01:17:05] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Annie Duke, including some common mistakes we make when evaluating decisions, check out episode 40 here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:17:14] Really a lot of unexpected twists in this conversation, you know, between 2011 and 2014, T-Pain told me he attempted suicide three times. You know, that hit hard because most people would assume that being a hip-hop superstar like T-Pain is just nonstop awesomeness. But you know, the depression kicked in that we talked about, and he mentioned that the most successful people that he knows are often the most depressed.
[01:17:36] We also talked a little bit after the show about being a sh*tty friend, candidly. He said every night during his performances, thousands of people are clamoring to be your friend. Everybody wants to talk to you. They're climbing for each other to touch your hand or something. But then once the show ends, the people you really want to hang out with, they don't want anything to do with you because you know, you'll let success go to your head or you're a bad person, or you're drunk all the time.
[01:17:57] And some of his depression was actually the people around him trying to control him. If you're familiar at all with like Dave Chappelle and some of these other guys that have just sort of bugged out from being famous. It later comes out often to the people around you who are always trying to milk you for something is bad for your mental health. Go figure. And it sounds like that's what happened here especially when you hear earlier in the show about how his manager was ripping him off on all these house sales and all this other kind of horrible stuff that should not be done to you by people who have a duty to help you succeed in business.
[01:18:31] Now, he mentioned that he makes more money on Twitch playing video games than he does in his regular music, which I think is amazing. It's just a testament to streaming as a platform. Imagine you're playing video games, all you're doing and you get paid as much or more than a lot of your music royalties. Now, of course, some of his hits and stuff, it's a different story, but really wild that you can even make money doing that. I guess that's what people think about podcasting too, which I agree. Weird way to make money. It's kind of a surprise. I don't want to question it too much.
[01:19:00] Speaking of money when T-Pain first started making it, I asked him offline if people started coming after him for money, and yeah his dad actually came after him for money. They had a major falling out and his dad, this is so awful. I wish we had included this in the show, but his dad said, "Give me $200,000 and you don't even need to acknowledge that I'm alive." So that obviously triggered some depression as well. He had to cancel his show after hearing that, because we think these people who are famous and rich, they just haven't made, but it's just a different set of problems. He's also dropped contact with his younger brother because he kept asking for money and then his younger brother passed away. So there's a lot of regret in there too.
[01:19:38] So this isn't just a look at how amazing I am kind of story. This is a guy with actual deep stuff going on here. And I think it's important to highlight all of that because we want to give a balanced view of fame and wealth and some of the baggage it comes with that stuff that maybe you don't really want. And maybe you're not really counting when you go for it and you're trying to make it in a creative pursuit or in any pursuit for that matter, business or otherwise.
[01:20:02] I asked him what he does now to help manage his mental health. And of course, he's got therapy and things like that, but he also leans on his wife a lot, especially early on when he wanted to give up. He said he told his wife on countless occasions that he didn't want to do this anymore. And he would text her and she would essentially talk him off the ledge, so to speak. And finally, I think it's pretty sort of cute and funny that there's a guy named Bob and Orlando taking tickets at Universal Studios or whatever. And he's like best friends with T-Pain and you know that basically nobody believes him, right? When he says anything. They just think he's this delusional old guy and that he is an imaginary friend or something like that. And I can just see them all like, "Oh yeah, Bob just hasn't been the same since his wife passed. He pretends he's on the phone and that he's friends with some rapper named T-Pain. Everyone just feels so bad for him. You know, why on earth, Bob? If you're going to pick an imaginary friend, why would you pick T-Pain? Why would you pick T-Pain? Poor old Bob." But good on T-Pain for shepherding Bob through a tough time, though, that really says a lot about somebody. And it says that he'd not only think about himself, that all of those mental health challenges and the stress that he was under, maybe it just made him a better person.
[01:21:04] Links to all things T-Pain including his podcast will be linked up in our show notes. Please use our website links if you buy books from guests. That always helps support the show. Worksheets for episodes are also in the show notes. Transcripts are in the show notes. And there's a video of this interview going up on our YouTube channel, jordanharbinger.com/youtube. We've also got our brand new clips channel. Cuts that don't make it to the show. Highlights from interviews you can't see anywhere else. jordanharbinger.com/clips is where you can find it. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram, or just hit me on LinkedIn.
[01:21:34] I'm also teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships, using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course. That course is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. And most of the guests you hear on the show, they subscribe to the course. They contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[01:21:54] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. So if you know somebody who's a T-Pain fan or is just interested in the behind the scenes of somebody who's this well-known, share this episode with them. Hopefully, you find something great in every episode of this show. Please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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