Worst Thing Ever: ‘I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper)’
Matt McMahon | Tuesday, January 28, 2014
T-Pain produced his Top Ten, certified platinum single “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper)” in a mere two hours. This is pretty shocking, considering it sounds like the product took less than an hour of work to put together. Using only the GarageBand software from Apple — and his affinity for radio-penetrating earworms — the rapper and singer created the hit single, his third most popular to-date. The song combines, in my opinion, the worst elements of pop hip-hop and the non-confrontational, easy listening style of elevator music.
His use of a winding steel-string acoustic guitar to establish that perfect contemporary R&B sentimentality is so cheesy and unearned that it’s difficult for me to even get through the first five seconds of the song. Then the chiptune fluty synth line he lays over the top sounds like you’re listening to one of those non-copyrighted versions of a song on a music tab website. You know, the kind that avoids plagiarism by using a high-pitched wind instrument as the vocal melody in place of the actual vocals — actually, maybe that version of the song would be easier to listen to because you wouldn’t be subjected to T-Pain’s painful lyricism, but, don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a moment. The pervasive flute and guitar arrangement not only remains one of the most annoying, inorganic pieces of music ever to dominate radios and clubs and any other place people decide to listen to terrible music, but that it also gets stuck in your head makes it even more annoying for me to hear.
Not to mention the dually grating aspects of the vocals T-Pain lays down on the track. He uses vocal modification just for the sake of masking his own voice, but his delivery at the ends of all of his lines ends up intensifying the most irritating tendencies of his pronunciation. The autotune applied, even briefly, throughout the verses could easily be replaced by singing in a manner not so entirely flat and devoid of emotion. Then at the tail end of most, if not all, of the song’s phrases, he either weakly and lazily drops the final syllable or sustains it for far too long in this lip-curled snarly drawl.
Even T-Pain seems embarrassed by the ballad, putting the fact that his infatuation is with this stripper in parentheticals. It’s an afterthought; he’d much rather the listener only know, “I’m ‘n Luv” — with only two hours to make the song he couldn’t afford dedicating any of that time to properly spelling out “in” or “love.” So the “(Wit a Stipper)” looks like the typeface embodiment of his habit of trailing off at the end of a sentence. With his choice of song title T-Pain’s basically pronouncing “I’m IN LOVE…with a stripper.” If he really feels this strongly, he should own it: stalwartly declare that love by jumping up on stage with her and screaming it for everyone to hear, man. Also, if I were the stripper he’s in love with, I wouldn’t know how to feel based on his decisions in punctuation.
And don’t get me started on the rest of T-Pain’s songwriting on “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper).” It’s probably safe to assume that given the nature of the woman’s profession, T-Pain’s affection might be in some part physical. But, in composing an ode to his crush, T-Pain was presented an opportunity to expound upon her other qualities, possibly in personality or character or moments they’ve shared, that also might attract him to her. Instead, he spends five hundred words spewing out vague, superficial typicality. She’s hot, she’s thick, she does that thing with the pole— what sets her apart from all the other strippers he claims, “show me love,” huh? His description cannot possibly do this girl justice, after all sexuality and intimacy have been taken away. The lines come off as excruciatingly mechanical, and while he only focuses on the physicality of this stripper he loves so much, he cannot even convey that bit poetically. I hope this girl, the subject of the ballad, didn’t fall for such a lazy attempt at courtship; if she did, that would make the song even worse than the worst thing ever.