T-Pain Did Not Get the Concept of "Royals"

Categories: WTF

Courtesy of RCA Records Press // Credit: Hannibal Matthews
T. Pain
For a song that's been turned inside-out by a variety of takes and unique approaches, "Royals" surprisingly hadn't been revamped in a way that had completely shifted its message. That is until Cher-inspired rapper T-Pain got a hold of Lorde's breakout hit and made the anti-consumption, broke kid anthem into a celebration of being wealthy, living in excess, and, well, basically everything in music Lorde's song warns us about.

See also: The Welcome Contradictions of Lorde

The song is as naturally hilarious as you would expect a T-Pain take on "Royals" to be. Any other type of cover of the song by him would be immediately invalidated by his own oeuvre and general brand. From swapping "and I'm not proud of my address" to "and I was so proud of my address" and that irresistibly catchy chorus to "Seems like yesterday we was drinking Crown Royal / We ain't really give a f**k / Now they try to hate on us / And I just party on my bus," it's all beyond ridiculous and excessive in its descriptions of excess and completely (purposely?) forgets why Lorde's "Royals" existed in the first place.

In an sit down with Interview magazine, Lorde explained where her desire to cook up a song like "Royals" came from. "Around the middle of last year I started listening to a lot of rap, like Nicki Minaj and Drake, as well as pop singers like Lana Del Rey," she said. "They all sing about such opulence, stuff that just didn't relate to me--or anyone that I knew.  I began thinking, 'How are we listening to this? It's completely irrelevant.'" Not seeing depictions true to her reality, she decided to report on it herself in a way that was as lush and shiny as what she was singing against. Her detraction absorbed the tropes so much that the insults she throws at very specific ideas of luxury were deemed racist for their association with our ideas of hip-hop.

See also: On Taylor Swift and T-Pain's "Thug Story"

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T-Pain OBVIOUSLY got the concept of Royals, because he completely flipped it.  "Now they try to hate on us / And I just party on my bus"... he knows who and what Lorde was criticizing, and he is responding.


I liked your article overall, and that's including the mistakes. Let's start with the fact that you characterized Miley Cyrus as having an infatuation with the type of music the T-Pain represents with this song. Unless you know her personally how can you make that type of biased assumption? Like Drake, maybe she did what she had to while she had to for a reason, just like her foray into hip-hop. Your choice of language implies that you have also judged the brand of music in question negatively and allowed it to effect your critical thinking. I think people loved the song for good reason, AND, there are times when you don't want to or can't be reminded of the truth. I would assume this to be true for strippers, drug dealers, gangsters, pimps, hoes, ratchets, thugs, and lots of these bogus rappers out currently. Consequently, this song was made for fans of T-Pain. It is a representation of who he is, which is equally relevant in a conversation about the state of music. Unless, as the title implies, you question T-Pains intelligence or comprehension of the original songs concept. Is it the dark skin or the dreadlocks or platinum teeth or the big nose or the baggy clothes or __________________?


Funny how she didn't mention Royals is an obvious rip of Paper Planes, just tempo slowed and dropped a key.

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