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

Categories: WTF

Yet, what's interesting about the arguments presented about the racism of Lorde's "Royals" is the disregard of how widely consumed and deeply embedded hip-hop has become in the mainstream. Those tropes can be seen throughout most of Top 40 music, and even the musical aesthetic has been appropriated by numerous artists.

Just last year, both Katy Perry and Lady Gaga dabbled in trap beats for their albums and Miley Cyrus' own infatuation with the genre became one of the most highly publicized and controversial entertainment stories of this past summer and fall. Even Lorde has cited the very artists she found irrelevant to her lifestyle as inspirations and favorites. So for a teenage New Zealander looking at American culture and music from afar, those lines between racially coded hip-hop culture and the pop mainstream have been blurred. In fact, they create a new hegemony and mode to oppose.

In a way, T-Pain kind of comes in like a cultural dinosaur, covering the music of a kid who is probably LOL-ing at his entire steez. It's like the Rolling Stones testing out punk in the late-70s -- still entirely dissociated but a lot less successful. Maybe our ability to laugh at the "Royals" reversal is the sign of an anti-luxury shift and a return to the early incarnations of hip-hop less focused on listing a bunch of things an artist owns, in a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" kind of way. Or maybe T-Pain would have better luck sticking to his original stuff instead of covering a song he is clearly the wrong audience for.

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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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