Remember T-Pain? Yeah, of course you do. The guy is one of the most successful and ubiquitous pop hitmakers of the ‘00s. "I'm 'n Luv (Wit a Stripper).” "Can't Believe It.” “Best Love Song.” “Five O’Clock.” Hit after hit after hit. And that’s not even to mention all the other artists who scored hits by collaborating with T-Pain. But the biggest hit of the man’s heyday was “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin').” Play that song at any party today and everyone’s still going to pack the dance floor.
After the success of his debut album, Rappa Ternt Sanga, T-Pain followed up in a big way with 2007’s Epiphany. Crazy to think it’s been more than 10 years since then. But back in 2007, we reached a state of peak T-Pain.
The lead single from Epiphany became the biggest hit of T-Pain’s career. In May 2007, "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" surpassed the success of "I'm 'n Luv (Wit a Stripper)” to become T-Pain’s first No. 1 hit. Hands down one of the greatest bangers of the ‘00s.
But T-Pain has mixed feelings had mixed feelings early on about the song’s composition. He said, “I was going into the studio consciously like, 'What do people like talking about? They like drinking and they like drinking with girls. What do you say to a girl to get her a drink?'”
“I really went down the list,” Pain said. “That was the first time I had ever done that. I didn't like doing that, because that's not really making music to me – that's making hit songs to get some money real quick."
Where you’ve been singing “OOOH WEEE,” you were supposed to be singing “AND THEN.” According to T-Pain, “It’s ‘and then’ not ‘ooh wee’ but really it’s whatever you want it to be just enjoy the song however you hear it. I just appreciate you listening.”
Understandably, the collective mind of the internet has been blown by this news. All over the planet, people are relistening to “Buy U a Drank” and realizing how they’ve been wrong. And the craziest thing is how, now that you know, you can’t unhear the correct lyrics.
Years later, T-Pain found a new artistic approach to “Buy U a Drank.” In 2014, NPR asked T-Pain to perform a stripped-down, “unplugged” version for a small in-studio audience. But what would he sound like without that signature Auto-Tune?
Tiny Desk Concert
For NPR, Pain sang “Drank” accompanied only by an understated keyboard. And without his signature Auto-Tune, Pain proved he really can sing. It became the most popular video in NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert” series, solidifying the song’s enduring appeal.
Here’s the original music video for “Buy U a Drank.” Even though you’ve heard it a million times, try to listen with fresh ears. Does it blow your mind now that you know the real lyrics?