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Interview:
T-Pain's Turning Out The Hits
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

They're not exactly sidekicks, but rappers Lil Wayne and T-Pain have developed a winning affinity with each other.

T-Pain (Faheem Rasheed Najm) was a featured guest on the Lil Wayne hit "Got Money," which has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Lil Wayne (real name Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.) returned the favor for the first single from T-Pain's new album, "Three Ringz;" "Can't Believe It" hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, was a Most Played Video on BET and has sold nearly 2.5 million digital and mobile copies.

"We're not the same person, but we like a lot of the same stuff and have the same interests," T-Pain, who's racked up three more Grammy nominations for other guest appearances, says of his relationship with Lil Wayne. "I figure it's not really that hard to put us together, and once we get on tour together...it's that much more of a click."

Lil Wayne, of course, is the headliner of the I Am Music Tour, but T-Pain holds his own, too.

The Florida-born MC has been scoring hits since his debut album, "Rappa Ternt Sanga," came out, and he's been a go-to guest on hits for Chris Brown, Kanye West, Flo Rida, Akon, R. Kelly and many more. He recently did some work with Michael Jackson, though he's not sure what will eventually see the light of day.

"Thr33 Ringz," meanwhile, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart and at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums poll. "Freeze," its third single -- with Brown guesting -- has made its way into the Top 40.

"I think I'm doing pretty good, man," says T-Pain, 23, who's planning his own headlining tour in 2000. I'm just pretty much going at it...as hard as it needs to go.

"I mean, everything is surprising, especially for me. I didn't expect any of this at all. I didn't think I was gonna make it past my first album the way things were going, but I'm on my way to number four now, which is pretty cool."



The I Am Music Tour, with Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Keyshia Cole, Gym Class Heroes and Keri Hilson, plays at 7 p.m. Friday (Dec. 26) at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Drive, Detroit. Tickets are $79.75, $59.75 and $39.75. Call (313) 471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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