I think my life would be a lot better if I had someone to "feature." I mean, take a listen to top 40 radio, and most songs have an artist featuring someone else. Eminem featuring Rihanna, Rihanna featuring Drake, Drake featuring Lil Wayne. It's not a duet exactly, more like a sidekick.
I often compare my life to Hip-hop music, and I've decided I need someone to be my sidekick. Given my choice of artists, my first choice is T-Pain. This popular fellow has "sung" his way into nearly every song released in the past three years, letting his studio magic take auto-tune from little-known studio technology to the top of the charts repeatedly. Voice altering technology was developed to help artists hit the perfect pitch more consistently, and of course many artists are vehemently against this kind of assistance. T-Pain, on the other hand, has embraced auto-tune in a bear hug. When he sings, it sounds like an astronaut with a synthesizer instead of vocal chords. The effect is completely unnatural, but somehow enchanting. He had me at "I'm in Love with a Stripper"--a song about etiquette at the Gentlemen's Club.
But the rap song that is my life wouldn't be complete without a visit from Pitbull, the Miami boy. I first became acquainted with Pitbull because of his popularity in Cambodia. The subsequent Khmer cover version of his song "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" became the soundtrack of my stay in Cambodia, and the song taught me how to count in Khmer. My favorite thing about Pitbull is the sound he makes before every rap verse. It's a Latin tongue roll that always signals his arrival.
Because the world is good, Pitbull and T-Pain have teamed up for "Hey Baby (Drop it to the Floor)"--a song unapologetically focused on the goings-on at the local club. T-Pain and Pitbull do not disappoint me in this jam, as they explore the outter limits of the characteristics I described above. Pitbull is whirling his tongue before every verse, and T-Pain is playing his vocal chords like a baby grand.
If I had T-Pain and Pitbull to accompany me throughout the day, I believe I would be much more popular. My mundane phrases at work--would you like a sample, that'll be $20, and have a Merry Christmas--would be transformed into auto-tuned, tongue-rolled blasts of genius. I would be more fun at my crochet group, and I could order coffee with memorable flare. And besides, featuring at least one other person really takes the pressure off. If I biff the sentence, I know T-Pain is going to auto-tune me back to right, and Pitbull will translate the corrected version into Spanish.
This is the break I've been looking for. La la la la la la la la. If you don't listen to the radio, start--or go to youtube. I want you to imagine this entire post as performed by T-Pain and Pitbull.