Bring in Lil Wayne & T-Pain’s “T-Wayne," Rap History's Lost Page Is Taped Back In Place

Bring in Lil Wayne & T-Pain’s “T-Wayne," Rap History's Lost Page Is Taped Back In Place
(This post also appears original on hotnewhiphop)
The announcement of a project is far from a guarantee. This is an unfortunate reality accepted by rap fans, and one even more familiar to the followers of Lil Wayne. Despite being one of the genre’s most prolific voices with dozens of full-length releases to his name, Wayne still has a number of mix tapes and album concepts that have either been swept under the rug, left stranded on a hard drive, or barred from release (DEVOL, I Can’t Feel My Face, and Like Father, Like Son 2 are just a few that come to mind).

In fact, over the last two years, the New Orleans rapper’s career has been defined by a dispute with his label, leaving Tha Carter V, his long-awaited and very much complete swansong in limbo. With a legal battle and media play-by-play taking over Wayne’s narrative, Weezy’s many other loose ends were gradually forgotten. So when T-Wayne, the rapper’s doomed collaboration with Florida R&B singer and auto-tune pioneer T-Pain arrived on SoundCloud a good 9 years after its announcement, no one saw it coming.

Really, there was no reason for anyone to believe the project existed in the first place. In an interview with Rap-Up in 2011, T-Pain seemed pretty convinced that the album would never come to fruition. According to the singer, it was Wayne’s incarceration in 2010 that put the final nail in the coffin.

“When he got into his little trouble. That was like right at the peak of when we was like, ‘Ok, let’s go, let’s do this now.’ He finally had time… and he went to jail,” he revealed. “Hey, things happen, and I’m pretty sure he’s over the whole idea right now. So I don’t even be bringing up to him no more,” he said, laughing off the disappointment. “I’d make a T-Wayne album any day. I have no problem with that. That’ll never be something I’m not interested in.” 

Plans for a T-Pain and Lil Wayne supergroup were first announced by Wayne in a 2008 interview with MTV. "We both have the same energy," Wayne said of his natural chemistry with Pain, who he would later take on his I Am Music tour in support of Tha Carter III (at which T-Wayne t-shirts would be healthily stocked). "I don't sleep. If you ask anybody, I don't sleep… He don't sleep.

I play all day. He plays all day and all night. The connection is crazy. He loves to be creative, he loves to work; I love to create, I love to work.”

The two did work on music over the course of 2009, much of which was unfortunately dispersed across multiple unofficial mixtapes. Anyone who followed Wayne’s output in the late aughts will remember just how much of his material was released without his consent, often in unfinished form and plastered with some now iconic DJ tags (“Damn, son, where’d you find this?” was as quotable as it was applicable to the curiously stolen material).
Quite a few of those collaborations are now present on the T-Wayne project T-Pain has released nearly a decade late. While they will certainly be new to many fans, Wayne and Pain completists will know them quite well, making the collection a little less exciting than it may have immediately seemed.

At the same time, it makes sense considering Pain’s previous insinuation that the project was never really completed. While familiar, the songs sound shiny and clean compared to their mixtape predecessors.

Conceptually, T-Wayne is not your average supergroup. Collaborative albums like Watch The Throne or What A Time To Be Alive find their respective duos combining their greatest strengths and forming like Voltron. T-Wayne, on the other hand, is about Wayne and Pain trading roles and challenging their regular dynamic. In 2008, both vocalists were arguably the hottest artists in their respective lanes. An album with immense, radio-ready T-Pain hooks and top-tier Wayne bars was exactly what fans wanted to hear. However, that’s not exactly how it was envisioned.
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