T-Pain on Ghostwriting Country Songs and Usher’s Auto-Tune Criticism: “We’ve Been Fine”

T-Pain says he plans to continue to write country music songs as a ghostwriter.

The singer-songwriter-producer recently made headlines when he revealed that he stopped taking credit for the country songs he’s worked on because of the “racism” he dealt with in the genre.

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“I wrote a lot of country songs, and the country songs that I get credit on — I wouldn’t say backlash or anything like that — but [there] was a lot of criticism of, ‘Why did they let a Black person be a part of this?’ or things like that. It was just a lot of that stuff. So I kind of just backed off from putting my name on things and [I] just collect the money,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t need to be known for any of that. That’s fine.”

“I’m a ghostwriter [and] it’s just easier,” he continues. “Why not? I’m not in it for fame. I want to make sure my kids are straight [and] make sure their kids are good. I’ll be fine.”

T-Pain, who has two won Grammy Awards and is known for hits like “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” and “Bartender,” didn’t reveal which specific country songs he’s written, or the country artists he’s written for. But when he was asked if the world has heard the country songs he’s composed, he says: “Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.”

Aside from creating his own songs, T-Pain has also produced for Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Kehlani, Ciara and Akon. And though he is based in the R&B and hip-hop worlds, he has collaborated with acts like Taylor Swift, Steve Aoki, Wisin & Yandel, Lily Allen, the Lonely Island and Jesse McCartney.

When asked if he’s faced similar criticism in other genres outside of country music, he said: “No. Not at all. It’s pretty much country, but we know why. That’s how that works.”

T-Pain made the comments on Saturday at Michael Rubin’s Fanatics Super Bowl party at the Marquee Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, where he also performed onstage. T-Pain was supported by Travis Scott, who stood behind the DJ booth and sang along to “Buy U A Drank” and other T-Pain hits.

Scott also sang and danced alongside a concealed Justin Bieber, who wore a hoodie and cap. Hailey Bieber was also onstage while her husband’s hits blasted in the background, including “What Do You Mean?” and “No Sense,” Bieber’s 2015 collaboration with Scott.

The event was one of many pre-Super Bowl parties held days before Usher headlines the halftime show on Sunday. T-Pain says he and the R&B star are on good terms after revealing in the 2021 Netflix docuseries This Is Pop that Usher’s criticism of his use of Auto-Tune sent him into a depression.

When asked if they spoke, he says: “Oh yeah. All the time. We’ve talked a lot. I mean, we were talking during that documentary.”

He adds, “We never were not friends or anything like that. I’ve never said that I hated Usher or anything in that whole thing. We’ve been fine.”

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