I'm Sprung

Album: Rappa Ternt Sanga (2005)
Charted: 30 8
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Songfacts®:

  • "I'm Sprung," T-Pain's first single as a solo artist, is the song that started the Auto-Tune revolution in hip-hop. The software was introduced in 1997 to correct pitch on vocals, but it could also be used as an effect, creating a robotic sound similar to a Vocoder. The first hit song to use it for this purpose was "Believe" by Cher in 1999, but for years after, the sound was considered a novelty. T-Pain, though, figured out how to integrate it into hip-hop as part of a sound somewhere between rapping and singing, which was pretty radical. It didn't come easy: It took him about a year to figure out what kind of software created the effect (Auto-Tune was an industry secret) and another year to figure out how to use it properly. "I really studied this s--t," he said. "I know why it catches certain notes and why it doesn't catch certain notes."

    Reaction was mixed, but there was no doubt T-Pain created something new. Other rappers - Flo Rida, Rick Ross, Kanye West among them - wanted in, and hired him to produce and/or guest on their tracks, bringing along his signature sound. By 2007, when he released his second album, Epiphany, the sound was red-hot, and that album went to #1. The following year, when Kanye West released his Auto-Tune-drenched album 808s And Heartbreak, it was clear this was more than a passing trend.
  • In this song, T-Pain is hooked on a girl and finds himself doing things he never thought he'd do, like the dishes. But she's a drag on his lifestyle - he wants to hang with his boys and have other girls - so they break up. Big mistake: He's lonely and wants her back.
  • To be "sprung" is to be really into someone, to the point where you have a hard time thinking about anything else. The term as been around for a while: An early use is in Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" from 1992:

    When a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
    And a round thing in your face
    You get sprung


    T-Pain says he got the idea for the title from the 1997 movie Sprung, starring Tisha Campbell.
  • T-Pain really was "sprung" - he married Amber Najm two years earlier when he was 18. He has dedicated the song to her; they have three children together.
  • The video shows T-Pain playing a kalimba - also known as a thumb piano - to create what sounds like a harp. The instrument was popularized in Western music by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, who often used it with the group, notably on "Kalimba Story." T-Pain most likely used a synthesizer to replicate the instrument.
  • T-Pain was signed to Akon's label, Konvict Muzik (Akon's brother turned him on to T-Pain). Akon also shows up in the video, where T-Pain decides to stay home with his girl instead of hanging out with his buddies.
  • On the Netflix series This Is Pop, T-Pain said: "Every time anyone heard 'I'm Sprung,' they always said, 'This dude is doing something really different.' But then on the other hand, also saying, 'I'm pretty sure he's only going to be able to do this for one song. This is going to be fun exactly once.' But it's still going."

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