T-Pain says he stopped writing music for country artists because of racism he’s experienced

T-Pain may be known for his hip-hop hits like “Buy U a Drank” but he’s dabbled in writing country music too. Unfortunately, his love for that genre has soured.

Even though the rapper has written songs for country musicians, he says he’s stopped taking credit for them because of the racism he’s experienced. In a TikTok the musician posted, he said that country music inspires a lot of his music. “Good music is good music,” T-Pain said. “I don’t give a f**k where it comes from or what style it comes in.”

“Country music is where I get all my harmonies, country and gospel music. That’s where all my harmonies come from,” the Grammy winner said. He acknowledged that some people feel “like it’s not cool to listen to other genres of music.” 

However, the artist said that his experience working in the country music industry was what drove him away from admitting he worked as a country music ghostwriter. He didn’t disclose which artists he ghostwrote for in the video.

“I done wrote a lot of country songs. Stopped taking credit for it because, as cool as it is to see your name in those credits and s**t like that, the racism that comes after it is just like, ‘I’ll just take the check,’” T-Pain said.

“‘Don’t put me on that s**t,’” the singer laughed. “‘I’ll just take the check, bro, never mind.’”

In a past episode of the radio show “The Breakfast Club,” the singer also shared that he writes “a lot of country music for huge country artists who would rather not have it known that I do this.”

He even lived in Nashville for two years while doing so. “I literally lived at the studio,” he said. “I parked my bus at the back of the studio, just lived on my bus at the studio and just went in there every day.”

Nashville was where he met artists like Taylor Swift, who he did a parody song with of her song “Love Story,” titled “Thug Story,” at the 2009 CMT Awards. That city was also where he met Luke Bryan, Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson. “I’ve written a lot of s**t for very important country artists,” T-Pain said.

T-Pain isn’t the only Black artist who has worked in country music; there is an influx of new Black country artists dominating the predominantly white and conservative genre. These popular artists range from the likes of Kane Brown, Allison Russell, Lil Nas X, Brittany Spencer, Joy Oladokun and Rhiannon Giddens, who are redefining what country music looks and sounds like.

However, it isn’t easy to be a Black artist doing country music because of today’s tense political climate when any topic or song can be fuel a culture war. Hit artists like Jason Aldean, Oliver Anthony and Morgan Wallen, along with their songs, are often held up by  conservative politicians weaponizing race and class to represent what they claim are American values.

Despite this constant push and pull, progress is still being made for Black artists in country. Thirty-five years after Tracy Chapman released her folk song “Fast Car,” it became a No. 1 hit — even though it took Luke Combs, a white country singer, covering it for it to achieve that feat. She recently received her flowers for the song at the Grammys during a duet between Chapman and Combs, bridging the disconnect between Black artists and country music.

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