Written by Lacy Atkins, CNN
T-Pain is a 26-year-old superstar rapper who’s been rapping for a decade now. The next time you turn on a rap station, you can almost always find him spitting away.
Thanks to his platinum-selling hit record, “Bounce It,” as well as tracks like “Back That Azz Up” and “Whip It,” T-Pain is one of the most popular rappers in the country.
He’s released five albums to date and recently released an autobiography, “Scrubber, Scrapbooker, Grinder,” which touches on his troubled childhood in a Miami suburb and what it was like being a teen rapper with a high IQ.
The rapper chatted with CNN as he was promoting his new book.
CNN: Why did you want to write this book?
T-Pain: I wanted to write this book for three reasons: to chronicle my life, to give my fans a better understanding of who I am; and to pay tribute to the people that have supported me over the years. If you listen to hip-hop in the 90s, we’ve aged like church mice and are no longer telling our story.
This book provides a good representation of who I am and the chapters give plenty of insight on what it’s like being a teenager and coming up in the rap game.
Why is it important to give credit to the people you’ve collaborated with in the past?
When you look at Kendrick Lamar, he had his own album with Chief Keef and he went on to have the biggest album in the world. What else do you need to know about him? I only put together my accomplishments alongside these three individuals.
So, what did you learn from your experiences as a teen and a teenager?
I think my biggest lesson was to embrace my musical legacy. I think that we had to eventually embrace the fact that I’m one of the most commercially successful rappers of all time, but it’s great to be reminded that I’m making it rain on the R&B community, having people fight for my music.
That’s going to be lost on a lot of teenagers who see themselves as rap stars, but see me with R&B artists and make the mistake of comparing themselves to me. This book gives them a chance to understand who I really am and where I came from.
By showing people the background, I hope that they see I made a serious commitment to understanding myself and to understand music and hopefully my legacy.
Is there a gap in hip-hop between the various genres?
Nah. For people that argue that we are in a lot of ‘shifts’ right now, I have to say that there is always a different way to look at everything. Whether it be old school or new school, there are always new and old ways of seeing things.
My point is that hip-hop is diverse and at no point did we forget the past and we are always able to acknowledge the past and build upon it.
T-Pain will be hosting and performing a special rewind of one of his and Keef’s most popular songs, “Bounce It” at a show in Vancouver on December 16.