T-Pain’s Stoicville and Hidden Pain

William Lou
November 11, 2014
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

"Stoicville is a city in my mind that I created. It's basically like my happy place. I created it after I found out that my son is autistic. When [autistic people] get frustrated, they cover their ears and close their eyes, and they go to this place. I figured that maybe I need to try that—I get frustrated a lot."

If you told me before listening to Stoicville that the artist behind singles such as “I’m Sprung,” “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper),” and “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” would put out one of the most emotionally charged songs of 2014, I would have laughed in your face. On Nov. 6, T-Pain released the title track single off of his upcoming album Stoicville: The Phoenix. The lyrics progress through his life as the struggles of his childhood, the remembrance of people who doubted him, the façade they portray in stating they believed in him all along, and the anger towards people trying to use his fame and money for handouts are all parts of the release. No auto-tune here. No semblance of an underlying beat until over two minutes in. No chorus or repeated lines. Faheem Najm bares his soul on a rhythmic rant expressing every emotion bottled up under the veil of his created image.

It is not that other artists do not express their emotions. Some have made a career singing, saying, or manipulating emotion. The power of “Stoicville” comes from it being a completely unfiltered perspective and emotional state over the course of an entire lifespan from someone you never expected it from. This is what concerns me the most.

It is incredibly easy to not understand the perspective of others. It is even easier when you only ever get to see a single side of them. To join in the witch-hunt against overly auto-tuned music taking influence from T-Pain while praising Kanye’s usage on albums such as 808s and Heartbreak was a simple, logical, and almost honourable thing to do. To consider how insulting this would be and to consider any other issues not made public on the private sides of their personality and psyche was never done.

With lyrics such as, “It’s a cold world, ask my old girl, she feel my pain and I ain’t even trying to make it hurt,” and “Now suicide looking better than hitting the lick, cause the whole time they knew that I was living out my whip, but now I see ‘em and I can’t even take it,” these are not new themes in music or art by any means. The real tragedy is that it took until this year for anything to be said or for anyone to realize.

I remember friends and barely known strangers revealing intimate details about themselves, and the same emotions of surprise and compassion coming up each time. I can only remember worry and concern in advance for a few. The barriers that people put up for any reason can be beneficial, but often leads to a lack of perspective when we think nothing could possibly be wrong – they would have said something otherwise, right?

The emotions of people and psychology in general are complex subjects that tend to be broken down into stereotypes, archetypes, or heuristics. I cannot recommend that you completely break these parts of your thinking down as that is simply impossible to realistically do. Whether they are T-Pain, a celebrity, someone you know personally, or yourself, I simply encourage you to consider that people might be more multidimensional and have more going on in their thinking or way of life than you have seen or give them credit for.

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