T-Pain Busy With Production, Label, Touring

T-Pain Busy With Production, Label, Touring

It's shaping to be a very 2008 for T-Pain. The rapper tells Billboard he will continue supporting his Jive album, "Epiphany," while writing and producing for other artists and developing the acts signed to his label, Nappy Boy, which has various major-label partners.

Of his Nappy Boy artists, he's particularly excited about a group called Girlfriend, which he expects will have a single out early next year, via Nappy Boy/Atlantic.

Expect Nappy Boy to launch as a digital label early in January. Two other label acts will be rapper Tay Dizm, whose album will arrive in March, and T-Pain's original rap group, the Nappy Headz.

"Nappy Boy is T-Pain's brand and umbrella label," manager Michael Blumstein says. "The label will be a full-fledged indie label with PR, promo and everything else a physical label has, but will never go physical. You'll never see any albums in retail stores."

Meanwhile, T-Pain's own work will be everywhere in the coming months. On the branding side, he's working with eyewear maker Oakley to develop a signature line of T-Pain "Oil Can" frames. Musically, he's produced at least four songs, Blumstein says, on Usher's spring album, including possible first single "At the Time," and is featured on upcoming songs from Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson and Rick Ross. He's also co-producing Omarion's next project with Timbaland.

 
While the rapper obviously loves work, he's less fond of his time on the road. "I don't really like tours," he says. "It's too demanding. You got tour rules. You can't be you and they stop you from doing stuff and you can't do what you want to do onstage."

Still, Blumstein says T-Pain is "99%" confirmed for Kanye West's Glow in the Dark tour, which is slated to begin in late February/March 2008. And, T-Pain plans to tour on his own after releasing his next album, its title still to be determined, in summer 2009.

Plans are even loosely being discussed for T-Pain to eventually ditch physical releases entirely. "Pain's got to fulfill another three albums for Jive, say five or six years," Blumfield says. "But once he fulfills that, he'll release records through Nappy Boy Entertainment. By then there'll be no physical stores outside of larger chains."

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