Each Tuesday, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated recent release he thinks we need to know about. This week it’s T-Pain's "I'm Sprung” 12-inch. Watch the video and read Schnipper’s thoughts on it after the jump.
T-Pain only uses Auto-tune on half of this song, and when it came out in 2005, it still sounded like it was from space. That year, the year I graduated college, I spent a lot of Fridays (or maybe Saturdays, I don’t remember), at Singapore Bistro, where Dave Nada and Tittsworth hosted a DJ night called Krunk. Singapore Bistro is at 19th and M, not far from the White House or the non-profit and think-tank bustle of K Street, not far from the Farragut North metro station, where many suburban commuters found themselves filing in and out of mornings and afternoons. I spent my first two years living in DC not far from there, in a dorm, and on the weekends it was empty. I lived across from a World Bank building and the only people I ever saw on those blocks were weekend workers and homeless people. It wasn’t like a ghost town—that seems to imply a dying out—so much as an unvisited, boring marble monument. When I finally moved out of that area to a beautiful, cobblestone-sidewalked, one-block-long street, it felt grim to go back there for any other reason than just passing through. So when I went to Krunk, I must have really wanted to go out.
This song starts sweet, Got me doing the dishes/ Anything she want for some kisses, but then T-Pain wanders off into the mind garden of his boner and sees some other girls and also his friends, because he just wants to chill. I mean, fair enough. He likes to have a good time. I can’t remember if Dave Nada or Tittsworth played this song back then, probably not, but I like to imagine it fitting in. I’ve been thinking about old T-Pain because it sounds so old. Going to Krunk at 19th and M sounds like ancient times. Started thinking about this girl I had classes with, SV. She was so smart. We had one professor we both liked, took her Post-Colonial Women's Literature classes. I don’t know how to describe myself in college. I will try honestly. I was a dork, for sure, but compared to all of the other kids in the class who were either 1. Wildly dorky or 2. Total post-jock lunkheads or 3. Girls with a lot of Juicy Couture or 4. Really way smarter than me and just making me feel embarrassed but also that smart and completely lacking in any sort of social skills, I ended up seeming, ultimately not that weird. So we’d talk in class and I’d make some oblique point and reference pop culture and she’d talk about Southeast Asian GDPs and obscure laws about property rights and Aborigine definitions of work on censuses and somewhere along the way we began to tangle our thoughts regularly and easily. We started having awkward lunch after class a few times, and finally one weekend we had dinner and went to Krunk. I remember she was wearing a very long skirt. We danced, it was fun. Newly 21, we both drank and I did not think much of it until the end of the night when I walked her home because she was drunk and so was I. I realized we were on a date. I did not plan that. I wasn’t against it, either, but I just was surprised and confused. I don’t remember how sketchy or not where she lived was, but I made sure she got there unharmed and then said goodnight and went home. Okay, maybe I realized it was a date later. Maybe not for a long time after. Or maybe I knew it was before I saw her that night. Either way, nothing happened. I think we continued to eat the occasional lunch after class and talk in easy circles, but we never went out again and nothing ever happened. We did not keep in touch and I don’t know the last time we saw each other.
I’m not sure, four years too late, what has brought her to my mind. Sam, my old roommate’s younger sister, and I were talking about her next three years of college, and I said that I have been out of school longer than I was in it. That’s not massive, but it’s not tiny. When will I get over college? I looked up SV on the internet, and she is getting her master’s degree at Oxford.
Around the last time we saw each other must have been the only time I ever met the artist Dash Snow, who died of an overdose yesterday, which is such a waste and so unnecessary. I was visiting New York just after college ended, probably interviewing for a job I did not get, and walking around SoHo with my friend Simon, who knew Snow. I knew who he was but I didn’t mention it. I was introduced and they talked about a Silver Apples record he wanted to buy from Simon. I never realized Snow was so young, just a year older than me, and that’s just part of what makes his death so profoundly sad to me. I think about Harold Hunter, who ran in vaguely the same circle and whose death three years ago was also drug-related, and then I think of the talented people I spent some time with recently who also do a lot of drugs and it bums me out. I was in a bar on Sunday night with some really drunk people and I thought about my mom and how even that would bum her out. But we are all different people. I’m proud that girl is going to Oxford. Who knows where she came from.