Nov. 11

Rappers, T-Pain’s got a message for you: Stop imitating his trademark robot-voice effect! At least that’s the sentiment of the blistering ”Karaoke,” a song from his upcoming third album in which the singer-rapper addresses fellow artists who ape his trademark use of Auto-Tune. ”If you’re a rapper and you use it,” he says, ”then don’t act like this is something you started.” Of course, T-Pain himself might be moving on. For the album’s most personal track, the emotional ”Keep Going,” he ditches Auto-Tune altogether in favor of his rarely heard natural voice. ”’Keep Going’ is basically the truth,” he says of the song, a tribute to his family. ”This is why I’m doing so much music — so my kids can just have a good life.” It’s been a little over a year since T-Pain’s last album, Epiphany (which spawned the hit single ”Buy U a Drank”), but the Tallahassee, Fla., native has hardly been out of the spotlight, thanks to prominent collaborations with seemingly every major recording artist, from Mariah Carey (”Migrate”) to Lil Wayne (”Got Money”). It’s understandable, then, that T-Pain (real name: Faheem Najm) sometimes feels like he’s at the center of the music universe. That idea extends to the circus-themed Thr33 Ringz, for which he enlisted the assistance of pals like Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown. Says T-Pain: ”I’m basically the ringleader.” Well, that certainly explains the top hat.