There are a lot of things to love about Starlito’s newest tape (like the realest relationship-rap song in recent memory), but one reference in particular caught my attention on first listen.
Starlio – I Get Tired
The Game – My Life (feat. Lil’ Wayne)
When “My Life” came out it quickly became my go-to Exhibit A for defending auto-tune to all those mid ’00s haters who still took their rap cues from Jay-Z and hungrily grasped at any opportunity to dismiss an innovation or new direction in rap. I liked T-Pain a lot too but that was a hopeless position to take toward anyone who I’d be having this debate with, but Wayne’s auto-tune use was harder to dismiss, especially on such an emotionally deep and vulnerable song. Cher (or, more accurately, one of Cher’s producers) introduced it to the world, T-Pain built an entire style on it and made it a household name, but I think Wayne deserves a lot of credit for paving the way for a less-gimmicky and more expressive use of the infamous Auto-Tune. It’s his work that set the stage for Future, Chief Keef, and Young Thug to make some of the most interesting emotionally powerful music of the past decade, and I think “My Life” is a prime and often overlooked example of this. This reaches beyond rap too, if Wayne hadn’t taken Auto-Tune’s use as an expressive tool to the next level and it had simply out of fashion when T-Pain did, would Bon Iver have made “Woods“? Doubtful.