T-Pain turns the phrase “simpin’ ain’t easy” into a comical way of life on his new song “I’m Cool With That.” It’s for certain that the rappa-ternt-sanga is no stranger to assuming the simp role for some of his greatest hits – either as satire or inside jokes. But for his latest single and video, Teddy Pain revisits the pathos behind “I’m Sprung” and “I’m N Luv (Wit A Stripper),” which launched his career.
What’s new and refreshing here is that the song, a mid-tempo two-steppable tune with a simple guitar lick is actually a mellow turn for T-Pain, who usually relies on chimes, synths and big bass lines. His production on the track with light stuttering drums that only come in for the hook allows for more emphasis on his vocals, which are noticeably devoid of any significant Auto-Tune presence ( for all the haters who never watched his brilliant Tiny Desk acoustic performance) and float over the instrumentation.
Using a conversational style of singing for the verses, Pain plays the ultimate forgiving boyfriend, overlooking every red flag and sign of disrespect in favor of an “ass so fat.” Lyrics like, “You can leave me on read, just know that you wanted me to fall back / I’m not tryna text you and stress you, ’cause you don’t even need all that / Who is that dude? It’s cool / If he’s just a friend, obviously,” will leave you chuckling to yourself and shaking your head. The naïveté is intermittently challenged by moments of out-loud contemplation of why he puts up with such behavior until he quickly reminds himself once again of that “ass so fat.”
In the Veronica Xiana-directed visual, T-Pain delivers constant subtle comedy through facial expressions, physical gestures and using life-size sex dolls that he treats like real-life companions (even naming them in the video credits). This theme is carried over from the cover art for the single.
The return to form might ironically attract a new audience for T-Pain due to this more stripped-down sound that is boat-party ready but would fit in any season – especially cuffing. Furthermore, the controlled comedic timing displayed in the video begs the question of why we haven’t seen T-Pain break into the big or small screens yet in any major way. Perhaps he’s gearing up for that pivot? Either way, we’re cool with that.