USF prepares to drop ‘low’ for T-Pain

T-Pain will give a special homecoming performance for students and community members, marking his return to USF since his last appearance in 2007. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Homecoming Week will have a special treat for fans of R&B, hip-hop and rap as artist of famous songs “Buy U a Drank” and “Low” T-Pain will headline this year’s concert — 14 years after his first appearance on campus.

T-Pain will be performing Thursday at Lot 35, located across the street from Maple Hall on Genshaft Drive, starting at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7 p.m. 

Tickets went on sale Oct. 28 and are available until Thursday at 7 p.m. on Universe. As of Oct. 29, 781 tickets had been sold.

Students can purchase tickets for $10 and they can bring one guest for $15. Staff, faculty and alumni tickets are $20 while community members, who are not affiliated with the university, have to pay $25, according to Student Programs Coordinator Isabelle Arroyo-Acevedo. 

For the concert, $110,000 was allotted for entertainment. Production and the venue each had $20,000, and marketing, supplies and food each got $1,000. The final payment to T-Pain can’t be shared until the contract is fully executed, according to Arroyo-Acevedo. 

The rapper, singer and record producer reached commercial success in 2008 after the release of his third album “Three Ringz,” which had numerous hit singles such as “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’),” “Bartender,” “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper),” “5 O’Clock” and “Can’t Believe It.” 

Throughout his career, T-Pain won two Grammys, one with Kanye West for “Good Life” in 2007 and the second with Jamie Foxx for “Blame It” in 2009. He popularized the use of Auto-tune in music and has been featured in over 50 chart-topping singles. 

While his stage name is T-Pain, his real name is Faheem Rasheed Najm. The stage name is a nod to his hometown, according to a 2019 interview with the Tallahassee Democrat. The “T” is for Tallahassee and the “Pain” stands for the pain of the hardships he faced there. 

About 3,000 to 4,000 students are expected to attend the concert, although Lot 35 could hold up to 10,000 people, according to Arroyo Acevedo. She said attendees are encouraged to follow USF’s COVID-19 safety guidelines at the event. 

“For the full week, we’re encouraging mask usage and encouraging people to get vaccinated and get their boosters. That’s really what we’ve been encouraging and we’re going to continue to promote,” said Arroyo-Acevedo.

Arroyo-Acevedo said when selecting an artist to perform, Campus Activities Board (CAB) worked with an agent who provided a list of artists who want to perform at colleges and are within the department’s budget. 

Students were able to vote on which artist they wanted to see through a survey created by CAB. The results influenced the decision, but the budget was also a big factor, according to Arroyo-Acevedo. 

T-Pain was the third-most voted in the survey, according to Arroyo-Acevedo. The increasing prices of the first and second-ranked artists — Lil Nas X and A Boogie wit Da Hoodie — ultimately made the decision. 

“The first and second choice’s budgets or fees essentially had increased,” said Arroyo-Acevedo. 

“I would say one increased about $110,000, which is double what our budget is and then … the second option’s budget increased by about $80,000.”

While T-Pain was not the first choice in the survey, Arroyo-Acevedo said she still expects students to enjoy the show.

“That’s really why we did bring our third choice, mostly because we have to be able to afford them, [but] because they are our third choice we know students will be excited about it, which is what influenced that decision [too],” she said.