T-Pain on His Comeback: “I Had to Borrow Money to Get Burger King”

“I definitely had to run out of money first.”
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Every artist, no matter the stage of their career, has at least one good comeback story.

For T-Pain, the road to his newly-released comeback album, Oblivion, was paved by depression, a severe drinking problem, and having to borrow money for a Whopper from Burger King. (Comments appear around the 5:44 mark.)

Speaking with Gary Vaynerchuk on the AskGaryVee podcast, Pain detailed a four-year stint of drinking too much ("[I was] just sittin' at home, drinking myself to death"), and falling into a dark pit of his vices. How did Pain snap out of it and come back to the surface? His wife, who assured him that his music and his contributions to the genre were more valuable than ever.

Oh, and running out of money.

“I definitely had to run out of money first,” Teddy tells Vaynerchuk. “I had to borrow money to get Burger King. It got that bad. And I still had artists, and stuff. I was paying for photoshoots, and I was borrowing money to do all that.”

T-Pain’s story is not unique on the surface. Money comes and goes in this business, and with his juggling three managers—each getting twenty percent—it’s not surprising that his financials weren’t exactly in order. What is unique, however, is Pain’s optimism and jovial personality, how he is able to look back and laugh at himself and see a brighter future ahead of him.

As disheartening as it sounds, to be an artist is also to be a fighter, and the most beloved musicians are also the strongest in the ring. Whether the opponent is the label, the bottle, their family, or themselves, struggle may not be entirely necessary to make good music, but is certainly helps. As Vaynerchuk rightly adds, “Fans love that third chapter” from a career artist. Fans, at their core, want to see their artists win.

Unfortunately for Pain, he also wasn't getting paid for his work with Cash Money, for which he blames himself

Sometimes, you do have to lose it all to enter the next chapter of your career.

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