A performance of hit song “Buy U a Drank”. Jacob Striebeck/The Paisano

A performance of hit song “Buy U a Drank”. Jacob Striebeck/The Paisano

Auto-tuned melodies filled the concert venue Friday night at Fiesta Texas as students packed in the theme park by the hundreds for Howdy Rowdy Bash. This exclusive event hosted by Roadrunner Productions offered UTSA students open access to the grounds of Fiesta Texas including roller coaster rides and access to the varieties of entertainment. The headlining for this event was a free concert performance by T-Pain, a Grammy award-winning rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer.

Hip-hop hero T-Pain is a household name and cultural icon with an important influence on pop culture and music. In the late 2000s, the world could hear his iconic auto-tune everywhere: on your favorite summer radio station, your best friend’s Myspace page and at every club and dance floor in existence. Only a decade ago, music lovers across the world were belting the chorus to ’Buy U a Drank’ (Shawty Snappin’), ‘Bartender,’ ‘I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper),’ and so many more hits and singles by the auto-tune icon. His impact on the genre of Hip-Hop is evident with a history of collaborations with some of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time. Needless to say, students were excited watch T-Pain perform. Nostalgia-fueled millennials, hip-hop enthusiasts, and fans of roller coasters filled the concert venue for this magical night.

The UTSA Spirit of San Antonio (SOSA) Marching Band and Cheerleading squad kicked the concert off with horns and cheers blasting and boasting school pride in celebratory fashion. These preliminary performances got the student body rowdy and ready, and chants for T-Pain began erupting throughout the venue.

When T-Pain emerged onstage, it was a moment of glory. Students united in screams and shouts while rejoicing in excitement at the sight of the legendary T-Pain. He came out with an energy matching his vibrant blue tie-dye shirt, and he broke out elegant footwork throughout his performance in tight capri jeans and custom Nikes. His watch appeared to be worth more than a year’s worth of tuition at UTSA, and his funky sunglasses glowed in the marvelous stage light. His glorious braids swung around as he danced on stage and delivered flow after flow, melody after melody.

Beams of blue and purple, drapes of black and red, green screens and various graphics flooded the stage with color. T-Pain blended with the lights and stage, and each song had a matching on-stage graphic or coloring scheme.

Each note of auto-tune lit the atmosphere brighter than the brilliant stage lighting. DJ Montay worked the beats and brought the energy centerstage while T-Pain ran around breaking out dance moves and belting melodies. He played his popular, older songs. He played his new songs. He played covers of multiple songs from various genres, including Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me,’ Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ and Gavin Degraw’s ‘I Don’t Want To Be.’
His vocal versatility was showcased as he sang slow songs, rapped fast songs, and did what legends do.

T-Pain interacted with the students continuously throughout the show. He addressed the crowd as “b***s” multiple times in the most endearing and respectful tone that only T-Pain can pull off. At one point, he made the whole crowd do jumping jacks. He entertained the audience with stories of side hoes and complaints of Texas heat, and he used his braids to wipe sweat off his forehead, a serious power-move by T-Pain.

He finished off the night with a performance of ‘All I Do Is Win.’ Hands went up as T-Pain bounced around on-stage while waving at the crowd and swinging his braids. Everybody was on their feet waving their hands to the sky while T-Pain set Fiesta Texas ablaze with energy. The ultimate finale for the ultimate performance.

T-Pain thanked the crowd, and the crowd thanked him back with chants of love and enjoyment. As he left the stage, T-Pain said some words of encouragement: “Live life to the fullest.” The Howdy Rowdy Bash is proof in the pudding. Roadrunners celebrate to the fullest, and T-Pain’s lessons and influences live on.

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