T-Pain has carved out an infamous career on autotune, embracing the vocal technique, and even lampooning it on "Saturday Night Live" and in self-referentials in his own tracks.

But maybe lately he's been a little sensitive about it. For one, he's apparently been hot and cold on Jay-Z and his first "Blueprint 3" rap "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" ("You n*ggas singin' too much/Get back to rap, you T-Painin' too much").

Too, last year, he was every rapper and singer's go-to guy for featured vocalist spots on big singles like Jamie Foxx's "Blame It" and Lil Wayne's "Got Money," plus he yielded a string of hits from his circus-themed album "Thr33 Ringz." This year, however, he's been scarcer on the charts (just check the Hot 100) and his next move has gotta move him out of the gimmick artist corral.

So for his first single in months, T-Pain has left his vocals in the raw for "Dope," without a lick of pitch-correction.

While "Ringz" had his touting the wonders of the Big Top, "Dope" leaves T-Pain as shrill as a car salesman. The beat is minimal and his voice is front-and-center, boasting what shiny things his role as autotune poster boy has afforded him. Still, it's that persistant uptick at the end of each verse ("Follow me!") that's grating. The endless verses of crazy-eyed rap-singing has been perfected by rhymers before him like Busta, and the pace has his raps sounding slow and short on new ideas.

Shawnna's high pitched voice is a good change of pace, but she's weighed down by the same structural pitfalls. It's the fuzzy, grinding, snapping beat that nearly saves this all. Otherwise, it looks like T-Pain is a one-note pony afterall.

What do you think of the new track?