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T-Pain is working on GTA 6, so Rockstar banned him from roleplay servers

‘I was having a good time!’

Singer T-Pain performs in an orange shirt and hat and sunglasses at JuicyFest 2024 in Perth, Australia Photo: Matt Jelonek/Getty Images
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

T-Pain is annoyed. The singer, songwriter, and producer, most famous for featuring on Flo Rida’s smash hit Low, has revealed that he’s landed a gig working on the biggest video game in development right now: Grand Theft Auto 6, due out in 2025. Good news, you might think, but it’s earned him a ban from one of his favorite leisure pastimes, which is playing on GTA 5 roleplay servers.

In a clip circulated on social media, T-Pain responded on stream to a question from a fan about why he hasn’t been seen on the NoPixel server lately. “How about this shit?” he said. “I used to be on NoPixel, and then I started working on the fucking, on GTA 6, and they told me I couldn’t do RP any more because it kind of goes against... They had this whole speech, like, ‘What if somebody took your album and re-recorded it, and more people were listening to that?’

“Then I’m like, OK, I kind of get that, but I was having a good time! All right, that’s fine.”

GTA roleplay servers are variants of GTA Online where players fully commit to whatever role they’re playing in the world. Among other subcultures, “RP” is popular with the homebrew hip-hop music community, where creators get together to perform tunes or blast them from car stereos in-game. It’s even possible to have a popular song in-game translate into a minor streaming hit in the real world.

But roleplay servers (of which NoPixel is one of the oldest and most popular) are essentially unlicensed mods of GTA Online that contravene its terms of service. Until recently, Rockstar took a dim view of them — officially, at least. Hence its request that T-Pain, a high-profile musician of 20 years’ standing, stop drawing attention to them by playing.

Things change, however. In 2023, recognizing the huge popularity of GTA roleplay, particularly among streamers, Rockstar acquired Cfx.re, the makers of the FiveM mod on which NoPixel and many other servers are based. “Over the past few years, we’ve watched with excitement as Rockstar’s creative community have found new ways to expand the possibilities of Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, particularly through the creation of dedicated roleplay servers,” the company said at the time. The acquisition hints at the possibility of an officially sanctioned roleplay experience for GTA Online, or for a potential successor to it that could arrive alongside GTA 6.

The irony of this wasn’t lost on T-Pain. “I start working on the game with them, and then they teamed up with the people that kind of like make the RP shit!” he said, in a good-humored gripe. “And I’m like, wait a minute, what? What the fuck? [laughs] Y’all told me I couldn’t do this shit then y’all team up with the people that enable the RP? Anyways, whatever!”

T-Pain didn’t reveal in what capacity he would be contributing to GTA 6, whether it be contributing songs, consulting on the soundtrack, or even acting in the game (maybe as a radio station DJ?). He probably wasn’t supposed to mention it at all. But perhaps Rockstar’s lawyers can cut him some slack — he did abandon a hobby for their sake, after all.

Grand Theft Auto 6, which moves the action to a modern-day Vice City (the GTA world’s version of Miami), will be released in 2025.

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