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An e-mail prank preys on Tyrese's good nature

Since even before Boyz II Men implored us to not wait until the water runs dry — which, obviously, would have been the biggest mistake of our lives — no genre of music has done earnestness with even close to as much sincerity as R&B (I'm looking at you, emo). And so it follows, given that he's pretty much inarguably R&B's most sincere performer — possibly ever — that Tyrese Gibson is maybe the most sincere person ever to exist.

On his most recent record, Open Invitation, for example, Tyrese expounds on how "I gotta chick (that love me)," elsewhere promising to "Go the extra mile/To make you smile" and concluding with an actual, honest-to-God poem addressed to his fans. And while it's true that many R&B albums are similarly guileless, lest ye doubt, consider also that Tyrese has written a self-help book called How to Get Out of Your Own Way, which was favorably reviewed by Deepak Chopra and called "a triumph" by the Reverend Run. Tyrese Gibson does not fuck with irony. Tyrese Gibson loves you, girl. For real.

So you kind of feel a little bad for Tyrese when his own sincere density makes him the victim of the world's most drawn-out e-mail prank. Here's what happened: Apparently having pulled her e-mail address from a mass communication they were both copied on a couple of weeks ago, Tyrese fired off a note to the poet/actress Amber Rose Tamblyn — best known either as Tibby from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or the fiancée of David Cross — inviting her to work on an album with him. The problem was, he evidently thought she was Amber Rose, model, socialite and girlfriend of Kanye West and, later, Wiz Khalifa.

Recognizing the potential for mistaken-identity-style hilarity, Tamblyn went ahead and let him continue to think that over the course of some eighteen e-mail exchanges, in which she sent him four increasingly ridiculous demos, whose subject matter ranged from warning ladies of the dangers of being on the dance floor with open-toed shoes to an empowerment anthem about cock-blocking (sample lyric: "Contraception matters/So wrap it up, if you want this clam-hamper"). And even though Tyrese Gibson is the type of dude who signs every e-mail "Respectfully," he was also too honest not to let her know that he wasn't feeling it. "That was trash...Sorry," was his assessment of the last set of demos. "At this point I don't even believe this is Amber."

But the icy-ass icing came when Tamblyn published the whole exchange last week along with a disclaimer and an "87 percent heartfelt apology," which, as it turns out, wasn't enough to quell the anger of Tyrese — who hasn't responded publicly, but apparently sent Tamblyn an e-mail admonishing the prank as "Corny as fuck...not cool...not even remotely." Poor guy.

For her part, Tamblyn has said that she actually does want to make this album, and really, it would probably be the most awesome thing since T-Pain collaborated with Andy Samberg. It's not necessarily Tyrese's style, but then again, Tyrese is no stranger to swallowing his pride. At least, not when he's trying to get his girl back.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte