In a snippet of an upcoming Netflix series titled This Is Pop, award-winning musician and producer T-Pain opened up about a conservation he had with fellow singer, Usher, that he said negatively affected him and ultimately triggered his four-year depression.
The snippet of the interview was obtained by Entertainment Weekly. And in the video, the I’m Sprung singer said his mental health took a nosedive after Usher told him he “f*cked up music” due to his unabated use of auto-tune. Born Faheem Rasheed Najm, T-Pain is famously known for using that computerized vocal style and making it very popular during his heydays. It, however, appears Usher wasn’t feeling it.
T-Pain said that the conversation in question happened in 2013 while they were in a plane headed to the BET Awards. And the 35-year-old recalled he was sleeping when he was woken up by a flight attendant who told him Usher wanted to have a word with him.
“So I got up and went back. He was like ‘Oh, how’s everything going?’ Quick small talk, no big deal,” the Buy U a Drank singer said. “And he was like, ‘Man, I wanna tell you something.’ I thought he was about to tell me something real—he sounded real concerned. Then he was like ‘man, you kinda f*cked up music.’ I didn’t understand.”
“Usher was my friend. I really respect Usher,” he added. “And he said, ‘I’m gonna tell you something, man. You kinda f*cked up music.’” T-Pain said he initially thought Usher was just joking but the Confessions singer reiterated his comments.
“And then he was like, ‘Nah, man, you really f*cked up music for real singers.’ I was like, ‘Oh, you’re serious,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah man, look what you did. Look what you’re doing,’” T-Pain recalled Usher saying. “I was like, ‘What did I do? I came out and I used Auto-Tune.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, you f*cked it up.’ I’m like, ‘But I used it, I didn’t tell everybody else to start using it.’”
And though T-Pain said he brushed it off, he revealed that conversion triggered his mental health woes. “That is the very moment, and I don’t even think I realized this for a long time, but that’s the very moment that started a four-year depression for me,” he said. While Usher may have made his feelings known to T-Pain, the 42-year-old singer has also since gone ahead to work with musicians who occasionally use that vocal mechanism.
After the interview snippet made its way to the news, T-Pain took to Twitter to clarify he has nothing against Usher and it’s all love. “I still love and respect @Usher telling that story was in no way meant to disrespect that man,” he shared. “Ppl talk shit about me 24/7 but when it comes from someone you truly respect it hits very different. I never said f*ck Ursh it was a drop in the ocean of shit I was already goin through.”
Though T-Pain may have rejuvenated auto-tune, some other musicians before him had also used that technique. The I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper) musician said he first heard auto-tune on a remix of If You Had My Love – a 1999 single by Jennifer Lopez, according to Vanity Fair. The computerized vocal style was also made popular by Roger Troutman in the 1980s through his use of the talk box. Troutman used the device on hit songs including I Wanna Be Your Man (1987) and Computer Love (1986).