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T-Pain Is Opening Up About How His Iconic Auto-Tune Music Led To A Dark Time In His Life

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In the new Netflix series This Is Pop, which premiered on the streaming service Tuesday, the 35-year-old rapper and producer said that he fell into a depression after Usher told him he “f—– up music” with his pitch correcting tunes.

“Usher was my friend,” T-Pain explained in the series. “I really respect Usher. And he was like, ‘Man. I’m gonna tell you something, man. You kinda f—– up music.’”

Noting that he let out a “nervous chuckle” at the “Burn” singer’s comment, T-Pain then realized that Usher, 42, wasn’t joking. “I didn’t understand,” T-Pain continued. “I thought he was joking at first, but then he was like, ‘Yeah man you really f—– up music for real singers.’”

“I was like, ‘What did I do? I came out and I used Auto-Tune,’” the musician added. “He was like, ‘Yeah, you f—– it up.’ I’m like, ‘But I used it, I didn’t tell everybody else to start using it.’”

T-Pain went on to say that the exchange with the singer led him into the beginning of a very dark time in his life. “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.

A representative for Usher did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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During an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered back in 2014, T-Pain explained that though he generally “felt OK about being ridiculed for using Auto-Tune,” he said experiencing all that hate wasn’t easy.

“People started feeling like I was talentless. And, you know, at first, it was like, ‘Oh my god. This guy’s an innovator. He’s great. He’s doing things that no one can do.’ And then once people started doing it – it’s like giving video cameras to people that want to make movies. It got easy for everybody,” he said.

“People thought I was using it to sound good. But I was just using it to sound different,” T-Pain continued. “And it turned into a whole stifling thing because it was what I did. You know what I’m saying? It’s what I do. And this is my style. I’m not gonna change my style because other people are starting to overuse it. Like, that’s just weird.”

This Is Pop is an eight-part Netflix series that will explore the “untold stories from some of the biggest moments in pop music history,” per Entertainment Weekly.

Alongside T-Pain, the series will also feature interviews with ABBA’S Benny Andersson, Shania Twain, Brandi Carlile, Chuck D and Babyface.

Orville Peck, Hozier, members of Boys II Men, Backstreet Boys, Blur, and many others are also scheduled to make appearances.

This Is Pop was released on Tuesday and is now streaming on Netflix.

 

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