T-Pain Says He Fell Into Depression After Usher Criticized His Use Of Auto-Tune
In a clip from the upcoming Netflix series “This Is Pop,” T-Pain, 35, whose real name is Faheem Rasheed Najm, narrated how a negative comment from Usher while they were both on a 2013 flight to the BET awards left him feeling depressed.
According to the “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper)” singer, while he was sleeping, a flight attendant woke him up and told him that Usher wanted to speak with him.
“Usher was my friend. I really respect Usher and he said, ‘I’m gonna tell you something, man. You kinda f****d up music.’” T-Pain said.
The singer recalled thinking that Usher was joking, but he wasn’t. “And then he was like, ‘Yeah man you really f***ed up music for real singers.’ I was like, ‘What did I do? I came out and I used Auto-Tune,’” T-Pain said.
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T-Pain continued: “He was like, ‘Yeah, you f****d it up.’ I’m like, ‘But I used it, I didn’t tell everybody else to start using it.’”
He added: “That is the very moment, and I don’t even think I realised this for a long time, but that’s the very moment that started a four-year depression for me.”
T-Pain is best known for popularizing the use of Auto-Tune, a pitch-correcting audio processor, for vocals, with the effect turned up to give the voice a robotic quality. He has used this effect throughout his singing career, starting in 2003.
T-Pain’s use of Auto-Tune was copied by a number of hip hop artists, including Snoop Dogg on the 2007 single “Sexual Eruption”, Lil Wayne on the 2008 single “Lollipop”, Kanye West on the 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak, the Black Eyed Peas on the 2009 single “Boom Boom Pow”, and Diddy on the 2010 album Last Train to Paris.
Years before the incident with Usher, rapper Jay-Z released the single “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” in 2009. The song criticized the use of the software. Jay-Z directly mentioned T-Pain in the song, with the lyrics “You ni**as singing too much/ Get back to rap, you T-Paining too much.”