In a clip from the upcoming Netflix series "This Is Pop," published by Entertainment Weekly Monday, the singer, whose real name is Faheem Rasheed Najm, revealed he fell into a years-long depression after Usher criticized his use of Auto-Tune in music.
"Usher was my friend," T-Pain said in the clip. "I really respect Usher. And he was like, 'Man. I'm gonna tell you something, man. You kinda (expletive) up music.' "
T-Pain said he let out a "nervous chuckle" at the comment but soon realized Usher wasn't kidding.
"I didn't understand," he said. "I thought he was joking at first, but then he was like, 'Yeah man you really (expletive) up music for real singers.' "
According to T-Pain, Usher's comment was the beginning of a trying time for his mental health.
"I'm like, 'But I used it, I didn't tell everybody else to start using it,' " T-Pain said. "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."
T-Pain almost single-handedly popularized the use of the pitch-altering technology Auto-Tune in hip-hop, beginning with his 2005 debut hit single, “I’m Sprung,” which made it to the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"This Is Pop" is an eight-part series uncovering the real stories behind some of the biggest artists and moments in pop music history, according to Netflix's description. In addition to T-Pain, it will feature interviews with Shania Twain, Boyz II Men, Chuck D, Brandi Carlile, Neko Case and more. The series will be released in full Tuesday.
In 2019, the singer opened up about his past financial problems, telling the hosts of the Breakfast Club he used to have to ask for money to buy basic necessities.
"I had to borrow money to get my kids Burger King," he said, estimating that, at the peak of his financial woes, he'd blown through $40 million.
T-Pain blamed "a lot of bad investments" for his struggles, also calling out his manager for making less-than-optimal spending decisions.
The singer added: "I was letting my manager do it and he was way more optimistic than I was," the singer said. "He would just buy complete dumps and think that we can just paint and then we should be fine. Never sold anything that we bought."
Contributing: Sabrina Ford, Maeve McDermott
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: T-Pain reveals how a comment from Usher kicked off '4-year depression'