T-Pain — who was born Faheem Rasheed Najm — spoke on Netflix's new This Is Pop series about his career and the most iconic moments in pop history.
"Usher was my friend," the "Can't Believe It" crooner said in the documentary. "I really respect Usher. And he was like, 'Man. I'm gonna tell you something, man. You kinda f****d up music.'" The alleged comment, which referenced T-Pain's use of auto-tune, occurred in 2013 while the two were flying to an award show.
Although the 35-year-old was not the first to use auto-tune, he is largely credited with popularizing it.
Thinking Usher was kidding, T-Pain says he had a "nervous chuckle" before realizing that the "Yeah!" hitmaker, 42, was serious.
"I didn't understand," T-Pain explained. "I thought he was joking at first, but then he was like, 'Yeah man you really f****d up music for real singers.'"
"I'm like, 'But I used it, I didn't tell everybody else to start using it,'" T-Pain recalled responding. "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 reportedly first heard auto-tune on a remix of Jennifer Lopez's "If You Had My Love" after it had begun to gain traction during the '90s, and he thought that the effect would set him apart as a rising rapper.
However, it was not just Usher who was critical of T-Pain's use of auto-tune. In 2009, T-pain was slammed on Jay-Z's "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)."
T-Pain has since clarified that there is no beef between him and Usher.
"I still love and respect @Usher telling that story was in no way meant to disrespect that man. Ppl talk s**t about me 24/7 but when it comes from someone you truly respect it hits very different," he tweeted on Tuesday, June 22. "I never said f**k Ursh it was a drop in the ocean of s**t I was already goin through."
Fans were quick to offer their support.
"you were asked [a] question and you told the truth. we don’t hate usher because of this, we just stand by you extra hard because you did the complete opposite of f**k music up for 'real singers.' you are a legend in your own right. sending love," one wrote.
"No one is touching your catalog. You did what you had to do and everyone got on it whether they like it or not. And it still goes on today. Your music still knocks. Forever a fan. And you SING way better than most artists out today," another commented.
"What’s more important than a miscommunication about usher is you bounced back from a 4 year depression…. Some people don’t come back from those…stay blessed," a third fan noted.
Usher has yet to respond to T-Pain's comments.