"I feel like there's been a weight lifted off my shoulders and now that everyone knows what I can do, I feel like it's giving me a second win," the 33-year-old rapper, who fans now know is a world-class singer, told PEOPLE.
"When you hear the name T-Pain, you automatically think Auto-Tune. I just wanted to get rid of that," he said, referencing his Auto-Tuned discography, full of highly recognizable songs like "Buy U A Drank" and "Bartender."
Fans who have seen T-Pain, short for Tallahassee Pain, in concert may have recognized him as the Monster, as he shows off his soulful voice without Auto-Tune at live shows.
"I've been proving this for years and years and people still said I was only famous because I used Auto-Tune," he said. "But now, you know, that's not true."
He said "a ton of people," including rapper Lil Wayne, knew right away who was beneath the silly, adorable costume.
"Lil Wayne was the first, so that was good. I don't know when Lil Wayne would even have time to watch," T-Pain said.
Others who recognized the Monster included O.T. Genasis and Tory Lanez, both of whom are featured on T-Pain's new album, 1UP, which was released this week.
“Everybody that was featured on my album knew what the deal was. … It was pretty cool to get love from everybody,” he shared.
He said he was recording his album while filming the show, which resulted in an album release the same day as the series finale. "It's a super great album," he said. "It's No. 1 right now, No. 1 in the country and I feel great."
But just because more people are aware of his immensely talented singing voice, that doesn't mean he's going to start using it more or Auto-Tune less.
“It’s something I wanted to prove to people really quick, I don’t need to use my real voice for lack of a better word, but it was to prove a point to everyone that thought that I don’t have a natural voice,” he said.
T-Pain was revealed as the Monster on The Masked Singer season finale Wednesday night, as Donny Osmond (revealed as the Peacock) and Gladys Knight (revealed as the Bee) placed in second and third place, respectively.
The rapper said his costume, which he jokingly referred to as "a terrible contraption," was the toughest to navigate and perform in. "It was the biggest costume and I couldn't move," he said. "I could only put my arms up in front of my body and I could only see right in front of me. I just always had to have people helping me, but everybody else had just a mask and clothes, so it wasn’t easy. I couldn’t walk and it was very hard to do.”
He confirmed that all the performances on the singing competition were live ("They wouldn't let us pre-record," he said), and that his logistics were "the worst because there was no way to get a microphone close enough to my face." The solution? The cast taped a microphone to his face during the show.0comments
"It was not easy," he said.