By Nick Romano
March 01, 2019 at 09:12 AM EST
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

None of the judges on The Masked Singer seemed to know who was underneath the winning costume on the Fox show, but Lil’ Wayne did.

According to T-Pain, who appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about winning big, his collaborator was one of the first to call him up.

“Lil’ Wayne reached out to me. He reached out first and was like, ‘How did they not know it was you in that mask, bro?'” T-Pain said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know, man. That’s just how it works.'”

The singer and rapper, who surprised everyone with a new album, 1Up, featuring Lil’ Wayne, told DeGeneres he never thought he had a chance of winning. “Even when I went into it, picking the costumes, all the costumes were available but I picked the silliest looking one because I thought I was going home on the first episode because I have a real distinct voice,” he said. “So I feel like if I’m going to embarrass myself, I might as well take it to the highest level.”

It backfired, though, when he realized how hot the Monster suit would be. “I didn’t think it through,” he said. “It was hot, Ellen. It was not a cool situation. They were like, ‘No there’s gonna be a fan in there’… Everything changed. They were like, ‘Okay, we can hear the fan so we gotta take it.’ And it was just a lot.”

T-Pain was crowned victor over Gladys Knight (underneath the bee costume) and Donny Osmond (as the peacock), following a double-elimination episode that revealed Joey Fatone as the rabbit and Rumer Willis as the lion.

As T-Pain explains, pretty much everyone can pinpoint his speaking voice, especially when he’s out at dinner with his family. “That was weird,” he said of his Masked Singer win. “I think that’s the first time I’ve gone through [that] in my life.”

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