Open Letter to Usher Raymond

Dear Usher,

I don’t say it often, but I’m a fan of yours. Whether it’s authentic or bootlegged, I have every album since My Way (plus the Can U Get With It tape), and I’ve even seen you in concert. In 2004, I, like everyone else in the world, fell in love with Confessions. Talk about memories! Ummph. Yep, that was the Thriller of your career. It was MJ bad. It’s one of the few albums I can play from beginning to end without skipping tracks.

Fast forward to your long-awaited follow-up release to Confessions in 2007, Here I Stand. With a new wife and son, you decided to take the “Grown Man” approach with that album. Imagine: A married man singing about fidelity and committment to his family (gasp!). After all, you’ve been partying like a 30 year-old since you were 14. Maybe your fun time was up. ( I guess being groomed by Diddy and Devante’ Swing will do that.)  Your fans no likey the “new Usher” though. We preferred when you were singing about sex, cheating and having babies outside of your exclusive relationship much better. I bought the album, and it was alright. The Dream’s production saved you (“We Ain’t Having Sex,” “Trading Places”). The rest of it….eh.

Now, you’re here. Fresh out of a marriage gone bad and ready to the get the party started. To paraphrase an interview I heard last week, you’re back and your swagger is on 10. Your new album, Raymond vs. Raymond reflects that.

Ursh, I beg to differ. Since when did doing collabs with Gucci Mane and letting Plies’ wanksta ass on a record to scream about pouring Kool-Aid on a woman’s body ever demonstrate swagger? I can’t tell you the disgust I felt when I heard him ruin “Daddy’s Home.”  I mean, what happened, dude? I think you mistook coming back with a bang for straight pop culture overkill. Here’s a word of advice to you and other R&B singers: Every song doesn’t need a rapper on it. (That goes for you, too, Trey!)

I won’t even get into “Lil Freak.” It’s a nice lil song  production-wise, but you threw me with the concept. What’s a song about a menage a’ trois without the ever so popular bi-sexual Barbie, Nicki Minaj? There’s nothing like a chick talking about touching “kitties” to get some airplay, right? No beef about the song itself, as much as releasing it for radio play. What happened to the “Grown Folks” songs that were reserved for the album only?

I’m not sure what you’re going through, but I figure this is your rebellious stage–similar to a woman who shaves her head after going through a bad breakup. You’re rebelling. Your marriage is finished, so why not talk about banging chicks, threesomes and re-enacting the love scene from Don’t Be a Menace?

You’ve been in the game too long to still be struggling with who you are musically. Thank God, “There Goes My Baby” leaked to redeem you. You do classic R&B and dance songs–very well. That’s what took you to the top. We understand that music is racier now, and reaching the younger generation is a must to sell records, but don’t forget about your longtime older fans. We notice things.

And just in case you’re wondering, yes, I will buy (not burn) Raymond vs. Raymond. But I already know which Raymond I like–the first one.


Old School Fan


10 thoughts on “Open Letter to Usher Raymond

  1. Love the blog! I haven’t heard the new album yet, but as a fellow old school fan I have to admit “Little Freak” is a guilty pleasure of mine. And although I’ve been done since “Can U Get Wit It” (as I was living in ATL at the time of its release), I can appreciate that Usher has to change a bit to keep up with the Trey Songz of the world. But maybe that’s not it…could it be that coming out of his marriage has given him a greater sense of self? that this is actually not a rebellion? and instead more an expression of who he truly is now? Like you said, he’s been partying like the man who now sings “Little Freak” since he was 14. Just a thought…

  2. Yes Lish! Yes. And the video for Little Freak is a bit more disturbing than the song itself. I mean, really? It seems like he didn’t even have expectations for any of his old fans to listen.

  3. Perhaps, that’s really him, Mel. If it is, why the hell did he wait so long to show his true self. And NOTE: I heard a song with Luda today and it is HOT. Yeah, I’ll still buy it.

    No comment on Plies the Nurse. Kris, I like Nicki, but it’s something that irks me slightly. I want another Confessions, but I’ll probably never get it.

  4. He, just like Monica will be back to his roots. She did an album trying to get the youngins and it flopped then went classic and still standing is no where to be found on shelves.

  5. I don’t see why Usher feels he has to keep up with the latest trends. When you’ve had as successful a career as he has you sell off the strength of your name alone. His prior work speaks for itself. As much as I would love another Confessions, I just think the odds are against it happening.
    He went off on that album & was at the top of his game then. And with most artists, when you release something that great that everyone’s loving, everything else you do afterward is looked as a step down from that. That said, I do like “There goes my Baby” & the songs with Luda & Nicki Minaj. Gucci Mane just is not my cup of tea & don’t even get get me started on Plies. So will Usher get it back again? Like the rest of us, time will tell.

    As always, thank you for letting us share, Alisha.

  6. Yes indeed! Well I too have been a fan, not a die heart fan perse’ but a fan nonetheless. Of course, we ALL love Confessions & I’m sorry but there’s just no topping that…but that’s fine…everybody can’t be (Beyonce), on top ALL the time!!! Sometimes you just have to make music, good music, I would hope…though I was quite skeptical of Usher’s return album post divorce, esp after ‘Here I Stand’, b/c I was afraid & I was correct that he would try too hard (when you try hard you dies hard~Ye). Gucci is fine, he’s on everybody’s album so that was no shocker really, but I definitely could’ve done w/o PliesI must admit there are songs I like, ie “Daddy’s Home”-though you’re right Plies could’ve stayed AWAY from Home & I LOVE “There Goes My Baby!” I was not planning to buy the album, but today I’m SUPER excited to purchase! btw-I can’t wait until “swag/swagger” DIES!!! Dude be THIRTY ONE…I’m 26 & too over the club scene, though I’m not rolling in Usher dough…I’m just saying some shit just gets old…regardless of $!!!
    Lish-you’re always in my head…I was thinking about the TMI-post earlier too-I swear I do NOT want to know everyone’s EVERY move & thought!! I really don’t!!!

  7. Well u know I’m a die hard true fan, and I even passed up the album and left it on the shelf yesterday. I’m sure I’ll go back and get it, but that’s saying a hell of a lot, when I pass up Mr. US-HER-RA-YM-OND!

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