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Music

The Word On…Usher

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Seemingly back on top, the climate was altogether quite different for R&B crooner Usher back in 2008.

Indeed, some years removed from the record-breaking success of global smash ‘Confessions‘, the singer found himself in somewhat of a tricky spot with his fans. Billed as a ‘lothario’ of sorts, the new married-with-a-child Usher did little to help such a cause; a cause which -until- had arguably been his biggest selling-point. Paired with a very public dispute with his mother over his wife and life, Mr Raymond‘s musical release that year – ‘Here I Stand‘  - seemed almost destined to perform poorly. Indeed, though being certified Platinum, the project’s lack of hits beyond first single ‘Love In This Club’, sunk it faster than the titanic.

Fast forward to today and one could be forgiven for believing the above-mentioned never took place. For, off the back of gargantuan hits such ‘OMG’ and ‘DJ Got Us Falling In Love’, Usher is every bit the chart force he was for much of the previous decade.

However, for some, this renewed success has come at a price – his R&B roots. Yes, his latest effort ‘Raymond vs Raymond’ served up Urban geared cuts such as ‘Lil Freak’ and ‘Hey Daddy’. Yet, some argue, there’s no coincidence that it was the Dance flavoured songs which received the most backing and ultimately the most success. As such, Usher in 2011 has emerged as quintessentially Pop. A problem, it seems, for some of the R&B enthusiasts who helped propel him in the first place.

As such, That Grape Juice took to the streets of Hollywood to hear what the people think of Usher in 2011. Did he sell out? Are they still fans? How does he compare to the new breed? This is ‘The Word…On Usher’.

Your thoughts?

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31 Comments

  • August 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm
    Mathew says:
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    Usher is amazing, he has done it all in this business to the point where he no longer need to compete with others. He has paved the way for all of the up coming artist like Chris Brown. Usher has proven over and over again he has got the voice, the moves, the whole damn show so like all highly successful artist do, they explore other sounds, other trends and fashions to further prep-ell themselves into the elite. Usher is in an elite class in comparison to everyone else, just purely based on what he has a achieved and his talent. Cant wait to hear his new stuff, i am curtain it will DOMINATE the charts once again, His new Album will be EPIC

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  • August 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm
    chloe says:
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    I AGREE WITH MATHEW!

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  • August 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    Diane says:
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    Yeah. Usher is pure talent. His last album Raymond v. Raymond is HOT! A mix of true R&B, Pop and Hip Hop (Luda). Usher started very young like Chris Brown but I feel that Usher is a legend. His voice is instantly recognizable. His songs are hot, his duets are hot, his daddyism is hot, and he is still hot. It might even be time for him to make a covers or tribute album. Chris, on the other hand, will get there in time but I’m afraid his image is going to kill his career.

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  • August 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm
    S* says:
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    Im a die hard fan of Usher…but if his next album is full of songs like OMG ( feat Will.i.am)…Im gonna be pissed as hell!!!

    For me, his best album is 8701

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  • August 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm
    ASAP (As Sincere As Possible) says:
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    OMG!Usher is so overrated.I actually like his music too, but saying that he’s going to be considered one of the best performers of this generation is way too far fetched.He was great but not that great and he’s fallen off now too.And some people seriously think he is a legend???I suggest googling the word and find what it means before you churn it out.

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  • August 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm
    antertain says:
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    GREATNESS!

    The good thing about his evolution is that R&B never got left on the self.
    He added to his repertoire and did great.

    Yet another with nothing to prove he has earned the right to experiment with sounds and it proved successful.

    With the body of work Usher has, it’s gonna be a tough task for the newer bunch to sniff those heights.

    Breezy got the goods but no need to compare 2 Usher as he is the next in line for international success (if he controls his head) and Usher handed the blueprint of how to mix R&B/Hip-Hop/Pop..

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  • August 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm
    kody3x says:
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    @diane wasnt this a usher post why you bring chris brown in this dummie

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  • August 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm
    kody3x says:
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    @diane by the way if chris brown image would have killed him his career would have been over by now

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  • August 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm
    Hey says:
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    I think that using the word “sell out” is TOO MUCH and bloggers are always trying to find an excuse to hate on a celebrity even a celeb like Usher who paved the way for a whole generation and who is a role model after almost 15 years in the industry.
    His last album was 80% r&b with 3 pop songs. every r&b song went #1 or top 10 in their format. Usher is versatile and that’s a good look. On the other hand Chris Brown tried to release pop songs and they were never as successful as Usher’s :yeah X3 never reached the top 15 and beautiful people bombed.
    So in my opinion the right question should have been is Usher the latest crossover artist. Because Chris Brown is only played in urban or rythmic, beyonce is not even supported by pop or urban radios and hasn’t a hit in this era. Usher is currently the only artist who can get a #1 pop single and a #1 urban single. This is why he is a legend.
    And look at what happened to beyonce she pulled a here I stand with 4 and flopped and she will never cross the 1MM mark . None of her songs are hits and when Usher released his mature album here i stand he still had enough fans to support the project(which crossed the 1MM mark) and who made his 1st single #1 in spite of the lack of the promo.
    Sometimes the urban community have to give props where it dues. Usher is the latest crossover artist who appeal black & white and black people should be proud to have somebody like him who can appeal white people without changing his nose or bleaching his hair or his skin.
    If being a sell out means that you can have pop hits and urban hits at the same time without changing your hair or skin so he is a sell out…
    And remember also that the grammy awards decided that his album was the best r&b album of the year. I really doubt that they would give this award to a pop album…
    Sometimes people have to stop the hate and start seeing things the way they really are.

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    Anne Replied:

    @Hey, you are so misinformed that it’s crazy. First, since this is about Usher I will say that I don’t know about the term legend because I still reserve that term for people like Aretha Franklin, Prince, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Lionel Richie, etc. But I’d probably consider Usher an Icon since he has been able to sustain in the game for so long and has influenced others. His status reminds me of someone else that you mentioned in an ill-informed manner, Beyonce. I think both Bey & Usher are icons and as far as ’4′ goes the album has already been certified platinum (1million) and has ony been released for 5 weeks and sales are sustaining so it is sure to be a double or multiplatinum album. It has yet to fall below the top 5 on Billboard 200 chart and is set to remain in the top 10 for a sixth week. ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ is still climbing the Hot 100 (currently at #16) and is in the top ten on the R&B chart. As far as Hot 100 top tens or number ones, we can’t count ’4′ out yet because the ’4′ era has just begun. I think artists like Usher and Bey have already carved their mark in the industry and proved they have longevity. As for the sell out question I think artists have a right to experiment and expand as they so choose.

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    hey Replied:

    I hope that you know that being certified platinum doesn’t mean you actually sold 1MM…Britney and Beyonce are certified platinum because their labels shipped 1MM copies but their sales are around 600k and they probably will never cross the 1MM mark .
    The 4 era is a flop. She promoted her song on American idol and Oprah and a lot of other shows and none of them reached the top 15. Her album is still in the top 10 because there is no high profile release this summer until lil wayne.

  • August 6, 2011 at 4:38 pm
    kody3x says:
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    @diane im sorry just watched the video chris brown name was brought up my bad

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  • August 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm
    BFoxx says:
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    He’s a R&B Icon/Legend. I heard that he’s going more R&B for the next album and not necessarily all “Rev Pop”. He’s in the studio with Rico Love and is doing a duet with Robin Thicke and Maxwell so I’m looking forward to the project.

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  • August 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm
    Jayla says:
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    ….WHY DO THE SAME DUDE CONTINUALLY INSIST ON BRINGING FRANK OCEAN’S NAME UP IN THE VIDEO?!?!???? LIKE WTF!!! HE IS NOT ON THE SAME LEVEL WITH CHRIS OR USHER, HAVE A SEAT

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  • August 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm
    JayCi says:
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    Usher is not a damn legend or icon he’s a SELLOUT. He’s a follower, why else is his pop music #1 and his urban music flopping? He’s just doing whatever he can to stay relevant especially since he’s getting older so he knows he has young competition. No one is gonna take him seriously doing those MJ moves at 40.

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  • August 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm
    Everynowhere says:
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    Confessions = last album to go diamond
    11 R&B #1 singles
    9 hot 100 #1 singles
    Usher is the reigning king of R&B. No need to call him a legend until he retires but understand that he has accomplished a lot in his 18 year career.

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  • August 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm
    vegasgirl says:
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    I personally don’t consider Usher a real legend yet even though he has been in the game for quite some time. People throw out “legend” too often but if you compare him to other artists who a majority of people would consider a legend ( MJ, Marvin Gaye, Madonna, etc) he doesn’t quite hit the mark. Those artists I’ve mentioned are a heavily influential in some way whether it be for music, marketing, visual imagery, etc and I love Usher but I don’t think that he qualifies for the larger general public as a legend.

    I remember a while ago VH1 compiled a list of the 100 greatest artists of all times and Usher wasn’t even on the list. I was shocked because Justin Timberlake was on the list but Usher wasn’t. Im not saying that the list is the end all be all ( because I think it was a bit bogus) but whoever put that list together doesn’t think Usher contributions to music are enough to even make the list. How is Justin Timberlake a better artist than Usher( oh yeah and JT beat out Alicia K also who was 100)? And I believe that list may have been voted on by the artists themselves.

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  • August 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm
    za says:
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    love usher!! what is the name of the song they use for the intro??

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  • August 6, 2011 at 9:17 pm
    UKadele says:
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    I’m in the “Younger generation” they were talking about but I love Usher he is a legend. He has classics Chris doesn’t have classics yet but he can get there. And I don’t think he’s a sellout if Usher would be called a sellout then wouldn’t most other R&B artists be sellouts too. Btw, just because you only really hear his dance music now doesn’t mean he’s not doing R&B music. I LOVE USHER!!

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  • August 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm
    M says:
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    Usher is Legend!
    he is Iconic…
    I dig Chris Brown but Usher sold 20 million albums alone off one cd from his discography…Chris aint doing that
    I dont care what you say but that whole “Incident” …..but it has a still put a ever present dark cloud on Chris Brown
    he has alot to do to catch up with Usher
    and mind you Usher is just at the beginning of his 30s
    so he has sooo much time to keep it going

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  • August 6, 2011 at 10:37 pm
    jill says:
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    usher is the bomb like it is not a competition thing..

    but on stage aint nobody do it better than chris brown. chris got that energy. he has fun with it. he is an acrobat a singer and just all around energy ball on stage.

    that dont take away from ushers shine none. but it is necessary to KEEP it straight

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  • August 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm
    john says:
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    @m umm lets see chris brown only 22 been in the game for 6 years usher been in the game like 18 of course he got catching up to do dummie

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  • August 6, 2011 at 11:14 pm
    lolitta says:
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    Usher is a legend and people need to stop comparing him with chris brown, they are at a different level, chris brown stay copying usher in everything, Usher will always be 10 steps ahead of chris brown, RESPECT The KING, his next album will be epic

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  • August 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm
    john says:
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    @lollita how the f*** does chris brown copy usher chris brown dont even dance like usher and chris brown is a way better dancer than usher even young usher i would love to see usher do half the things chris brown does backflips, crumping, flexibility,poppin usher was never as entergetic as chris brown he can do some cool s***

    Reply

  • August 6, 2011 at 11:54 pm
    ASAP (As Sincere As Possible) says:
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    OMG!The word ‘legend’ has been brutally abused so many times in only one page

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  • August 7, 2011 at 12:04 am
    Put That On Everythang says:
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    Usher was already a crossover artist and why is it when a black artist like Usher or Beyonce decide to different type of music they are consider a “sellout”, Some people are so close minded and ignorant that they only see black and white.
    Here I Stand was a great album he didn’t release the right material far as singles Trading Places should’ve been the second single follow by This Ain’t Sex, Best Thing ft Jay Z, Usher was a bit too defensive during that era with the wifey that no one liked so his music suffered a bit

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  • August 7, 2011 at 12:08 am
    kody3x says:
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    usher is great though

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  • August 7, 2011 at 12:09 am
    Put That On Everythang says:
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    @JayCi either you have been under a rock the past couple years or you just a dumb ass. None of the urban records that he release from his past album flop There Goes My Baby was no. 1 Papers was no.1 Lil Freak was top 10, OMG and Hey Daddy was no.3 all on the R&B charts and his pop singles were all top 10 hot 100 singles. Usher is a damn legend, how old are you? If he doesn’t release another record he has nothing else to prove and stop being so damn close minded just because he’s black doesn’t mean he has to do just RnB.

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  • August 7, 2011 at 1:18 am
    Mathew says:
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    How many of you haters actually bought Raymond v Raymond. That album mostly consisted of R&B song with only 2 pop songs so all the haters need to calm down. All the R&B songs released went to number 1 on their respected chart anyway. USHERRAYMOND!!!

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  • August 7, 2011 at 1:29 am
    nice_gurl says:
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    Usher is a great artist. I don’t know if you can call him a legend quite yet. I love his R&B songs and my favorite Usher album is Confessions. I also love his earlier stuff and 8701. Here I Stand has good R&B tracks, but people were starting to listen to more pop stuff when the album came out. It was also a good album. I believe Raymond V Raymond was the worst album for Usher if you wanted R&B tracks, except for a few songs like Papers, There Goes My Baby and Hey Daddy. OMG and DJ Falling In Love were good for charts and gaining a wide range of fans, but I need a more R&B type album from him this time around, like Confessions. He is a great artist though and can also dance.

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  • August 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm
    Karli says:
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    Oh but when Ciara does it, the crossover level, she gets so much flack! But I agree Usher is a legend and is vet.

    Reply

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