When I first heard the then
14 year old Usher Raymond (as
he was called then), he was savy, full of spunk and a fresh new
talent to pop up on you so you asked yourself that if he had the
right producers and songwriters behind him, he could go far - but
who knew right?
Now I'll admit I wasn't a big
fan of Usher himself but you had to give the Atlanta native props
for the music because he did seek out the best producers and songwriters
to surround him on his projects. Since he came to the limelight
some 10 years ago we've seen him steadily grow as an artist who
paced himself not to rush the making process of his music.
After dropping his debut, It
took him 3 years for the sophomore set to show. 'My
Way' now set the bar rolling with hit singles like 'You
make Me Wanna', 'Just Like Me'
and the title track. My question then was 'Can he topple that success
and set the bar even higher?' well 4 yrs past and then came '8701'
(originally called 'All about u'
and was scheduled for release the year before but the album was
leaked to the internet and becasue of that was completely remastered)
and the hits just kept coming: 'You've
Got it Bad', 'You Don't Have
to Call', 'U Remind Me'
and 'Pop your Collar' were all
top 20 tracks and made him a 'SuperStar'.
And so we come forward another
3 years to 2004 and his latest release 'Confessions'.
Again the helping hands are solid as the likes of young gun maverick
producers Just Blaze, (Throwback)
Vidal Davis, Bobby
Ross Avila and Brian Micheal
Cox strut their stuff. Veterans Jimmy
Jam and Terry Lewis
(Truth Hurts) and Janet
Jackson's beau Jermaine
are on board as well.
This time around Usher expresses
a more personal side to his personna as he discusses matters of
the heart in more detail as he's now experienced it. From the prospect
of becoming a father (in the title track 'Confessions'),
to ex-girlfirend Rozanda 'Chili'
Thomas of TLC
fame (in Superstar). There's
a hint of Prince's
'Purple Rain' on the track 'Do
it To Me' (if I recall I believe that's also a Prince
track as well) while 'Can You Handle It'
just doesn't sound like Usher as his voice is deeper, more seasoned
on the track. But you have to give him credit where credit is due
because he's found an audience that is appreciative of his work
in selling 3 million copies in 5 weeks.
The album is in stores and
record shops now so if you're a fan get yourself a copy or even
if you're not a fan, it's up to you either way - A TY-D
Listen to Usher's
Listen to Usher's