Usher, It’s Time to Move On, You’re No Trey Songz

August 28, 2012  |  


Last week, I heard Usher’s new song, Lemme See – And this is why I don’t listen to the radio anymore.

The song, which features a verse from former correctional officer with benefits and a 401k plan turned make-believe gangster-rapper, Rick Ross, is about Usher going out one night and meeting a girl in the club. And after getting drunk off of Merlot and his female companion for the night taking her pants off, our hero in the song has decided to take his shirt off – to show his chest. And I guess from there they get it poppin’.  And we wonder why the yougins’ are freaky as all hell.

However, before I go into the charm that is Usher, let me first mention this very special featured verse,  delivered by 22nd Police District Captain Ross, which goes something like:

“Chanel hoodie on looking like Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman don’t want it.”

Or he could have said, George Zimmerman on warning.

Either way, I have no idea what that means. Is it supposed to be Ross’ way of delivering some well-meaning social commentary about the killing of a 17-year old boy from his own Florida community?  Yeah I doubt that too.  After all, this is the same guy, who perverted Malcolm X’ message (and the entire Islamic religion) in his song By Any Means. I’m pretty sure that when Malcolm spoke those words, his message was self-empowerment and defense not pushing crack cocaine onto your own people.

But I blame Chuck D of Public Enemy. Because if he didn’t suggest that Rick Ross make a song in honor of Trayvon, then maybe Ross would not have turned the murder of a teenager into a my girl-wears-a-fancy, overpriced-sweat jacket rap pun.  In my Bill Maher voice, new rule: If your rhymes are all about conspicuous consumption, gang violence and features an over abundance of heavy grunts, leave the social commentary to those who, you know, give a fawk. Also, keep your shirt on. Folks are tired of seeing you parade your man-boobs around like McDonald’s Grimace with a microphone. Where is the Hamburgler when you need him?

Now that I got that out of my system, let’s get back to Usher.

I understand that there is a lot of uncertainty in this current music era and folks are not selling as many records as they did before, especially R&B artists.  Everything is that god-awful techno-pop stuff. However I’m starting to believe that Usher’s divorce had a greater toll on him than we initially thought. It appears that he is caught up in a sort of musical arrested development – one where he feels that he must keep up with much younger, more agile, entertainers like Chris Brown and Trey Songz by performing the same tired themes.

The problem is that Usher is a divorced man with two kids now. No one buys that you are hanging out in the club – nor the Mohawk you’ve been sporting as of late. You have daycare and parent/teacher conferences and piles and piles of laundry. You should be singing songs about the difficulty of knowing the difference between lights and darks and the mystery behind the permanent press cycle on washing machine, not how you are almost 34 years old, still picking up young girls, and taking them back to hotel rooms for a whole lotta phukking. For God sake, who is watching the kids when all of this is going on?

I get it: you have been in the business for a very long time. You have amassed multiple Grammys and countless hit singles. Your album Confessions was number 3 on the list of top selling albums in the last ten years. Point is, you shouldn’t be still Looking 4 Myself on your seventh album. You have nothing to prove anymore. And you damn sure can’t compete with the youngins. Trey Songz is killing them now. And Chris Brown is flying across techno-colored stages like he is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Usher, you can’t fly like Breezy. For one, what happens when you fall? Falling when you are young is funny but falling when you are older, is scary because the bones don’t heal as fast.  And no amount of synthesized productions and trivial lyricism is ever going to reclaim your pop title. Thus, it’s time to move on.

The key to longevity is being able to expand your audience into new terrains. Instead of trying to mimic what’s hot right now, you should pull a Bono and Michael Jackson, your hero by the way, and do a Man in the Mirror/Earth Song-type joint. White folks will eat that up.  Or you could do like Tina Turner did when she left Ike and sang in front of a 16-piece string orchestra. I’m sure there is a Grammy or two in it for you.   Heck if you are determined to stick with R&B, pull an R Kelly and go the adult contemporary route. Like you, Kelz used to be the king of freaky songs. But at some point – maybe after he peed on that little girl – he came to realize that if he kept doing songs like “Feelin on Your Booty,” he would eventually turn into the musical version of the old head in the club.  Now he is back with his latest single, “Feelin’ Single,” which is burning up the adult contemporary charts and in all the BYOB fish fry cabarets.  But more importantly, because of his ability to embrace a mature sound  – one where songs about relationships and love take precedence over songs about one night stands – he will more than likely maintain his position as the King of R&B, while the youngins’ aim to have the same longevity that he does.

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  • Numero Uno

    Side note: People are actually checking for Trey Songz? I guessss…..

  • Numero Uno

    This article was hilarious…however, I have to disagree on a couple things. First off, “Lemme See” is actually not a bad song. I actually like it. It’s not like his whole album consisted of songs like this, so not sure why the need to complain. Also, this article reads as though Usher is 43 or 53 years old. Since when is 33 considered time to start singing about laundry and picking up kids from school or whatever? lol! 33 is still a pretty on and popping age. You’re getting to that extra grown side, but not totally there yet. And no I’m not a 30 something trying to justify things. I’m still in my 20s. But I do agree that Usher seems to be going backwards in terms of the sound of his music. His older stuff seems more mature to me than what he’s putting out now. But he’s still okay in my book. I actually love the song “Scream”. All the techno pop artists are doing now isn’t bad. It’s just when it’s forced that it sounds a mess, just like with any genre of music, where someone may be forcefully trying to fit themselves into.

  • Numero Uno

    LMAO @ “Someone give that damn boy a chair with some sticky paper attached to it so he can have a seat and never get his happy butt back up”

  • TAP

    Lol..dang you went in on Usher. Now Ross he deserved it. I agree with some points on Ushers change but the “other” ppl are buying that mess. All the music more makes my head hurt. However, the he’s no Trey Songz lol. Trey Songz isn’t going to last as long as Kelly orUsher

  • Tee

    This article is nonsense!

  • darwin

    You people are crazy. Who the hell you think Trey got his style from? Tell Trey to stop imitating R. Kelly and Usher! Usher music, no matter if it’s not like it used to be will always be better than Trey. Y’all crazy as hell! Usher has the”it” factor, Trey has the “need it” factor. Until Trey sells a multi-million dollar album, he can’t say nothing!!!!

  • La-Di-Da

    I’ve been saying Usher needs to retire or adjust his image for years now. It’s just not working. And I personally don’t think any artist really needs to sing about one night stands, sexcapades, and smut. It’s played out and shallow.

    • nikole

      all day amen i am so tired of that not all of us care about what you doing inthe bedroom (maybe a bit prudish of me) some of us get a little hot and feeling anxious when you do talk about sex .

  • Lateshia

    I’m a huge Usher fan but I only like when Usher makes real music. Nowadays I don’t know what he is up to it seem like when he was married to Tameka he made some horrible music and after the divorce even worse music. This teeny bopper R&B isn’t working for usher the last Usher album I purchased was Confessions and I have Here I Stand but I won that a few years ago. Here I Stand was like the last decent Usher album. Raymond vs. Raymond I hate downloading a favorite artists songs unless I can’t find the song on any of their albums……but that album was no good. I liked maybe 2 or 3 songs from that album.

    • nikole

      the only way i suport u is if u got atleast 5 songs for to like , confessions was it that is all

  • Cherry

    Excuse me, but why is the author acting like at 34 you’re now over the hill??? (Yes I am about to be 34 myself and therefore extremely sensitive but that’s not the point), but damn, I don’t see him as being out of order in the least. Now if he’s in his 40s, almost 50 and still talking about take downs at the club, I would understand the head scratching and hand wringing, but the man is 33 years old dammit! He has a few more take down years in him yet before he starts wearing his grown man pants, rubbing with bengay and popping geritol. He’s no geezer by any stretch!! smh (lol at Kelz peeing on the little girl though!)

  • CarlaKah

    I Agree.

  • chanela

    and the people coming out the wood-works telling those who see this as obviously ridiculous “stop hating, they makin money! don’t know the hustle” will come out in 5,4,3,2….lol

  • Annie

    Thanks for sharing those artist……I still love Usher’s music….I agree with the article in that he should stay away from the techno/pop. I have to agree Dream when he said black artist can’t do R&B anymore…….

  • TruthHurts

    this was a great article. i feel the exact way on all of these points.

  • disqus_WfmNqv9gsC


  • Chlo


  • EmEsEn

    I totally agree with this article..i was disappointed with his honestly lacked maturity and was all over the place. The first two releases…climax and scream are great songs, Numb and Twisted are also good..but everything else just falls flat. He is really trying to stay current when he does not have to fall into the “tween/teenage” market…his true fans are now 25-40 years he needs to man up and appeal to them

  • ChrissyA

    Why does there have to be only one singer on top… this article is redic…. If you don’t like his music then don’t by it…

  • Charity Nancy

    i have been an usher fan for as long as hear has been out. All of his music is good he is an established artist. This article is so negative lemme see is not even his latest single what this writer clearly has not seen dive or listened to his whole album. Usher is mainstream he is talented, one of the best falssetos not even Chris Brown or Trey Songz can match. Yes i do agree they are younger and sexier but there is nothing wrong with a grown man pleasing a younger crowd. I love Usher all day every day.. the more you hate the more blessings. 7 grammys hollywood walk of fame 2013 he is in a league of his own. I suggest you buy tickets to his next concert mr entertaiment…judge for yourself as a matter of fact Trey Songz was one of his opening acts for OMG and he had the nerve to sing someelse’s hit song that didnt even appeal to the audience.. smh.. USHER YEAHMAN


    If your rhymes are all about conspicuous consumption, gang violence and features an over abundance of heavy grunts, leave the social commentary to those who, you know, give a fawk. Also, keep your shirt on. Folks are tired of seeing you parade your man-boobs around likeMcDonald’s Grimace with a microphone. Where is the Hamburgler when you need him?”

    Love it…todays music is pure garbage!!

  • Blanconatalia

    Whoever wrote this article is a negative hater. Usher has always reinvented himself to assure he appeals to those who are most willing to buy his music. Maybe you’re just old and stuff and should get a life Charing Ball. Usher is iconic. Get off his nutz please.

  • Although you have a point. I still much rather prefer Usher over Trey Songz any day of the week. He can still get it. So continue taking your shirt off Mr. Raymond.. I sure as heck don’t mind.

    And on a side note I do believe he did try with his Here I stand album, but everyone wasn’t feeling his “grownup” sound.

    • nikole

      no he just didn’t do the grownup sound like he should have everyone was expecting confessions 2 and he fell short he came with weak songs and overkill on the ego at a time when many felt like true reflection should have been his goal , i love usher all day everyday but that album makred the beginine=g of the end . he faild to give a solid album after confessions and 8701 were so good dude fell short the high expectaions on him and he never reagined his place on top . his songs sing of a sad end like it’s 3am and the club is closing he ain;t got the girl yet when he should be in the midldle of his encore going for grown up is had to do when you have the weight of the world (in a sense) on your shoulders look at mickeal he had some amzing ups and some terrible downs , i just know that usher will never live up to the expectaions of his mentor i dobut there are any true porducers willing ot bring back real music as some many og them only know how to 808 and beat machine they way through life, and getting with ti ain’t helping you either bruh it’s time for us to stop dreaming this silly little dream.

  • guess I’ll wait for that D’angelo album…

    • suthernhummingbyrd

      I know that’s right!Usher is just ridiculous, he lost me on that “OMG” song years ago. And you are so right, he needs to conduct himself like the living legend he is-and not like some starved desperate old head trying to pick up yungins in the club. This music combined with his latest antics concerning his personal life are exhausting, and I get tired just hearing his music because I know he is trying waaaay too hard.

  • NeddyB

    Usher is a ‘somewhat’ recently divorced man with 2 kids… true, but I don’t see anything wrong with what he chooses to sing about. Even if he chose to go act out those things, who cares… let him. Divorce can be hell and his was definitely that. The guy deserves to do whatever he damn pleases (and ‘m sure his kids are just fine with the sitter, nanny, or Tameka). I also enjoy his latest. Despite the fact that it is catering to a new smashup genre… it still surprisingly, works for him. He proved that it can be pulled off despite his elderly age of 34. Since when are 34 year olds limited to adult contemporary and juke joint-joints??? I commend some of the writer’s points (especially those on Rick Ross… no disagreement there), but at the end of the day Usher is not R. Kelly (and why the hell should he follow that route). The swingout/in the closet isht works for Kells and has always been a part of who R Kelly is. Usher gave us the mashup of lil Jon and R&B. To this day I still get my over 30 year old azz crunk to “Yeah”and “Love in this Club”… Usher is talented and if he still excels, let him. If it backfires… at least he took a risk… nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  • On point! Especially about Rick Ross. On Usher, I actually feel like he’s regressing. It seems like when he was in his younger days he was a little more mature. He has a beautiful voice and doesn’t have to do club music to make money. But at the same time, I can’t see him singing about real-life issues. He’s a crooner, he needs to be singing about love, a subject he’s probably out of touch with at this point. He’s probably just trying to keep the checks coming in.

  • Jenn

    I loved this article. At some point I laughed out loud, while at work…#BRAVO…I agree with everything the author said…#ismile

    • NONEYA

      Me too, the only thing missing was Brian Mcknights name ’cause he needs to stop trying to capture the youngins and stick to the fans and music that made him a crossover sucess!

  • hasn’t had a hit since confessions

  • Renee399

    Y hate so hard on either of them. I love Usher (although he does need to step it up) and correctional officer or not – what Rick Ross has done with Maybach Music is incredicle. He relaunched Wale’s career who wouldve flew under the radar w/o Ross and I always thought he was good. I love me some Trey Songz and Breezy too. They all talented in their own unique way. No need to compare.

    • TruthHurts

      they are only being compared because Usher is at the age where his work and musical content should mature as he does. The point is that it hasn’t.

  • realadulttalk

    I actually like Usher for the first time since he Confessed (lol) Sooo, I don’t agree so much with this article. Usher doesn’t write for Rick (so that was a bit lost on me). Anywho–after a divorce and 2 kids…he should be trying to find himself. Who he was is not who he now is–one would hope. So yes, he might actually be out in the club again trying to figure out who he is and what he wants out of life. When someone is going thru things–their music tends to reflect that. Now, this should have been aimed at Trey who for several years has been trying to convince the world that he’s got that magic stick. Is anyone convinced?? I’m not even somewhat swayed–that’s a character who needs to broaden his musical horizons.

  • me

    Amen. I couldn’t have said it better myself…

  • Erin

    “Also, keep your shirt on. Folks are tired of seeing you parade your man-boobs around likeMcDonald’s Grimace with a microphone. Where is the Hamburgler when you need him?” I die! hahaha I had to laugh out loud at work to that one, so true.

    I agree with this article and the funny thing is I was just having the same conversation an hour ago with my co-worker about how much we dislike the radio and stick to Pandora and things like that. I was literally talking about Usher and how he needs to stop trying to be relevant by making that horrible techno-pop-rap-r&b crap when hes already relevant. When your in your’e teens and early/late twenties it makes sense to sing about sex and things like that but as you mature in the game, mature in your music as well, as you said take your fans to a new level, a new you as a performer. I understand that your goal is to make money but I think it shouldn’t be so much about it that you turn your back on all the fans that supported you and got you to the level your on by making horrible music to appeal to a certain demographic that you never would of targeted in the first place.

  • gracie

    I love this song(lemme see), every times it comes on my bf gets in the mood.

  • Britt

    I really like Usher’s album “Looking for Myself.” R&B music in general is in a weird state right now with artists crossing over to pop/techno music. To me, what Usher really succeeded at with this album was giving urban radio two hit singles with “Climax” (number 1 on Billboard) and “Lemme See,” which was on every radio station and charted on Billboard. (Trey Songz and Chris Brown, who I both LOVE didn’t do that with their new albums but still debuted at #1 as did Usher). He said it himself, that as an artist you have to “evolve or evaporate.” A lot of fans and critics want Usher to repeat what he did on “Confessions,” but that wasn’t Usher’s story, that was Jermaine Dupri’s story. I didn’t believe him on “Raymond vs. Raymond” with some of those songs, but he’s one of the biggest stars in music, so I think he’ll be fine.


    Im sorry. Have to diagree. THis song moves me. Ithink Usher “still got it.” Usher has longevity and I’m still a fan. SO what he isnt 25 anymore, (or however old Trey Songz is) I never really been a BIG Trey fan. I like a few songs here and there but wouldnt buy an album. He is STILL talented and handsome, that body, that sex appeal. I’m sorry, Ursh can get it before Trey can.

  • Candacey Doris

    While i don’t think he should be making songs about laundry (i have to do my own i on’t care about his) i think he needs to age better. In his personal life and his music. Maybe he’s trying to seem carefree and like the mess with his ex isn’t bothering him, but it’s coming off desperate and even impacting his court case. And teaming up with Rick Ross, how could he? That fake no talent….not good enough,

  • No Disrespect

    I agree. He is way too old for this nonsense. Where is the maturity that’s supposed to come with being a 34 y/o father of two?! Where is the growth?! I do like “Dive” though…the first song I’ve liked since “Moving Mountains.”

    • nikole

      so true i ‘ iloved moving mountians but eveyrthing else he done has been crazy and let me be honest some of us youngin are not fans of this technopopr&b crap i still love my r;kelly and all that

  • Kashbmaryd

    Usher needs to do he has perfected over past decade and make his money. ThoughI do agree with the Ross comment (he did sound like he was going through the motions on that one, Plies would have done it better).

  • Billie

    It’s disgusting to compare a seasoned musican to a new one. Usher was bomb back in the day.

    • disqus_WfmNqv9gsC

      key phrase “back in the day”