Now while some fans are still suffering the post-effects of Usher's lackluster 2008 release...wait, wait, what was the name of that album again? Oh, that's right, Here I Stand. Anyway, as music lovers await a "make-up" a.k.a. "apology" follow-up to the solo project, I'm still hoping to get signs of a 2002-'ish return of the "U"-chain wearing kid we all remember.
Granted, the medallion has been retired longer than Shaq's Wal-Mart sneaker line and Tameka Foster is officially out the door, however, I still can't help but desire to see the "old" Ush-er...remember when his buzz had you hating your classmates because he was so close to your own age and felt like he was stealing "your" girls...okay, maybe a bit too personal right there, however, it's the Usher we all remember from going ghost (Swayze) after his '97 debut up through 2001 when he shocked folks with 8701 that I miss. It's the Usher from whom no one really expected "greatness," but came back and hit you with smash after smash after smash......"U Remind Me," "U Got It Bad," up through the time when Diddy discovered his "invention" of remixes collection which then sparked collaborations on tracks like "I Need A Girl." Remember "that" guy?
Now don't get me wrong, yes, he made a huge name for himself off of 2004's Confessions and going "A Milli" "A Milli" in just a few days back in March '04 was nothing less than sttuuupiiddd sickly nice. Yes, I do remember "that" guy, but he still is a far cry from the '01-'02 Usher we still cherish to this day. Think about it for a minute, could you credit the 2004 success "without" having shocked the game with "8701?" Could fans have really imagined him rocking back on remixes alongside an incarcerated Shyne rapping through a phone (do your research, kiddies) or even snagging Jadakiss for that "Throwback" record without the 2001 hit record?
..........................MOMENT OF SILENCE.........................
Yes, it is to that regard in which I hear all the 2004 comparisons and complaints about how "Here I Am" was nothing less than a schmack in the face performance-wise and as far as content is concerned. True, I hear that, but may I retort that it all generates from the early '00's comeback run that we can even attribute the '04 success or the greatness which has become Usher? A Grammy award-winning movie star (remember The Faculty?) and tabloid exploited celebrity who was on the verge of going full metal cougar on Chilli?
So as the media attention heightens, Raymond vs. Raymond gets an early December 2009 album push-up and the legal distance (and efforts) he has placed against former wife, Tameka Foster, I leave you readers with one final impression....think back. So Jay-Z may have said, "I keep hearing Hov bring it back, I'm doing better now than before, why would I wanna do that" and we can all look at life, music or not, as growth and learning through experience...however, when all the smoke and mirrors settle down and Usher's career is looked at closer than 2000 election votes, I only hope people can look past the numbers game and look at the true highlight of his career and why it may simply be seen as the greatest and most successful comebacks of an artist. -Cyrus Kyle Langhorne