Usher music review

Dishing on former flames has been Usher Raymond IV’s best career move

Music feature

Raymond v Raymond
2/5

Dishing on former flames has been Usher Raymond IV’s best career move; the 31-year-old’s biggest chart success has generally come at the expense of his private life. That, and some top producers, made 2004’s Confessions one of the last decade’s best-selling records. Now, in hopes of recapturing those numbers, he’s presented himself anew. Newly single, that is, and ready to spill the beans on Raymond v Raymond.

The other Raymond in question is Tameka Foster, his former wife and baby mama. While airing your dirty laundry is tacky, Usher milks it over 14 urban R&B cuts, most prominently on ‘Papers’. The Atlanta crooner struggles to position himself as a martyr over verses such as ‘I done damn near lost my mama/I done been through so much drama.’ It’s the rare slow jam that’s not an aphrodisiac.

Raymond, his sixth album, lacks the catchy club bangers powering Confessions. The closest thing is ‘Lil Freak’, a robotic number sampling Stevie Wonder, gleefully abetted by the suddenly ubiquitous female MC Nicki Minaj, who boasts, ‘Everybody loves Raymond’. It’s good to see him mixing with the opposite sex on good terms, but if Usher’s smart he’ll cultivate a few more female adversaries to fuel future confessions.
Areif Sless-Kitain
Available now in stores.

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