What the hell has happened to Usher? When “Confessions” dropped, Usher was the glove apparent to Michael Jackson. He was an R&B Jesus. He was co-creator of one of the most dynamic R&B albums of the last decade. Usher Raymond was a big bright star. Things have definitely changed.
Usher’s new album is an absolute and unequivocal shit sandwich. This is what happens when you get comfortable, start marrying woman half your age, firing your momager who is actually your biological mother and walking around with man purses and shit. The name of Usher’s new album is Raymond vs. Raymond. The fuck? Didn’t T.I. do the split personality thing before he got sent to the slammer? And he stole that concept from somebody before him (insert rapper here).
Usher sounds uninspired and lost on Raymond vs. Raymond. He is now the thirty one year old father of two kids, so why the fuck is he singing about kinky sex on the entire album? Sorry Usher. Trey Songz stole you and R. Kelly’s concepts and personified them and he doesn’t even have to dance. (That’s how gangsta Trey Songz’ thievery is.) It’s similar to when Nas was putting out all that shitty music and Jay-Z came along and kicked him when he was down, kind of like that. Trey Songz is the hottest thing in R&B right now. And all he does is make wounded animal noises on a track and the young girls go Manson (you’ll figure this out later on) and some old ladies too. I even like “Say Ahh” and I’m two steps away from the Geritol aisle in the grocery store.
R.Kelly in my opinion is the king or should I say the Pope (because of his carnal lust for young flesh) of this annoying style of sex crazy R&B music. He was on top before Trey Songz and Usher but, his secret stash of panties from Children’s Place eventually did him in. He still has a career but who really gives a fuck at this point? We just play the old shit over and over again. Chris Brown, who was a contender for the throne, allowed his integrity issues and his right and left hooks to do him in even before he could really get heated up. Now he is crying and bitching up on The EBT awards of all places.
This brings me back to Usher Raymond IV. It seems that Usher is being haunted by the ghosts of The Mis-Education of Lauryn Hill, Illmatic, Voodoo and a few other groundbreaking albums. What I mean by that is he made an album so good that he’ll probably never record another album as palpable as “Confessions” ever again. It seemed like his mind frame was different during the making of “Confessions”, it sounded as if he was in a different emotional state. “Confessions” was like a plea to be understood, a long ass audio testimony to Chilli and any other woman he may have fucked over during that time. The emotional stakes were high, he gambled and he won big for letting us all in on his business.
It hurts me to say this about a fellow Libra but, Usher is on the outs. If Raymond vs. Raymond is the musical path that Usher is going to take from here on out, I don’t know if he can recover and it is all “Confessions’ fault. He chose the slightly retarded but well endowed Nikki Minaj to duet with on that "Lil Freek" song. Usher sounds desperate and out of touch and Nikki Minaj sounds well, retarded. The release date for Raymond vs. Raymond was pushed back several times and he made matters worse by wearing that leather breast plate at the NBA All Star game performance. I hope Usher invested well and saved some money for a rainy day and keeps Justin Beiber around, because if he stays on his current recording path we’ll be playing “Confessions” over and over again like we play R. Kelly’s old shit.
Friday night I went to see “Our Family Wedding” the new movie where the black dude from House of Payne (I know) and Ugly Betty get married. I thought that it would be an opportunity to get some much needed rest, but Sadly, I ended up watching the whole damn movie. In the first five minutes I knew that this movie was going to suck ass. I think the director took the worst elements from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Best Man and Rachel’s Getting Married and tried to make a comedy. The fuck? “Our Family Wedding” had very few funny moments and that’s really an understatement. One gag that sticks out involves a goat eating some Viagra (yeah, really), if you have an imagination and you’ve seen other tired films, you can probably guess what happened.
Our Family Wedding wasn’t good. I’ve seen this film at least a thousand other times but with a semblance of a plot. The African-American and Mexican leads were refreshing but that’s not so unusual and that was all that was fresh about this movie. Forrest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia played the two dads who already hated each other before they knew their children were planning to be married. So they do their best to control the couple’s plans in accordance to their cultural traditions: catholic vs. baptist, burritoes vs. collard greens, the electric slide vs. the macarena etc.
I think the director was aiming for a heartwarming cross cultural comedy. But how many times do we have to witness the same ethnic jokes like “once you go black you don’t go back” and a goat and mariachi band at the wedding? I now understand why Forrest Whitaker doesn’t do much comedy; Idi Amin is not good at it. If you don’t like Carlos Mencia, your hate won’t change after seeing this. Lance Gross and America Ferrara play the young lovers. Maybe it’s just me but they had no chemistry whatsoever, they were cute though. I love Regina King but she was under used in this film. I am having flashback of those nauseating, annoying and gratuitous wedding reception dance scenes (vomits in my throat) as I type this. The plot was so thin that they even threw a food fight in there, a fuckin food fight. I’m done because if I continue I will write about the ongoing gag involving the BabyFace song “As Soon As I Get Home”. (Yeah, Really).
Back in the day I was a big Gangstarr fan. There was a show titled pump it up that came on fox (I know I'm old) that showed hip hop videos. My introduction to Guru (gifted unlimited rhymes universal) and DJ Premier was their video Manifest, It was like nothing I ever heard before. What stood out most to me at the time was Guru’s smooth voice. As time went on Gangstarr dropped a couple of classic albums and plenty of dope singles. They are definitely one of my favorite hip hop groups of all time. Today I found out that Guru (Keith Elam) had a heart attack and is in a coma. I wish the legendary emcee a speedy recovery and my prayers go out to him and his family. While he is recovering I’ll be bumping Step in the Arena nonstop.