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Jonetta Patton has been everything to Usher: mother, friend and manager. Since she's been there every step of the way, who better to tell MTV some little-known stories about Ush, before he made it big?

"He's gonna be shocked when he sees these pictures," Patton, who runs J-Pat Management, said upon delivering some exclusive photos to MTVnews.com. "He's gonna be like, 'She's wild.' "

Peep the lowdown as we hear all about one of Usher's Christmas gifts going up in smoke, why mother thought it was best he be a solo artist and why he refused to wear shorts and the matching jacket.


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"Usher was about 10 years old. This is a picture from a photo shoot we did for Mother's Day. Mother's Day is such a special day, filled with so much love. My kids, they always surprise me. [One year] he bought me a Jaguar. That was the best gift, I was really surprised! I drive pretty fast; I have so many tickets now. The judge told me, 'If you come before me again, I'm going to take your license for good.' "


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"He' real little here, 4 years old. This was in Chattanooga. He was on his grandmother's porch, sitting on his great-grandmother's knee and a bee had stung him on his ear. He already has really big ears, and when the bee stung him he had a bigger ear."



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"Usher really, really loves this picture. He was about 2. We took this picture at JC Penney's. I really went crazy for that picture. I would really get in trouble with JC Penney's because I would go in there just about every day shopping for him. He had the prettiest stroller that they had. He had one of those really big Winnie the Pooh stuffed animals that they had. I mean, I bought him everything. He was one of the best dressed little babies that you've ever seen."


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"This was his first birthday, a very, very special moment. This was right before we left Dallas. Let me tell you something about Usher, when he was a kid, birthday parties were real special occasions. He's that way now. It's all about his birthday. He was so spoiled. When he was young, we made a big deal out of birthday parties, so when other people's kids had birthday parties, he thought it was his birthday party too and got really mad because he wanted to be the center of attention. I have a story about his hair, too. His hair was really long and I used to plait it. When we moved back to Chattanooga, his hair was so pretty but it was just getting out of control. One day I came home and somebody cut his hair. I don't know to this day who cut it. And he couldn't tell me who did it. I was really mad."


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"This is when he was signed to LaFace Records, he was 13 years old. I had taken him out of a singing group that he felt was just it for him. The name of the group was the New Beginning, it was a bad experience. He was hurting, he was sad because I took him out. Oh my God, he told me I had destroyed his whole life. So this picture really has a lot of meaning. It was about three months after I took him out of the group."


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"Ooh, this is so funny. He was 6 years old here. I would dress him in the Stride Rite shoes and little shorts and jacket for church up until he was 7 years old. He told me, 'I am not wearing the shorts, I'm not doing it.' [He had several short-and-jacket sets], blue, yellow, white, dark blue, the light blue. I believe this is on the church steps."


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"You know who Santa Claus is in this picture? It's L.A. Reid! These were Christmas cards LaFace sent out one year. Usher might've been 7 here. Christmas was really a big holiday for us and he still celebrates that way. The best gift that I've given Usher was a Range Rover. It burned up, the car actually burned up. He drove it to the office because it was smoking and he got out of the car and it just burst into flames, right in front of my office. I will never forget that, that was crazy. That was probably five or six years ago."


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"He's about 8 years old. This is a little school picture. He was pretty good in school when he was younger, but as he got older he just got in trouble all the time. The only way I can explain him was he was always this mischievous kid. He was always getting in trouble with the little girls. He always loved girls."


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"He was 9 years old. He was singing in the choir at church, doing a solo. I knew that he could sing at the age of 9, but I knew he could sing professionally when he was around 11 because he was a part of that little group."



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"Usher was about 9 years old, he might've been 10. I was trying to get him in a McDonald's commercial. He auditioned, he was good, but he didn't get the part. Of course, you know I'm mommy so I was mad, like, 'What's wrong with you guys?' "



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Photo: courtesy of The Patton family

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