He’s dated Chilli. He’s danced with Beyoncé. And now, Usher is hooking up with another beautiful songstress — Alicia Keys.
According to Jermaine Dupri, the two have recorded a duet called “My Boo,” and it’s going to have just as much or even more impact than “Burn” and “U Got It Bad.”
“It’s crazy,” Dupri said on Thursday in Brooklyn, New York, after taping his ESPN show, “Cuttin’ Up.” “It didn’t make [Confessions], we gonna do something crazy like [add it] to his album. Everybody that bought this album, they gonna have to buy it again ’cause the song is crazy. It makes the picture that much more complete.”
JD says the picture that the song paints is that A. Keys and Mr. Raymond had something going on in the past.
“People are going to think that if Alicia has a boyfriend, Usher was her man in the beginning,” he foretold. “It’s a record like, ‘No matter what, you’ll always be my boo. Regardless if I see you on TV with this n—a and you acting like you love him, I know I was the first person you kissed.’ [Alicia's verse] is like that too. ‘No matter what girl you end up with, or you all up on TV acting like you this and that and the third, you always gonna be my boo.’
“They ain’t never date, not that I know of, so don’t start the rumors, but that’s what the song is gonna make you think,” JD added with a laugh. “A lot of people is gonna believe that story. It’s good TV talk, but that ain’t what’s really going on. It’s a good duet.”
“My Boo” isn’t the first pairing of Keys and Usher. The two worked on a remix of “If I Ain’t Got You,” which was released in the U.K.
“We thought about a bunch of different women for ['My Boo'], but my relationship with Alicia has been good since day one,” Dupri explained. “They’re both in the BMG family. Clive [Davis] thought it would be good. Usher’s singing and her singing, it just seemed like it would work.
“Confessions is gonna be complete now,” the producer added. “I feel that [once] we put this ‘My Boo’ record on the album, it’s complete. It’s Thriller 2004. It’s gonna go down in history as one of the best R&B albums of our time.”
The plan, according to Jermaine, is to release “My Boo” once “Confessions Part II” runs its course as a single. He says the new version of the album should be coming out in August and will feature several songs from the U.K. version of the album that were omitted from the U.S. pressing, such as “Red Light” and “Sweet Lies.” A DVD will also be included.
Usher’s label says that while there has been talk about re-releasing Confessions, nothing is definite. Regardless, there’s been plenty of Usher records floating around that are not on the original version of the album. Kanye West says he just recorded a remix of “Confessions Part II,” and “Sweet Lies” and “Confessions Part I” have hit the mixtapes. “Red Light” has even gotten airplay on at least two radio stations across the country. Here is a brief rundown of some records that are out there and could pop up if and when Confessions is reissued:
The Song: “Confessions Part I”
The Solidarity: Jermaine Dupri (writer and producer)
The Scoop: If you already have the Confessions album, no doubt you’ll be familiar with the lyrics from this song’s first verse, “Every time I was in L.A. I was with my ex-girlfriend …” But there’s more. Much more. Originally that interlude was part of a record called “All Bad (Confessions)” and later it changed to “Confessions Part I.”
“He never said ‘confessions,’ in the hook,” Jermaine said of the original record. “Then when we came up with ‘Part II,’ he said ‘confessions’ in the hook so it fit better with the record. But I don’t think everybody was in tune with the whole mind-set of what I was doing.”
If it had been up to JD, he would have had a 10-minute version of “Confessions I and II,” where one song would have segued into the other.
“I wrote the first ‘Confessions’ when I was in L.A.,” Dupri said. “He loved it and said, ‘Let’s keep pushing it.’ He was like, ‘The story can’t end, something else gotta happen. The girl has to get pregnant or something.’ ”
The Song: “Throwback” remix
The Solidarity: Jadakiss (guest vocals), Just Blaze (producer)
The Scoop: Mr. Raspy blew his chance at being a part of history. The version of “Throwback” as we know it was originally supposed to include 16 bars of death from Kiss, but according to the Yonkers, New York, native, he kinda kissed off Mr. Entertainment.
“They sent that song to me to make it on the album,” said Kiss, who raps about wanting “L.O.V.E. back” on the new version. “Me being a dummy, not knowing he was going to sell 1.1 million first week, I was on my Hollywood Kiss, being lackadaisical and took too long to send it back. It missed mastering. I seen him doing 1.1, I put it out immediately; white label to the DJs, MP3s. I’m gonna capitalize off them sales he’s making. I’m not a fool.”
The Song: “Sweet Lies”
The Solidarity: Neptunes (writing and production)
The Scoop: The untruth never tasted so good. That is, if you’re the one doing the fabricating. Mr. Entertainment is hurting; his stomach is aching and his palms are sweaty. He’s been bamboozled and led astray, so here he is, second-guessing himself and wishing aloud that he could find that one “special girl.” Usher wants her to “save the day” and hopes “she’ll get it when I say, ‘I don’t want to go on in this life thinking, why baby why?’ ”
When the Neptunes devised this song last year with the hopes of getting Usher to sing on their Clones album, he wasn’t the only singer they envisioned on the track. According to Chad Hugo, he and Pharrell originally approached both Usher and Justin Timberlake for an überduet. Unfortunately, JT’s and Mr. Ent’s schedules couldn’t match up. Still, Hugo approves of Mr. Raymond’s solo rendition. “The song’s dope. I hope it comes out over here,” Hugo said.
The Song: “Red Light.”
The Solidarity: Lil Jon (producer)
The Scoop: The omission of this song from the LP had the track’s producer, Lil Jon, saying, “Whuuuut!?” The beat sounds like the score to a car-chase scene in a futuristic sci-fi flick. It’s unrelenting, fast-paced and crunk. Usher sings about being caught up in the rapture after a night of lust that was just supposed to be a one-off. But the jump-off was too good and Ush wants more as he reminisces while in traffic. “It was supposed to be just one night/ In and out and I’m out the door,” he sings. “But she’s got me sitting here at the red light, riding round looking out for her …/ Why am I sitting here at the red light, riding round looking out for her?”
“Everybody’s been at the red light like [that],” said Lil Jon, explaining the record.
“Red Light” was recorded around the same time as “Yeah!,” when Usher had to go back in the lab to record additional tracks for Confessions.
For a full-length feature on Usher, check out “Usher: King Me.”