Usher didn't learn his lesson. He messed up again. After making love in the club, he lost the girl of his dreams on a new song called "Best Thing," featuring Jay-Z. The two recorded the cut with producer Jermaine Dupri during the Atlanta stop of Jay's Heart of the City Tour.
Hov starts the song by talking about a bachelor who has reservations about getting hitched: "Can't give a ring up/ I couldn't give a f---, how could I give a finger?/ Let alone half baths and closets/ So claustrophobic, in fear of close objects."
"Listen, is there any chance that you remember me being any more than just a horrible man?" Usher sings. "And would you consider pullin' this trigger and taking a second shot at romance?/ Oh baby, I want the days when you were my girl and I was your man/ Know I took you for granted/ But it wasn't until now I see how much I miss you."
"We got together on his album, got back together on this one," Usher told MTV Base of the record. "Of course, with the talk of both of us now being newlyweds, there is a question as to why, and is it real? Well, if you hear that [song], you'll understand what [Jay] meant when he says, 'Seeds becomes plants/ Boys become men/ You've got to grow up, not down.' "
"Best Thing" and "Love in This Club" are just part of the story on Usher's May 27 release, Here I Stand (listen to the whole album, for this week only, on MTV's "The Leak"!). There are a lot of messages of love and monogamy.
"Being a positive influence, being where you are, being honest about where you are is really the ultimate objective," he added. "I think that it's important to be honest. If it leads and people catch on to it, then they do it. If they miss it, then you've just missed it, but it is what it is, and you are what you are no matter where you are. If you are a playa, you're a playa. If you're a real man, you're a real man, but you know you got to — in some point in life — you've got to grow up. Grow away from certain immaturities. I was a younger guy in my last album, I'm somewhat a more mature individual as a result of the choices I have made, the direction I have taken. And that is conveyed in the song that me and Jay-Z did together."
The album's title track was played at Usher's nuptial ceremony.
" 'Here I Stand' was played at my wedding, which is why everybody thinks it was written specifically for that reason," he explained. "It wasn't; it was originally written before we were engaged or married. It was [my wife's] request to have it played at our wedding because it was suiting. If you listen to the words, it is very heartfelt, simplistic, yet very soulful. ... It's a man's words to his woman: a vow to say that you are the one, and I'll be there for you. You know, some people are ready to make that step, some people aren't. I think about this every time I put my albums together. I wonder where my fans are. Are they with me or have they grown with me? Well, the fan that was 21 when I was 21 is now 29. He or she probably has experienced this, feels this or has felt this. So I speak to you, but also complimenting the younger, up-and-coming fans with 'Love in This Club' and 'What's Your Name,' which are more lighthearted. But you get depth. It's almost like a complete story; you get a beginning, a middle and an end, and it's all there for you."
"Love in This Club," a former #1 record on the Billboard charts, is currently the fifth-highest-charting song in the country.
"Well, there weren't many people that we considered to be on the record," he said, explaining Young Jeezy's appearance on the track. "It's an ATL record, so it was very different. It was 'OK, you've got an ATL-sounding record, [so] you've gotta get one of the guys from Atlanta that really puts it down.' It was [producer Polow Da Don's] concept to put him on it. I think that Jeezy is one of the greatest MCs of our time, especially given his credibility. He has a very grounded fanbase, and to get [him] on this song and make it better, take it to the next level, was a compliment. So it was a good move on Polow's part."