The last time [artist id=”1270″]Usher'[/artist]s art was inspired by his life, the singer went on to sell 10 million copies of his 2004 ode to breakups and make-ups, Confessions. If his new song “Papers” is any indication, his upcoming album Raymond vs. Raymond may break some sales records.
The track could be heard as a postmortem on his relationship with Tameka Foster-Raymond, from whom the singer filed for divorce in June after nearly two years of marriage. The pair, who have two children together, endured a contentious union filled with speculation over feuding and infidelity. On “Papers,” Usher pulls back the curtain, revealing that a rumored rift between him and his mother was very real.
“For you I gave my heart and turned my back against the world/ ’Cause you were my girl, girl, girl,” he sings on the chorus. “I done damn near lost my mama, I done been through so much drama/ I done turned into the man I never thought I’d be/ I’m ready to sign them papers.”
Just weeks after the divorce, “Papers” songwriter Sean Garrett told MTV News that he and Usher worked on an “explosive” number about a breakup. Garrett claims, however, that the record was not directly inspired by real life; he said he wrote the song prior to the singer’s divorce filing.
“Let’s say I wrote a record for Usher three or four months ago where I really didn’t have any idea of what he was going through personally. I work really hard at creating records I feel that’s gonna fit like a glove to an artist,” Garrett explained. “Me and Usher have a close relationship; I tend to sort of assist certain artists in giving them a direction, where I think they need to go in their next move. I felt that was the direction we needed to go. I felt that was the question everyone wanted to know: Was [his relationship] good or was it bad? Was it right? Are you happy or you’re not?”
At the time of the divorce filing, Foster believed her marriage to Usher was intact , according to papers filed in an Atlanta court. In February her husband rushed to her aid after a botched cosmetic surgery resulted in Foster suffering a cardiac arrest . In better times, Usher defended his wife, most memorably during an appearance on MTV’s “TRL.”
But on “Papers,” Usher paints a much different picture of the relationship, a far cry from wedded bliss. “I ain’t afraid to say I got needs, but the only time you here for me/ Is when the bottles are popping and everything is sweet,” he sings during a slow groove.
Originally titled Monster, Raymond vs. Raymond is tentatively slated to be released later this year.