The last time
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.