With more than 45 million albums sold,
"I'm Usher, the one and only," he laughed last week during a sitdown with MTV News in New York. "For me, I think [Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye] — they figured out what they were as they were going, by inspiration as well. Philanthropy is one thing all of them did in some way — rather, it was allowing their music to speak to where they were and what they had to say, from Michael to Stevie Wonder to Marvin. The one thing they all had is the ability to last forever. Two of them are now gone, Michael and Marvin, their music will last forever, and that's something I hope to accomplish."
Usher's catalog is certainly solid, with his 2004 Confessions LP considered by many to be his best (it's sold more than 10 million copies just in the U.S.). The singer's new LP, Raymond v. Raymond, was released today (March 30).
"Part of the reason why I did this album so you can understand the full spectrum of who I am as an artist," Usher said about the album. "My life has been kinda played out as a journey and going through different chapters, with the albums representing the chapters. It's the sixth album for me. And when I look back to the people that I admire, I admire people who take you on a journey to where they have been, musically, places they have gone; the culture of that time that affected them, the cultural movement. All of that, they figured out a way to encompass it in the music they made. That's what this album is."
"This album means so much to my career," Usher told MTV.com recently. "I think this is the one time where I'm able to put it all in, emotionally and the good times — super-freaky and then also super-emotional. Raymond v. Raymond, artistically, is one of my greatest pieces of work, not only just because of the content but also the people whom I got involved in it: T.I., Will.I.Am, Puff, Nicki Minaj ..."
The album also features a collaboration with Ludacris — who collaborated on one of Usher's biggest hits, 2004's "Yeah!" — on "She Don't Know." And the video for the Will I. Am. collaboration, "OMG," recently hit the Internet. The clip is all performance as Usher brings his dance moves to the forefront.
"A lot of people may have felt like I lost my swagger," Usher said. "Let me tell you something: I play long-balls, so now we back. This one is it: Raymond v. Raymond!
What do you think of Usher's new album? Has he gotten his swagger back? Was it ever gone? Let us know in the comments below!