Usher wants to be called the King of R&B: ‘I do deserve that’

Where has Usher been lately? I ask because I feel like I haven’t heard any new music by him in a while, though it’s very easy to think of the many hits from his extensive discography. And apparently, those hits are the reason he thinks he should be called the “King of R&B.” He appeared on a radio show recently to discuss the state of the genre and anointed himself, saying that he deserves it, he’s not going to ask for it anymore, and we’re going to give it. Okay then!

Usher says he is the king of R&B, no doubts about it.

Usher recently appeared on SiriusXM and Radio Andy’s “Bevelations” to discuss the status of R&B. The “Yeah!”, “OMG” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” singer proclaimed himself the King of R&B.

‘King, whatever you wanna call it. Yeah, I’ve been working to the point where I do own that, and I do deserve that,” Usher told host Bevy Smith. “And I ain’t gonna ask for it no more. You’re gonna give it. Because I did work for it.”

The eight-time Grammy-winner also rejected the idea that the genre is dying. Even if those statements come from colleagues like Sean Combs (P. Diddy).

“So when I do hear people, even like Puff [Daddy] saying, ‘You know R&B is dead.’ He sounds nuts to me,” Usher said. “It sounds, it sounds, it sounds crazy. You know, especially knowing he was a pioneer in understanding and beneficiary of it. You know, the source that is R&B created the breath of life that was breathed into hip-hop. It wouldn’t be.

“There would be no hip-hop if there were not R&B, so it’s blasphemous to hear me say, to hear people say anything, especially hip-hop cats, to say anything about R&B.”

[From ET Canada via Dlisted]

I mean, he certainly did work for it. He worked really hard for years and years and has the accolades to prove it. So he worked for it, owns it, and does deserve it. And yet… if you have to say it yourself that kind of sucks and detracts from your claim a bit. I can honestly say I never thought about who the King of R&B might be and if you’d asked me before this article I probably wouldn’t have thought Usher Raymond off the top of my head. But also if someone was like, “Usher is the King of R&B” I would just be accept it, like, “yeah, okay.” I do also completely agree with his rejection of the idea that the genre is dying. R&B is alive and well and it is definitely true that it breathed life into hip-hop. But, show, don’t tell: I think Usher should come out with a new R&B album with some awesome music videos to show us that R&B is not dead and that he is its One True King. “Yeah!” remains my favorite song to dance to, even more than “Back Dat Azz Up.”

Embed from Getty Images

Images credit: Cover Images, Getty and Instagram

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

52 Responses to “Usher wants to be called the King of R&B: ‘I do deserve that’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Noki says:

    Yeah this i can get behind not someone like Harry Styles being called the new King of Pop.

    • VIVAAVIVA says:

      I know I’m not in his target demo, but I have literally never heard one of his solo songs.

      Don’t come after MJ, dawg. And if we had to have a new King of Pop, it would be JT’s problematic self.

      • Haylie says:

        It’s an odd flex to brag about never having heard an Usher song while talking up a watered down MJ clone like Timberlake as the new King of Pop (R&B is the topic), but ok, I guess.

      • VIVAAVIVA says:

        @Haylie, I’ve never heard a Harry Styles song and would not dub him the King of Pop. Also does flex now just refer to having an opinion?

      • JesMa says:

        You’ve never heard Watermelon Sugar?!? I’ve heard a bunch of his songs, but can’t fathom how you avoided WS. It played constantly for a super long time.

      • SophieJara says:

        JT for Justin Timberlake?? But why? He had like three very dominant songs twenty years ago. I don’t feel like I can ever remember him being a significant part of the discussion around music, even the hits he had were completely derivative.

        If we want to go sideways into pop I would say Bad Bunny, but I know he doesn’t get put in the pop box. Sounds very pop to me though.

      • HeatherC says:

        I’m with @Vivaaviva. I haven’t heard any of Harry Styles’ solo music unless you count when he sang during a skit in SNL. After hearing one ID song I avoided it. Because it’s just not my jam. I know he put out a song called Watermelon Sugar but I couldn’t tell you the melody.

        I know some Usher songs, but not enough to brand him king of anything. But R&B isn’t my preferred music to listen to.

        Now whenever Ivan Moody from Five Finger Death Punch declares himself and his band the #2 metal band of all time, THAT I’ll fight him on.

      • Lov3zone says:

        JT is a joke! he couldn’t come CLOSE to being a king of pop…just let the MASTER MJ keep his crown cant no body knock it off…so come on knock it off!

    • Tiffany:) says:

      I think Rolling Stone put that “new king of pop” on their cover to be provocative and generate outrage, but the excuse they used was that he was the first person to be on all international covers of the magazine. But that’s a stretch.

  2. Lemons says:

    Did you not hear his Tiny Desk concert? That alone makes him the king to me. Just stunning performance and that’s without his choreography.

    • Fabiola says:

      I never thought of Usher as R&B. I thought he was a Pop artist. His music sounds like it’s in the same category as Justin Timberlake. They have a similar sound.

      • girl_ninja says:

        Vocally Timberlake cannot even come close to Usher. Folks tried because so much of white America wants to own everything but no.

      • Tiffany:) says:

        I always considered JT and Usher peers, because they both made pop and were strong dancers. Usher was waaaaaay more talented in all areas than JT. I did think of Usher as pop instead of R & B, but that is probably because of where
        * I * consumed his music (TRL), and not reflective of his overall catalog and impact on different communities of listeners.

  3. VIVAAVIVA says:

    I mean, I guess it makes sense, but when I think King of R and B, I think “Kings” and I think Boyz II Men.

  4. SAS says:

    Yea his disgusting personal life aside (I will never get the excruciating details of his std out of my brain), dude is a truly great R&B artist.

  5. Lightpurple says:

    Not while Stevie Wonder lives.

  6. Southern Fried says:

    I guess I didn’t know how this worked. Starting today I will be known as the Queen of Back-up Dancers. Since I am the best in my living room.
    Oh and in my car too. And damn it I deserve it.

  7. Eurydice says:

    Has Usher produced anything lately? I haven’t heard his name in a few years now.

  8. Owlsyn (Ableism is Not Cool) says:

    Anyone who thinks Usher is the most talented R & B artist today has clearly never heard me singing in my shower.

    I sound fantastic.

  9. Rai says:

    If Usher said he was the king of jelly rolls, I would agree. And it’s totally on brand for him to anoint himself.

    Mary J and Usher! Long may they reign.

  10. Mel says:

    I like Usher, but…. if we’re going to talk about pure vocal talent, the guys in Boys to Men beat him hands down. If we’re talking about doing everything, as long as Stevie Wonder is upright and drawing breath, he better go sit down somewhere……

  11. SIde Eye says:

    Well I’m the Queen of Recollections jackass. Years ago I read the Video Vixen’s book and it was an eye opener. She slept with hundreds and hundreds of people in the music industry and mostly had nothing bad to say about them (although many aren’t as good in bed as their lyrics suggest) P. Diddy or Puffy or Sean or whatever he calls himself had a very strange relationship with Farnsworth, which didn’t surprise me at all. And Puff slept with Karrine Stephens (the Video Vixen) I believe when he was dating JLO.

    Although Irv Goddi (don’t know if I’m spelling it right and I don’t care enough about him to google) came off like a jerk, there is only one person that got completely trashed in that book: Usher. If you believe her account (and I do) Usher is one of the most vile people on the planet. And extremely abusive. I believed her then. He’s a real piece of work.

    Fast forward over a decade later and Usher is knowingly spreading an STD (which is a crime) and then his defense was I’m so out of this lady’s league – I mean, look at her and look at me! There’s no way I would sleep with her. His legal team finally shut their traps when this woman provided the receipts. This unfortunate looking POS really thinks he’s Idris Elba. Um no And from what I saw of the lady, he was lucky to even get her. Like if I saw them on the street together I would think she outclasses Usher in every way – but then again I really can’t stand Usher.


    • Fabiola says:

      The herpes thing was deplorable. I never looked at him the same again. That poor woman. Also, his ex-wife. He son dies and then Usher takes full custody of her remaining sons like the next day. Doesn’t even let her grieve.

      • SIde Eye says:

        @Fabiola you are 100% correct. What a horrible person. And how much of a damn narcissist does one have to be to name all of his sons Usher? The way he did his ex wife was just vile. As for his self proclaimed kingdom, I can name 5 people off the top of my head who perform and sing better: Raphael Saadiq, Anthony Hamilton, Justin Bieber, Tevin Campbell, and Stevie Wonder. That’s without even thinking about it.

      • Mimi says:

        Anyone who thinks Justin Bieber or modern day Tevin Campbell is a better singer or performer than Usher cannot be taken seriously. Tevin had a beautiful, clear voice when he was younger and he can still hold a note but he does not sound the same, nor does he have the body of work or live performances that Usher has. Justin is fine as pop but never even enters the discussion when we are talking about the best of anything related to R&B.

      • Mel says:

        None of those men, with respect to their talent should EVER be mentioned in the same breath as Stevie Wonder. Stevie is on a level that they can only hope they can graze with their outstretched hands while standing on tip toe. Aretha, Stevie, Paul McCartney/ John Lennon, Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon are all perched on that level. Be grateful if you even get close.

      • SIde Eye says:

        Justin may be a douche canoe, but he can sing! And he can sing a whole lot better than Usher. You’re right that Tevin Campbell didn’t do a whole album on his cheating and getting his “chick on the side” knocked up. Usher’s lyrics are trash just like him. Tevin can still sing. The men from Troop can still sing. Tony Terry can still sing. And Boys to Men – every one of them better singers. Same with Mint Condition. Yeah Usher hustles and performs and he’s in your face more but is he better? Hell no. All these people sing better than Usher is my point. But it’s true that Stevie Wonder is in a class by himself and the other ones can’t touch him. I do agree with that point.

      • SIde Eye says:

        I’ll add that the issue is when I can name 15 people who sing better than you, you aren’t the king of anything. Michael Jackson was the king of pop. No one was on his level not at his time or afterwards. I don’t care for Elvis but yeah he was the King of Rock n Roll. I put Usher on par with Ne-Yo. Yeah talented and sells records. King though? No ma’am!

    • Both Sides Now says:

      Agree on all accounts!!! My ex husband has genital herpes and altered his STD test, which he didn’t come clean about until I was pregnant with our child. It’s a terrible disease and must not be withheld. IF a narcissistic asshole, like my ex, would willing hide it, so would Usher the king of being a douche and a narcissistic abusive pr!ck.

      You don’t declare yourself the king of anything, Usher. So STFU and sit down.

      • SIde Eye says:

        @BothSidesNow I am so sorry your ex did this! Now I’m adding your ex to a long list of douches I can’t stand! What a horrible thing to do and he put his wife and unborn child in danger. As for Usher, “King of being a douche and narcissistic abusive prick” is perfect wording!

  12. Lucía says:

    All of us GOT fans know what Tywin Lannister would say about this.

  13. Almondzy says:

    If you don’t listen to R&B, no need to comment 🥴

    Also, Usher has been EVERYWHERE lately. From his amazing Tiny Desk concert, to the debates on black Twitter about how there’s no other artist who could stand in a Versuz battle against him, to all the videos that have been posted lately of his skating in Atlanta, to his Vegas residency, I would say he truly is a great contender for King of R&B.

  14. Well Wisher says:

    I am not sure of R&B music in a commercial sense, but as a living vibrant culture, it simply returned to its roots.
    Like jazz, it has returned to the black church and gospel choirs in North America, just like reggae and soca in the Caribbean.
    It is used successfully in praise and worship, as was intended.

    It was attacked by commercial interests due to neo-soul being too hard to copy and the craven need for cross over hits.

    Usher can sing……..
    Why does he feel that he need a label?

  15. Hihahiha says:

    Just no. All kingdoms are being demolished.

    Viva republic!

  16. Chantal says:

    Not king but he’s had top R&B hits/iconic songs since he was a teenager & is an excellent performer. Definitely Stevie Wonder. MJ and Prince are also strong contenders. MJ for obvious reasons plus revolutionizing music videos. MJ labeled himself King of Pop, was ridiculed by the media for it then they had to stfu & acknowledge that truth when he repeatedly proved it. Prince moreso bc he: could play 27 instruments, wrote/produced/did most if not all of the vocals & played all the instruments on every album until Purple Rain (which Imo allowing the Revolution so much input on subsequent albums was a huge mistake). The very successful Purple Rain movie and album. He launched the Minneapolis sound & created, produced & wrote many songs for The Time (which included future super producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis), Vanity 6/Apollonia 6, The Family, Mazarati, renowned drummer Sheila E etc. He wrote hits for Sinead O’Connor, The Bangles, Chaka Khan, Sheena Easton etc and co wrote Stand Back with Stevie Nicks.

  17. jferber says:

    Stevie Wonder is King of Music as far as I’m concerned. Loved Prince, too.

  18. Eowyn says:

    Pretty clear there’s a lot of whataboutism going on in these comments. Lots of folks don’t even know what is R&B, and what is pop. R&B is a Black genre of music, and some of you are naming top Black superstars that aren’t “R&B artists”. All Black music isn’t R&B. You’re also naming white pop copycats that do not have the range to be considered anywhere near exceptional at a genre that requires deep knowledge of gospel aesthetics to even be considered good, much less great.
    There’s no point in weighing in on the GOAT if you don’t know about R&B or Black culture. Stevie Wonder is elite and amazing. The R&B canon is a thing, and most people outside of Black culture don’t know the greats, they know who had “crossover appeal”.

  19. Carrie says:

    Usher IS the King of R&B.
    JT was always an Usher tribute act!