Usher won’t do a Verzuz because he’s incomparable: ‘I’m a different animal’

There are so many singing lip-syncing rap battle music competition shows that it’s hard to keep track. One of them is Verzuz, which was created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz early in the pandemic and airs on Instagram and Apple Music. In the series, two artists sort of DJ battle against each other, playing ˜20 of their own tracks and talking about them. And usually the artists are paired with someone in their genre, a rival, if you will, e.g. there was a Brandy vs. Monica episode.

Anyway, Usher is one artist who likely will not be doing a Verzuz battle anytime soon. He has too many songs and he can’t be compared to anyone, so a Verzuz would just be Raymond v. Raymond.

Usher is revealing why he thinks a Verzuz battle wouldn’t be worth it.

During an appearance on the People Every Day podcast to discuss his Las Vegas residency thus far, the “My Boo” singer opened up about living in Sin City, how he indulges and revealed why he doesn’t want to do a Verzuz battle.

“I think if you ever came to my show, you would understand that I don’t even think a Verzuz could handle all of the songs that I have to be honest,” Usher, 43, told host Janine Rubenstein. “It’s like, I could do it by myself. But I don’t wanna do that. That’s not the purpose of Verzuz, me versus me.”

He continued, “But I think it’s great. It’s great to celebrate music. But the appreciation of it starts with understanding what it is and how long has it taken to do this legacy. And if you choose to compare it, what are you comparing to? Are you comparing it to itself?”

The Verzuz series was created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz during the pandemic as a virtual DJ battle. It consists of up to 20 rounds of what would be a musician’s hit songs, going head to head against other musicians’ tunes. But for Usher, when it comes to his music, there’s no comparison.

“I’m a different animal, man. I’m cut from a way different cloth man. And when you put those songs on, I’m telling you, I don’t think anybody in the world would want smoke with them songs.”

[From People]

Funnily enough, Usher’s Raymond v. Raymond album has an EP called Versus (2010, no connection), so in a way he really has done it already. He does have quite the extensive catalog of songs so he could really do a Verzuz against himself. After all, who would want to do battle against the King of R&B? He says battling himself is not the point of Verzuz, but it seems like he thinks he’s the only person that’s up to the job. I think he’s being a bit precious here. The series was created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz so obviously some big names, with discographies as extensive as Ushers, have participated. That’s including Earth, Wind, & Fire, The Isley Brothers, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, DMX and Snoop Dogg. Seriously, everyone is so notable I don’t even know who else to pull out to list here. I’m all for confidence and even a little bravado, but some things you should just let others say about you instead of saying them about yourself and I think “I’m cut from a different cloth” is one of them. So, no Verzuz in Usher’s future, but he extended his Las Vegas residency by 25 shows and he’s having a great time.

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10 Responses to “Usher won’t do a Verzuz because he’s incomparable: ‘I’m a different animal’”

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  1. Impy says:

    His diamond toothpick reminds me of SNL. By the time im done youll all be wearing gold plated diapers!

  2. Noki says:

    I have seen some names such as Chris Brown,R Kelly floating around. I am not sure a male vs female hasbeen done on Verzuz yet but maybe he can go against Beyonce (she would never do it) or Ciara. I am trying to think of a female equivalent..

    • Haylie says:

      Chris Brown can’t sing like Usher and R Kelly is a pedophile in prison.

      After seeing the results of some of these Versuz challenges, it became clear that lots of these make R&B singers are studio singers only.

      And then Usher did that Tiny Desk Concert and shut the wannabes down hard.

      They should stop begging Usher to make fools out of them.

      • Noki says:

        You are so right about that ,Omarion and Ray Js live vocals were appalling, i dont care about pop stars sounding horrible outside the studio because they usually have other theatrics to keep you entertained. But you cant call yourself an RnB singer if you cant sing a decent accapella.

  3. MsIam says:

    Ok, Usher. I hate to say this name, I really do but the one who would have been a good match is R. Kelly (shudder). Currently unavailable, thank god. Otherwise, maybe Ne-yo or Justin Timberlake? They are douches too, unfortunately.

  4. Chelsea says:

    I think he’s actually right tbh. Yes there have been artists on Verzuz who have longer careers and are more iconic than him but they were all put up against people with similar gravitas from the same time period. There really isn’t any male R&B singer who did what Usher did from 1997 to 2010 who was also active during that time.

    People forget this but Usher is one of the few artists to have #1 songs from 5 straight albums. When you add in the fact that Confessions was the biggest album of the decade it was released and had multiple #1 singles that charted in the top 10 at the same time, there really isn’t who can compete with the dominance he had back then.

  5. Eowyn says:

    Stop with the Justin Timberlake comparisons. It’a not even a competition. JT is white pop star, who did Black music aesthetics until they weren’t as profitable for him, not an R&B singer.

    • Beach Dreams says:

      Justin also doesn’t have the same longevity as a solo singer compared to Usher. He had his heyday when he debuted in 2002 and petered out after his 3rd album a decade later. Not bad, but Usher on the other hand has maintained a great career long after his ‘peak’ with Confessions. He came out strong in the 90s and maintained solid success into the mid 2010s. I know some folks criticized Usher when he joined the EDM wave of the late 2000s/early 2010s, but it’s impressive that he still did well in that time. Not many artists can successfully explore genres different from their typical sound, there’s usually a big backlash from fans or the attempt just falls flat for whatever reason.

  6. Chantal says:

    Well he’s right. He’s not the king of R&B but his decades long catalog is undeniable and very few could out-sing and outperform him. The only one I can think of that could at least hold his own against him is Chris Brown, yuck. Just like, who could you put up against New Edition with their catalog and sharp choreography? I loved Earth Wind & Fire v The Isley Brothers! Plus, since Swizz and Timbaland sold Verzuz, the quality has greatly decreased with recurring sound issues and artists showing up HOURS late. I was so excited for Chaka Khan v Stephanie Mills and besides being extremely late, Chaka didn’t sound good and IMO looked like she was drunk or hi. Stephanie sounded wonderful but also graciously helped Chaka sing her songs. It was sad because we all know Chaka can blow almost anyone out of the water. They both are the definition of powerhouse vocals, imo Chaka moreso. The Omarian v. Mario Verzuz was especially embarrassing. Some other guys took over singing Ray J’s song and sounded better than he did (they were teenagers when they launched so not familiar with their names). But I could have told them Omarian is an excellent dancer/performer and i could watch him dance all day but after listening to one of his albums, he wouldn’t sound good live. Mario was good tho. Its sad but Verzuz has become the definition of a hot mess!

  7. Jane+Smith says:

    I’m just hearing about this show so forgive me for not knowing the parameters, but I think a Stevie Wonder vs. Usher show would be really fun!