Usher would win without a glance of sweat off his perfect 40-plus hairline, was my first thought when the argument made its rounds in the Black Twitter universe. “All he (Usher) gottta do is play the Confessions album through the entire battle!” was my reply, whether a person was young, old, or a Russian bot in digital debate. There was no sign of my decision changing until I was assigned the task of making an Usher VS Chris Brown playlist. With each carefully selective choice between the R&B greats, my confidence began to shift, and a realization began to occur: this wasn’t a battle of betters, but a war of who’s King.
THE BATTLE IN MY HEAD
Breezy, the younger challenger, would most likely strike hard with his strengths and play a few club records such as Kiss Kiss, Pills & Automobiles, and Loyal, which is sure to be a gut punch combo to the rib cage as fans would sing those toxic lyrics in unison. As the seasoned vet, Usher would slap Chris with some big joker(s) like U Don’t Have to Call, You Make Me Wanna, and Superstar. Brown, feeling disrespected, would scream “Oh Fo Real?!!!” and change temple with Yo (Excuse Me Miss), Grass Ain’t Greener, and then give a switch-up uppercut with Heat. Usher, on the ropes, would take his right hand to wipe the blood from his lower lip, smile, tasting it with a wink to Chris. He (Usher) would then Jean-Claude Van Damme kick Brown in the chin when the beat dropped for Confessions pt. 2. This classic cheating selection would make the crowd feel nostalgic and grateful for Plan Bs. Breezy would be staggered, visually seeing his opponent in threes, and he would begin throwing haymakers such as Back to Sleep, Deuces, and Liquor. Some of Brown’s blows will brush slightly against Usher’s shoulders, but none would cause any damage. As a singer of sympathy, Usher would see his dizzy foe, barely clinging to the ropes and taking pity by saying, “Let’s finish this.” Then, the anthem YEAH will come on full blast, sweeping Chris off midair and landing on his back face up, looking at the ceiling. Usher then would walk over, staring at the barely breathing body that once stood so cocky and sure, “I….I…almost had…. you….” a mumbled Brown would say, making Usher give a slight smile in response, saying, “Sure, kid. Just one question: What was Usher doing at seven o’clock?” The guitar’s strings will hit, Nice & Slow will play, and the young Breezy would be no more.
Chris Brown is an icon with multiple hit songs that are stand-alone classics; however, there’s no one body of work to call his Thriller, no signature album that marks a historical place of total dominance over the culture. Yes, Brown is a legend in his own right, but Usher has a catalog of records that are not only hits but culturally impactful. Albums such as My Way and 8701 shifted and made everyone take notice altogether, touching our souls as if we were living the stories in rhythm. And while the status of Thriller is nearly unreachable, Usher’s Confessions album is a timeless body of work that can exist in any decade. From the superb vocal arrangements to the magnificent blended musical production, Confessions is and will always be Usher’s crown moment where he became one of the GOAT Kings.
The full playlist is available here.