Usher has big things planned for 2014. Following the success of his 2012 album Looking 4 Myself, the hitmaker is set to release his eighth studio album later this year. The first single off the album, Good Kisser, was released in May and showcased a suave, smooth Usher leaning towards a more R&B sound. While the upcoming album is yet to be titled, Usher has described it as “everything you can imagine” – and it’s clear to see why in his second single, She Came to Give It to You, featuring Nicki Minaj.
The track has Pharrell Williams written all over it; after all, it was produced by him. It seems as though Pharrell’s groovy R&B vibe has influenced other artists to pursue this genre as well. We’re seeing a totally new Usher here – he’s abandoned the electronic and dubstep experimentation, settling instead for funk and soul, possibly with a hint of 60’s disco thrown in there too. True to his style, Usher is crooning about his admiration for women in the club, his vocal technique never wavering though he could benefit with pronouncing his lyrics clearer. The effect of the backing vocals make the track seem even smoother; the harmonies and frequent whooping creating a vibe that’s reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s sound. The entire backing track is quite simplistic, really; it’s comprised of studio beats and snares, a soft bass, the occasional brass and backing vocals. The tempo remains static from beginning to end, never straying from the moderate, foot-tapping rhythm we’re introduced to from the outset. While this compliments Usher’s voice and the new direction of his music, the track would be remotely repetitive without the extra boost coming from Nicki Minaj.
When Nicki Minaj raps her verse around the 2 minute mark, it rescues the track from descending into dull monotony. Minaj’s verse is flirty and cheeky, characterised with lines such as “tell your man to play the back like a spine, he only lasted six seconds like a vine.” While Minaj’s lines are a nice break from Usher’s falsettos, her lyrics may seem a little nonsensical, with references to rap culture that not every listener would understand. Nonetheless, a rap feature is the cherry-on-top for this track, as Minaj brings the much needed ingredients for creating a fusion of hip hop, soul and funk.
Overall, She Came to Give It to You is a solid track that sees Usher taking his music to new heights. It’s fun, it’s flirty and its got a groove to it; however, it’s a tad monotonous and could do with a bit of variety with the backing track. That being said, Usher may be going on a different musical path but he’s still retained his best three assets: he’s slick, he’s suave and still sexy as ever.