In the early to mid-2000s the world experienced peak Usher, with the singer selling records by the truckload and performing concerts to mammoth crowds full of gushing and swooning fans. It wasn’t overnight success, but it was a near meteoric rise and, as is always the case, what goes up must come down.
It has been four years since the release of Looking 4 Myself, which is Usher’s worst selling record since his self-titled 1994 debut and, despite there being a string of non-album singles in the interim, No Limit is the first true taste of his 8th album, Hard II Love. Rapper Jeffrey Lamar Williams, otherwise known as Young Thug, features on the track, which in reality seems to have translated to singing/rapping/applying his odd vocalisations over the music for a single verse.
No Limit is a limp song, over-utilising an otherwise catchy and interesting backing loop, but repeating it to the point where it loses all meaning. Usher’s vocal deliver is pleasing enough, but the periodic use of auto-tune and other effects are superfluous, seeming to serve no other purpose then genre expectations.
Based on this lead single, it is difficult to believe that Hard II Love will be either a commercial or a critical success, especially when compared to the heady heyday of the 2000s.