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February 8, 2024 19 mins

Usher was born to entertain. It might be hard to believe, but this year marks the 30th Anniversary of his debut album!

Usher was discovered at the age of 13 on television by famed record exec, L.A. Reid, who wasted no time signing him to his LaFace label. Usher’s ascent truly began three years later with the release of his second album, the game-changing My Way, which catapulted him from baby-faced R&B up-and-comer to bona fide casanova.

By the age of 20, he was winning Billboard and Soul Train Awards for his music, but he was also making a name for himself as one of the best dancers in the business, taking cues from his idol Michael Jackson.

Throughout 2001, Usher showed he could evolve as an artist while giving his fan base what they wanted. His next record, 8701 was a smash hit, outselling My Way and establishing Usher as one of the biggest stars on the planet. Songs like “U Got It Bad” and “U Remind Me” both topped the Hot 100 for multiple weeks.

But having finished touring 8701 in 2002, Usher felt the need to get back to music. And this time he wanted to leave an even bigger mark. 

Over the better part of 2003, Usher and his expansive pool of producers recorded 40 tracks for his next album. But there was a problem. Usher presented songs to Arista but the album was rejected by the label. Not only that, but Usher’s label boss, L.A. Reid, had reservations about the R&B star’s appeal to audiences. He told Usher to go back into the studio and record some bangers. But Usher was feeling dejected. 

Usher needed a hit. And he would find one with some help from the King of Crunk. This is the true story of Usher's Yeah! With newly unearthed audio from Mr. Entertainment himself.

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