Today I was at my local Subway establishment, when I caught myself singing Usher’s “Nice and Slow”.
Now, normally I wouldn’t think twice about singing aloud for the world to hear, but this particular situation was irony to the fullest.
All the way back in November â€˜97, when Usher Raymond dropped his second solo, My Way, I was only in eighth grade. To put that into perspective, his song was succeeded as #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 by Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” for the “Titanic” joint. Elway had just put the Broncos on his back for his Super Bowl farewell. And President Bill Clinton was on television denying he got some shots.
It was a while ago.
Anyways, at the tender age of twelve, my sense of music was about as ripe as a peach pit. I hardly even listened to hip-hop, let alone R&B, and I wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to Usher. Call me IMx, but the fact that all those girlies were super down, made me dislike Usher’s jams even more.
Well, like my mom always says, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.
I hadn’t heard that particular song in over a year, at least, and have never owned the CD. Ah Usher CD, for that matter. However, while going the way of the sub this afternoon, I knew every damn word.
I was crooning my girl, doing his back-ups, choppin’ it up when necessary (“They call me U-Sâ€¦”). Maybe I was in a good mood, or maybe I was just offa them Reggies. Either way, I was definitely feelin’ my man Ursher.
So, ten years later, I think I can admit I’m down with Ush.
And now, I’m okay with that.
Thanks to artists such as him, Luther, Jacko, Jodeci, Kels (my love weatherman), and especially El Debarge: I’ve learned to appreciate the male voice for what it’s capable of. The range, color, resonance, and overall defining uniqueness of each of their voices have made them worldwide superstars. And rightfully so. Singers like these exemplify vocal qualities that could make even Aretha jealous.
The first time I heard El sing his verse on DJ Quik’s “Medley For A V”, I actually thought it was a girl. When I found out otherwise, I was blown away. As rude, macho, and sometimes stankin as males are, I basically just didn’t think we had it in us.
Since then, I’ve seen the light.
Now, I’ll proudly bump me some “Tracks of My Tears”, by Smokey. All the way up, on my stock speakers, belting out every word. And get this, my balls actually feel bigger because of it (It’s quite weird, actuallyâ€¦).
As a fan of R&B, I’m glad I’m not musically self-conscious, anymore. It’d be a shame if I were missing out on quality sounds, just because I was afraid to admit I liked â€˜em. Since those ignorant junior high days, I’ve learned numerous times over that there is a whole world of music out there; you just have to let yourself find it.
As a fan of music, in general, I’d be a hypocrite to even call myself that.
That said, I’m gonna’ go burn My Way and Confessions for the ride. Call me bandwagon, call me a sissy, call me what you will.
Just don’t call me a hater.