Who’s The Right Verzuz Competitor for R&B Singer Usher?

R&B singer Usher is one of the most decorated men in music. The gifted singer, dancer, actor, and songwriter has three decades of success and is currently on the Vegas strip celebrating his legacy with an electrifying residency showcasing his biggest hits. As fans pack out seats to show him their support, others are waiting for Usher to step into a very different arena. The Verzuz stage. Usher has been one of the many artists in demand for the Timbaland and Swizz Beats vehicle. However, he has yet to step up to the plate, with many unsure of who he should face off against. ’00s singer Jaheim seems to think he is the right man for the job.

Usher was initially discovered by Bad Boy CEO Sean “Diddy” Combs. Their relationship resulted in a freshman album that produced some moderate success. It would prove to be Usher’s relationship with hometown producer Jermaine Dupri that redefined his career, however. Together, the Atlanta pair would embark on a series of successful projects, including the diamond selling Confessions. The album spawned four consecutive #1 singles and established Usher as one of the most successful male artists since Michael Jackson.

Jaheim’s success, while admirable, is not as big as Usher’s. Jaheim made his debut in the early 2000s and produced a string of well-loved R&B singles, including “Put That Woman First.” While his work earned him Grammy and Soul Train nominations, it was never popular enough to cross him over into the mainstream.

Jaheim is regarded for his soulful vocals and honest lyrics but is not a performer or dancer like Usher, making him an odd pairing in a Verzuz battle. However, he does not seem to think so. In a post on his personal Instagram earlier today, he asked Usher to face him in a Verzuz battle. “Let’s move all the pawns out the way. King move,” he declared the challenge. Jaheim is so confident in his catalog he offered Usher a month to prepare and gave him the chance to bow out if he is “scared.”

Fellow R&B star Tank did not see how this challenge could be possible and immediately responded, saying, “You talking about Usher? Confessions Usher? Yeah Usher? Diamond sales on one album alone Usher? Sold out residency in vegas Usher? One of the best to ever do it Usher?… Good luck..🙏🏾” Monica chimed in saying “Wait… I’m mf tied.”

While it seems like Jaheim does not have much support in his challenge, one thing for sure is that people want to see Usher do a Verzuz. One of the initial stand-out choices was Justin Timberlake. The two found success around the same time (mid ’90’s-mid ’00s) and share a lot of the same collaborators as well as comparisons to Michael Jackson. Timberlake famously ended up with a handful of Pharrell records intended for Michael, including “Rock Your Body” and “Senorita.” Usher was one of the few male acts to reach diamond status since Thriller. “Every time y’all bring up Usher vs. Justin Timberlake, y’all act like one is washing the other. It’ll be a battle all the way to the end. Don’t act like Justin Timberlake’s catalog ain’t crazy,” wrote one person on Twitter.

Swizz Beatz dismissed a Justin Timberlake Verzuz until the singer apologized for the way in which he’s benefitted from black culture while taking opportunities from black acts. “He gotta admit that he loves the Black culture, and he gotta be on this stage,” Swizz said during a rant in Miami. “You took from the Black culture. You give to the Black culture! Come to Verzuz and be a part of the Black culture!”

Chris Brown was the next logical choice for many. While Breezy’s debut came right after Usher’s biggest album Confessions, the decades in between has seen Brown undoubtedly close the gap between the two with an insane amount of albums and culturally relevant moments. From his iconic award show performances to his string of hit records. When it comes to male R&B entertainers, he is by far the most successful and most relevant at the moment.

When debating who would win between Usher and Chris Brown during an interview with The Breakfast Club, Timbaland seemed to be team Breezy saying that Chris Brown “got like 50 bags.” Charlamagne fired back, “Nah, Chris Brown against Usher, Usher wins that. Usher got 20 nuclear weapons. [Chris Brown] got weapons, but not nukes.” Timbaland stood his grown saying, “Chris Brown got 50 nuclear weapons.”

Other choices for Usher? Embroiled singer and his “Same Girl” collaborator R. Kelly has come up a few times. Some have also considered that maybe his Verzuz pairing is a woman. Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, and Beyonce have all done songs with Usher, but should they face off on Verzuz? Who do you think is the ideal pairing for Usher?

About John Davidson

John Davidson is a California native who enjoys hip hop music, skiing and traveling international. Davidson graduated from USC majoring in Journalism.

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