Monday, January 12th, 2015

Usher ft. Juicy J – I Don’t Mind

It’s yours…


Maxwell Cavaseno: Usher in 2015 gets some Disclosure-style R&BDM and turns in a lesser August Alsina song. Now, I’m someone who never liked Usher in his prime, but I know the heights he can reach and this is incredibly lackluster and unfitting the soundtrack. Meanwhile, Juicy “Time Never Touches Me” J also forgets where he is… Is this a weird case of communal Alzheimers or was this originally recorded over a different beat? What went wrong here?

Anthony Easton: In late capital everything capitulates to the ability to successfully (t)w(o/e)rk.

Alfred Soto: Usher’s voice remains a distinct pleasure, especially when the spare beat allows me to enjoy it without pyrotechnics; but the lyric is repellent for a man in his thirties. He still has to reassure Shawty, with the sincerity of a Republican candidate, that dancing on a pole don’t make her a ho? She should find more generous company.

Thomas Inskeep: Only Usher, I’m convinced, can sing an ode to his girl being a stripper — including the lyric “I’m proud to call you my bitch” — and make it sound almost painfully romantic and sweet. Also, this song is a reminder that while I don’t much care for Dr. Luke as a pop producer, he’s got an awfully sweet spot with R&B and hip-hop (cf. Juicy J’s “Low” and Nicki Minaj’s “Only,” among other recent smashes). Now would Usher just finish and release UR, or whatever it’s gonna be titled, already please? This is, unexpectedly, quite lovely.

Crystal Leww: I didn’t realize this until I was sifting through Usher’s discography the other day, but Usher has always been a bit of the teacher’s pet. He reads up on what’s hot and executes to perfection. Back in the days of 8701 and Confessions, Usher wove intricate storylines through an entire album cycle, incorporating music videos, too. Raymond v. Raymond executed EDM-pop to perfection in “OMG” and had an early sighting of a Nicki Minaj guest verse. “Climax” is a Diplo production before Diplo’s present day pop success. “I Don’t Mind” borrows the super hot Dr. Luke, Cirkut and Juicy J, fresh off their #1 with K*ty P*rry (this first leaked in March) to produce what sounds like it could be an August Alsina song. No seriously: Usher made a quiet little stripper anthem and it sounds great. Coming so close to condescending but never quite crossing the line, Usher shows us the right way to support your boo: “shawty, I don’t miiiiiiind.” After “Loyal” took over rap radio last year complaining about how “these hoes ain’t loyal” and “if a rich n*gga want ya”, it’s nice to see guys like Alsina, Mase & Eric Bellinger, and Usher give it up for the ladies in their lives hustling hard to get what they want.

Scott Mildenhall: Lest there be any doubt Usher is a perfect gentleman, he’s taken all the humour out of “Perfect Gentleman”, inadvertently injecting some back. Also gone is the (uncredited) female voice, and the implication that the narrator may actually be being ripped off. Wyclef’s take is really quite confused – he was glad to make her cry by throwing money at her? – but presents a fallible character that is in some way a hopeless, maybe gullible romantic. Usher is just here to Macklemore you into knowing what you’re doing is OK.

Katherine St Asaph: I can’t decide whether this is charming or smarmy (I’m sure you don’t mind that she takes off her clothes, Usher; what a sacrifice that must be), but at least he’s singing these days, and the music is firmly the former.

Megan Harrington: Maybe it’s Juicy J, maybe it’s the trap drums, but “I Don’t Mind” is infinitely sexier than “Good Kisser.” There’s a touch of condescension to Usher’s “you can take off your clothes/ long as you coming home” but no one really expected a megastar hitmaker to have flawless sex politics, right? He course corrects slightly with the perceptive “I make enough for the both of us/ but you dance anyway” and overall sounds deeply in love and mostly tolerant. But the song’s best moment belongs to Juicy; he drops a Babe Ruth reference and Dr. Luke sticks in the sound of a homerun cracking off a bat. 

Will Adams: In which Usher flops on his bed after a few too many beers, leaves his stripper girlfriend the longest voicemail ever, and smiles himself to sleep.

Brad Shoup: No idea what strip club Usher’s thinking of where the ladies make stacks under a no-touching policy. Whatever gets him from 9 to 3, I guess. I can practically see him by the bar, a devotional look matched by the gentle electric piano. Even without Migos, it sounds like ad-libs aplenty: a guessed-at melody that leads into the precious chorus. Anyway, here comes Juicy to undermine all that trust, so points for comedy. 

Rebecca A. Gowns: It’s such a bop, and like, halfway progressive, but also, very patronizing and possessive and patriarchal all the same. The Juicy J verse has a fun cadence to it, but it is undoubtedly the low point of the song. In sum, sweet, strippers are people with agency now; but bummer, they’re still possessions of men.

Reader average: [7] (3 votes)

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