You don’t know a club banger until you’ve heard Usher’s ‘Yeah’, and, at this point if you haven’t, where have you been?
Long before he helped launch the career of Justin Bieber, Usher was continually producing hit after hit. While his 1994 self-titled album didn’t meet expectations commercially, his 1997 album My Way turned things around exponentially. It was the album that made the world aware of Usher Raymond. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 charts and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, while also becoming certified Gold in Australia, Latvia, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, it was certified 2x Platinum in Canada and 6x Platinum in the United States. The album is best known for its hits ‘You Make Me Wanna’, ‘Nice & Slow’ and of course, ‘My Way’.
When he submitted his next album, to be titled Confessions, to his record label in late 2003, the head of the label expressed concerns that the album was lacking a clear lead single, and Usher was asked to record some more tracks in hopes to find a solution. He recruited Lil Jon for the musical production and songwriter Sean Garrett, the man behind Ciara’s ‘Goodies‘ and Destiny’s Child’s ‘Soldier.’ Garrett was specifically called in to write a song that would “light up the charts like a Christmas tree.” That feat was accomplished shortly after.
With Lil Jon’s production skills, Garrett’s songwriting ability, and the lent voice of Ludacris (and Jon), ‘Yeah’ was born and would officially hit #1 on the charts in January 2004, before the album was even released. It would stay there and get comfortable for 12 straight weeks, one of which was this week of that year! After its 12-week run, Usher had dethroned himself from the top spot with another hit from his Confessions album, ‘Burn.’
‘Yeah’ was a gamechanger for Usher. Not that he was struggling prior, but he didn’t have that one party anthem to his name just yet that a lot of R&B artists did, but, by the mid-2000’s you couldn’t go into a nightclub or any party scene without hearing this song on the playlist. It was officially the unofficial club banger of the decade. Even today, the song is what we DJ’s call a ‘floor filler’, inducing feel-good emotions and enhancing the party as few songs can.
The song was certified platinum in several countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, and Norway.
Usher has gone on and done a ton to influence the music you hear on (and off) the radio today. As mentioned earlier, he was the man to give YouTube star Justin Bieber his big break in 2009 after being introduced by manager Scooter Braun. The Biebs was heavily influenced by the R&B singer. Among those influenced was one of today’s chart-toppers Jason Derulo who said “my favorite performers were always people that put on a show. Not just singing the song but actually making the song come to life with theatrics or some kind of dance that made the show epic and brought it to life.”
Usher would also go on to mentor aspiring singers on The Voice for a couple of seasons, and to this day still pops in as a part-time advisor. His latest album, Hard II Love was released in 2016.