It’s not that it’s a bad record. It’s just a bad record for him.
Over the weekend, Usher finally dropped the video for his single “No Limit”. The song, featuring Young Thug, was one of two records that the singer dropped back in June — the other being “Crash” — signaling that a new Usher album may be on the way.
Usher tapped into the current sound of commercial R&B — full blown melodic trap — which differed very much from most of the singles he released in 2014. “I Don’t Mind”, his ode to strippers featuring Juicy J, was the notable exception and his biggest hit of the three. Initially a leak, the response was strong enough to formally release the song as a single, which peaked at number one on the R&B charts.
Maybe thinking that another “I Don’t Mind” was needed to spring the album, Usher dropped “No Limit” and the respond was pretty tepid. Most complained that the song was “too young” for the singer and that he was teetering into old-ass-uncle-in-the-club territory by trying to make such a contemporary record. Others argued that it was just bad, period.
I actually grew to like “No Limit”. It’s catchy and Thugger killed his verse. That being said, every time I do listen to it, I wonder if the wrong artist got their hands on it. It’s not a bad song. It’s just a bad song for Usher.
Here are five artists — and a few honorable mentions — that would have been a better fit for “No Limit”
Jacquees stepped onto the scene back in 2012 thanks to a series of remixes and covers. First close to Chris Brown, ‘Quees went from underground Atlanta boutique label T.I.G. records, home to Rich Homie Quan and Trinidad James, to Cash Money Records. He released his first EP, Mood, in 2015.
I almost feel like this was supposed to be his song. Jacquees’ sound since he came onto the scene has been dipped in trap beats. He mastered that with his first album, 21, and showed that clearly on his single, “BED”. He’s young, fresh and looks straight out the trap house. He would have been perfect.
I’m not naive enough to say that August Alsina gave birth to this current wave of trap R&B but you would be wrong to say that he wasn’t one of the first singers to find success with the sound.
August, like Jacquees, first released a series of mixtapes and covers until he signed with Def Jam in 2013. His first single, “I Luv This Shit” went to number one and he became the pretty boy thug type that every girl wanted to have as her own.
While his voice wouldn’t make sense on “No Limit”, everything else about August does. He’s an New Orleans native, so the references in the lyrics to Master P’s legendary label wouldn’t be a stretch. Plus the lyrics’ slight raunch fits with what we’ve heard from before (he’ll go there on the sexual innuendo but never there). Personally, after August’s second album was so dark and depressing, it would have been nice to see him go back to his club roots.
Chris Brown is currently “that guy” in R&B, no doubt about that.
I have this feeling that “No Limit” may have been written for him in mind. It’s so on the wave of current Chris Brown’s forays onto rap records that I can’t help but see him on this and possibly take it to top of the charts.
On rap songs, Chris goes in and out with the vocals and rapping that the current non-singing structure of the record would fit him perfectly. Usher is known as a singer, that’s his strength. Going into the rap-singing seems like such a task for him and it shows. For Chris, it would be a walk in the park.
B Smyth is one of two new artists that I felt like could have had their first break with “No Limit”. Smyth isn’t somewhat new, having signed first with Def Jam back in 2012. Now with RCA, he’s been giving a second chance after having a few underground hit records under his belt (including “Twerkoholic”).
“No Limit” was meant for a younger singer to tackle and he’s young — and fresh — enough to do it. Plus, he already has a record with Young Thug, “Creep”, so seeing the two together makes sense.
Warren is the second new artist that would have been a better fit for “No Limit”. Signed to Motown, ‘Chaie first gained attention for his cover of T.I.’s “24s” (yeah, word). His EP, Heard U Was In My City, sounds like “No Limit” XXL: all trap beats, all rap-singing, all dripped in young Atlanta.
If you wanted a rapper/singer on a record like “No Limit”, ForteBowie would have been it. Based in Atlanta, he’s released three solid mixtapes — Vice Haus, Vice Haus Deluxe and Something Else About Bowie — but he’s mostly well-known for writing all of Jacquee’s music including “B.E.D.”. He was also the executive producer on Jacquees’ EP.
I know I said that you need someone young for “No Limit” but Lloyd’s entire aura is a fit for that record. Also a New Orleans native, Lloyd’s street credibility and latest releases make him the perfect fit for this song. The aforementioned “All I Need” is proof.