9 thoughts, prayers and worries I have had since Jaheim challenged Usher to a (will never happen) Verzuz

OPINION: Jaheim’s social media challenge to Usher is a 10 on the irrational confidence gauge. I love it.

It’s Monday in African America and that means quarrels are on the way. This past weekend in the streets on social media, while large parts of the country were dealing with cooler temperatures and winter events, Jaheim Hoagland from the New Jersey Hoaglands challenged but better known to us in African America as Jaheim, the singer Usher, aka Ursher Baby , to a Verzuz. Puha, chile, ghetto.

A few things to note here: 1) An artist who challenges another to one verzuz is fun to slander social media, but it means pretty much nothing; Swizz Beatz and Timbaland call these shots; however, it makes it entertaining theater when artists are constantly fighting for a shot on the Verzuz stage; 2) I actually like both artists. Yes, I’m a Jaheim fan (musically). And I mean, it’s Usher. Who does not like Usher? (more on this later); and 3) Of all the hypothetical Verzuz matchups that anyone has ever lobbied out there, this is perhaps the most meaningless. This is the literal, physical manifestation of the suit Jaheim wore to Whitney Houston’s funeral when the rainbow was not enough. You’ve never heard Jaheim and Usher’s names mentioned together – because why? And Jaheim has never heard their names mentioned together. But here we are anyway, and you know what, I’m glad we’re here. I have some thoughts, prayers and worries; here are nine.

1. I’ve been listening to more of Jaheim’s music in the last 24 hours than I’ve done in the last 10 years.

For the record, I do not brag about this, but more or less state it as a fact. The last Jaheim song I could probably name without Google, “Finding My Way Back”, was released in 2010, and it’s probably the last time I actively listened to Jaheim’s music. To be fair, Usher has not had one hit hit the Usher way since the early 2010s and I was not aware of this until this wrote. Of course, it is not the same, but I state the facts.

“Fabulous” is a jam-packed jam.

I actually forgot how much I loved this song. It’s still stuck in 2022. First, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “Wake Up Everybody” example gives what it needed to give (and always will), and one thing Jaheim can do is sing. If Jaheim walked into your church, you would let him get on the microphone and sing a song.

Let’s get some Usher stuff in here.

3. I have had Confessions on repeat since Jaheim started popping off.

It’s almost 20 years since Usher dropped his magnum opus, so it’s probably easy to forget how HUGE this album was when it’s released in 2004. Comparisons with Michael Jackson’s Thriller was banded around and you know what, they were not crazy. That album is so damn good. From “Throwback” to “Superstar” to “That’s What It’s Made For” to “Bad Girl” etc. And that says something because Usher is a cat who has bop after bop and banger after banger. Any recognition that Usher has is well deserved and much deserved because Usher from the mid-90s until the mid-Middle Ages was an artist of the Big Joker type.

4. One thing about Confessions, though. I hate the version on streaming services.

I hate that the streaming services have the extended version. First, I never liked Jadakiss’ verse about “Throwback,” and my CD version does not. Similarly, instead of the intro to “Confessions, Pt. II,” the streaming version has “Confessions,” and I never liked that version. Unfortunately my physical copy of Confessions is in a box in stock so I will have to listen to Jadakis rap every single time (usually a pleasure, just not on this song) but there are worse issues to have in life.

5. I think Usher can be unsurpassed in a Verzuz.

I know, I know. We continue to have these quirky conversations about who is invincible; I myself have dealt with lots. And I do not think Usher goes 20-0 on anyone, I think Usher has 10 guarantees: “U Make Me Wanna”, “U Don’t Have to Call”, “Burn”, “Nice & Slow”, “My Way”, “U Remind Me”, “U Got It Bad”, “Superstar”, “Confessions, Pt. II” and “Bad Girl”, and it’s right from the top of my head. I know he has more literally unsurpassed jam. Again, not quite 20-0, but he is EASY 11-9 against anyone you can put in front of him.

2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards - To show

Host Usher speaks on stage at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California, which aired live on FOX on May 27, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

6. Somehow Lyfe Jennings has become involved.

Again, one more time for Usher. We have an Usher, Jaheim and Lyfe Jennings triangle. HOW, SWAY ??? This is made even more ridiculous because Lyfe Jennings went on Beyoncé’s internet and proclaimed that he had never listened to an Usher song … just before he told them in the background that it was not even 7. See if you are black in America and over 30, you know “Nice & Slow”, but this is what Jaheim brings to the table … quarrels from other parties. I’m so glad we’re here.

7. I have spent time thinking about how competitive Jaheim could be in a Verzuz.

I can name six Jaheim songs from the top of my head (I will not do that now because I will talk about one in the next point), but I bet most can not. If you put a gun to the head of most people and said “name five songs by Jaheim”, the streets would get all kinds of bodies. That said, Usher would get 20-0 at Jaheim, and I actually don’t think Jaheim has any song that was so good, so ubiquitous, that he takes a round of literally anyone. And I’m a fan.

8. “Just In Case” is one of my favorite ridiculous songs of all time.

If you remember, Jaheim dropped the song and video for “Just In Case”, a jam where he tries to blame his lady for some sex with a chance he won’t get home. And for the record, this is not an “I’m going to do this big drug deal” song – although the video is. The song, however, talks about how much he loves her and what he has done for her, and she should realize that while he is alive, he has her, so in case he dies tonight, what about some of it good love? The more I think about this song, the more I love it. Shout out to Maia Campbell, who’s in the video. This song would not win any Verzuz rounds, but it has won my heart.

9. I would say we all lose out that Jaheim is not in a Verzuz because he has proven to be a bit of a loose cannon.

You all remember the Whitney Houston funeral clothes that look like the extremely upset hat maker. And to say that Jaheim has had a … hair journey … would be an understatement. I just want to see him on stage (not against Usher) just to see how he shows up.

Correction, 1/10/22 2:59 PM: An earlier version of this story misidentified Jaheim in a photo. The image has been updated.

Panama Jackson the Grio

Panama Jackson the Grio

Panama Jackson is a columnist for theGrio. He writes very black things and drinks very brown spirits. He’s pretty flying for a light guy.

Have you subscribed to Grio podcasts “Dear culture” or “To perform?” Download our latest section now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!

The post 9 thoughts, prayers and worries I have had since Jaheim challenged Usher to a (never happen) Verzuz first appeared on TheGrio.

Give a Comment