A Song for Mama
"A Song for Mama" is the title of a number-one R&B single by the American R&B group Boyz II Men. The tune, written and produced by Babyface, served as the theme song to the 1997 motion picture Soul Food, spent two weeks at number one on the US R&B chart. To date, it is their last top 10 pop hit, peaking at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100; the song appears on the group's album Evolution. US singleA Song For Mama 4:30 A Song For Mama 5:02 A Song For Mama 5:05US live version singleA Song For Mama – Live Version 4:11 A Song For Mama – Live Version 5:10Europe Promo CDA Song For Mama 4:30Europe singleA Song For Mama A Song For Mama Europe Maxi-CDA Song For Mama 4:30 I'll Make Love To You 3:57 Motownphilly 3:56 Sympin' 3:58Europe Maxi-CD 2A Song For Mama 4:30 A Song For Mama 5:02 Baby C'Mon 4:36 A Song For Mama 5:05 Credits adapted from the liner notes of Evolution. Boyz II Men: all vocals Babyface: writer, producer and drum programming Greg Phillinganes: piano Nathan East: bass Michael Thompson: guitar Brad Gilderman, Manny Marroquin, Paul Boutin: recording engineers Jon Gass: mix engineer Paul Boutin: assistant mix engineer Randy Walker: midi programmer Ivy Skoff: production coordinator List of number-one R&B singles of 1997 List of number-one R&B singles of 1998 Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
Dru Hill is an American R&B group, most popular during the 1990s, whose repertoire included soul, hip hop soul and gospel music. Founded in Baltimore and active since 1992, Dru Hill recorded seven Top 40 hits, is best known for the R&B #1 hits "In My Bed", "Never Make a Promise", "How Deep Is Your Love"; the group consist of lead singer Mark "Sisqó" Andrews, Tamir "Nokio" Ruffin and, Larry "Jazz" Anthony, James "Woody Rock" Green. Signing to Island Records through Haqq Islam's University Records imprint, the group released two successful albums, Dru Hill and Enter the Dru, before separating for a period from late 1999 to 2002, during which time Sisqó and Woody released solo albums. While Woody's Soul Music LP was a moderate success in the gospel music industry, Sisqó's debut album, Unleash the Dragon, its hit singles, "Thong Song" and "Incomplete", were major pop successes, established Sisqó as a household name outside Dru Hill. Sisqó's second album, Return of Dragon, did not sell as well. In 2002, by part of the Def Soul record label, the group reunited and added fifth member Rufus "Scola" Waller to the lineup for their third album, Dru World Order, whose underperformance led to the group being dropped from Def Soul.
In 2009, the group signed to Kedar Entertainment Group and released their fourth album, InDRUpendence Day, the following year, with new member Tao taking the place of the again departed Woody. The members of Dru Hill were natives of Maryland. Mark Andrews and James Green met each other in middle school, both became acquaintances of Tamir Ruffin when all three began pursuing careers in the music industry. Ruffin, nicknamed "Nokio" enlisted Green to form a singing group. Woody and Sisqo formed an early incarnation of the group that featured other members, including Bravette Fleet and Chris Thomas, natives of Baltimore who attended Baltimore City College, with Nokio and Woody called 14K Harmony and began performing around the Baltimore area. At one talent show at Morgan State University, they were discovered by local talent manager Kevin Peck and appeared on Amateur Night at Showtime at the Apollo; the group made a name for itself by getting jobs at The Fudgery, a local fudge factory at Harborplace at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where they started a store tradition of singing and performing to entertain guests while making fudge.
Most of their early repertoire was made up of gospel music as well as an early song by the group, "Please Remove Yo' Shoes". The group became a gospel group after a deal with Elektra Records fell through but switched to a more commercially viable music which prompted Woody's mother to pull him out of the group but the group begged her to let him return and she reluctantly agreed to if he promised he would return to his gospel roots. By 1994, Fleet and Thomas split from the group to pursue other interests, at which point Larry "Jazz" Anthony, who studied as an opera student at Frederick Douglass High School, joined the group. Nokio saw. Sisqó, Nokio and Woody continued to hone their skills working at the Fudgery, they performed under the name Storm became Legacy. In 1995, Hiram Hicks president of Island Black Music saw the boys perform in a talent show and wanted to fly them to New York to record a song called Tell Me for a movie Eddie starring Whoopi Goldberg. Blackstreet member Dave Hollister, now pursuing a solo career sang on the song but after Legacy sang it for Hiram his vocals were scrapped as they recorded the song and were signed that night.
After the group signed to Island Records, the label suggested they change their name from Legacy to Dru Hill after Druid Hill Park, a popular park on the west side of Baltimore, the name of, pronounced "Dru Hill" in the local Baltimore accent. A dragon is used as a logo for the group. Between their first and second albums, Dru Hill contributed "We're Not Making Love No More", a #2 R&B and #13 Pop hit, to the Soul Food soundtrack. "We're Not Making Food No More" was written and produced by star producer Babyface. Dru Hill and rapper Foxy Brown recorded "Big Bad Mama", a remake of Carl Carlton's 1981 hit "She's a Bad Mama Jama", the main single for the soundtrack to the 1997 Bill Bellamy film Def Jam's How to Be a Player; the group was instrumental in writing and producing for new University artist Mýa, whose first two singles "It's All About Me" and "Movin' On", were co-written by Sisqó, who performs guest vocals on "It's All About Me". In 1997, Dru Hill filed a lawsuit against Island Records, seeking a release from its contract, after an Island employee hit one of the group's managers, Keith Ingram, over the head with a pool cue.
It was discovered. At an October 1997 deposition hearing, Eric Kronfeld and chief operating officer of Island's parent company PolyGram, was asked why he had hired such an individual, his response was that if he were not to hire African-Americans with criminal records "there would be no African-Americans employees in our society or in our industry."Kronfield's remarks set off a wave of controversy when word of them reached the media in November. The Reverend Jesse Jackson became involved, publicly stating that PolyGram, based in the Netherlands, had "a pattern of race and sex exclusion." Jackson met with PolyGram chairman Alain Levy and several other executives, who issued a public apology for Kronfield's statement, replaced Kronfield as president with Motown Records' chairman Cl
The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher George Latore Wallace, known professionally as The Notorious B. I. G. Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper, he is considered by many to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, his debut album Ready to Die made him a central figure in East Coast hip hop, increased New York City's visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop dominated the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led Junior M. A. F. I. A. to chart success, a protégé group composed of his childhood friends. In 1996, while recording his second album, Wallace was involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud. Wallace was murdered by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997, his second album, Life After Death, released sixteen days rose to number one on the U. S. album charts. In 2000, it became one of the few hip-hop albums to be certified Diamond. Wallace was noted for his "loose, easy flow", dark semi-autobiographical lyrics, storytelling, which focused on crime and hardship.
Three more albums have been released since his death, he has certified sales of over 17 million records in the United States, including 13.4 million albums. Wallace was born in St. Mary's Hospital in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, on May 21, 1972, the only child of Jamaican parents, Voletta Wallace, a preschool teacher, Selwyn George Latore, a welder and politician, his father left the family when Wallace was two years old, his mother worked two jobs while raising him. Wallace grew up in Clinton Hill, on 226 St. James Place, near the border of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. At Queen of All Saints Middle School, Wallace excelled, winning several awards as an English student, he was nicknamed "Big" because of his overweight size by age 10. He said he started dealing drugs when he was around the age of 12, his mother away at work, did not know of his drug dealing until he was an adult. Wallace began rapping as a teenager, entertaining people on the streets and performed with local groups the Old Gold Brothers and the Techniques.
At his request, Wallace transferred from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, where future rappers DMX, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes were attending. According to his mother, Wallace was still a good student but developed a "smart-ass" attitude at the new school. At seventeen, Wallace became more involved in crime. In 1989, he was sentenced to five years' probation. In 1990, he was arrested on a violation of his probation. A year Wallace was arrested in North Carolina for dealing crack cocaine, he spent nine months in jail before making bail. After being released from jail, Wallace made a demo tape called "Microphone Murderer", under the name Biggie Smalls, a reference to a character in the 1975 film Let's Do It Again as well as his stature; the tape was made with no serious intent of getting a recording deal. However, it was promoted by New York-based DJ Mister Cee, who had worked with Big Daddy Kane, in 1992 it was heard by the editor of The Source.
In March 1992, Wallace was featured in The Source's Unsigned Hype column, dedicated to aspiring rappers, made a recording off the back of this success. The demo tape was heard by Uptown Records A&R and record producer Sean Combs, who arranged for a meeting with Wallace, he was signed to Uptown and made an appearance on label mates Heavy D & the Boyz's "A Buncha Niggas". Soon after Wallace signed his recording contract, Combs was fired from Uptown and started a new label, Bad Boy Records. Wallace followed and signed to the label in mid-1992. On August 8, 1993, Wallace's longtime girlfriend gave birth to his first child, T'yanna. Wallace had split with the girlfriend some time before T'yanna's birth. Despite having dropped out of high school himself, Wallace wanted his daughter to complete her education, he promised her "everything she wanted", saying that if his mother had promised him the same he would have graduated at the top of his class. He continued selling drugs after the birth to support his daughter financially.
Once Combs discovered this, he forced Wallace to quit. In the year, recording as the Notorious B. I. G. gained exposure after featuring on a remix to Mary J. Blige's single "Real Love", he recorded under this name for the remainder of his career, after finding the original moniker "Biggie Smalls" was in use. "Real Love" peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was followed by a remix of Blige's "What's the 411?". He continued this success, to a lesser extent, on remixes with Neneh Cherry and reggae artist Super Cat in 1993. In April 1993, his solo track, "Party and Bullshit", appeared on the Who's the Man? soundtrack. In July 1994, he appeared alongside LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes on a remix to label mate Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear", which reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. On August 4, 1994, Wallace married R&B singer Faith Evans. Five days Wallace had his first pop chart success as a solo artist with double A-side, "Juicy / Unbelievable", which reached number 27 as the lead single to his debut album.
Ready to Die was released on September 13, 1994. It reached number 13 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified four times Platinum; the album shifted attention back to East Coast hip hop at a time when West Coast hip hop dominated US charts. It gained strong reviews and has received
Hypnotize (The Notorious B.I.G. song)
"Hypnotize" is a single by American rapper The Notorious B. I. G. Released as the first single from his album Life After Death on March 1, 1997; the last song released before he was killed in a drive-by shooting a week it was the fifth song by a credited artist to hit number one posthumously. P. Diddy produced "Hypnotize" and sampled the beat from Herb Alpert's 1979 hit "Rise", written by Andy Armer and Herb's nephew, Randy "Badazz" Alpert. Randy recalled, "I asked Puffy, in 1996 when he first called me concerning using'Rise' for'Hypnotize,' why he chose the'Rise' groove, he told me that in the summer of 1979 when he was I think 10 years old the song was a huge hit everywhere in New York and'Rise' along with Chic's'Good Times' were'the songs' that all the kids were dancing and roller skating to that summer. He had always remembered that song; when he first played the loop for Biggie, Biggie smiled and hugged him."Randy continued, "Over the years I was approached by Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Vanilla Ice, maybe another 4–5 artists to use the song and I never said'yes' until I heard a rough version of Biggie's recording produced by Sean'Puffy' Combs, D-Dot, Ron Lawrence.
I was sent a cassette from Puffy and when I cranked it up I not only loved it but my gut thought that this could be a number one record once again. The original'Rise' record climbed the chart all summer and became number one around the end of October. Misattributed to Lil Kim, Pamela Long from the group Total sang this part; the song was featured in 1999 movie 10 Things. The song features many pop culture references to television and film including Star Wars, Starsky & Hutch, King of New York and cartoon character Richie Rich, children's clothing Underoos, the'60s pop hit "Da Doo Ron Ron" by The Crystals. Other references include popular fashion lines DKNY, Moschino and Coogi. More the song served as the theme song to the 2009 motion picture Notorious, based on Biggie's life. Conor McGregor uses a remixed version of "Hypnotize" and Sinead O'Connor's version of the Foggy Dew during his walkouts at UFC events. On the November 30, 1998 episode of WWE Raw known as "Raw is War", Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson used a remix of the instrumental version of Hypnotize.
A racist parody of the song titled "Notorious KKK" resulted in the Moon Man memes. The song was sung by Sofia Black-D'Elia's character on the Fox show, The Mick; the song was used in a 2018 commercial for Oreo Thins. Earlier in 2017, the song was used for promotion of the Baywatch 2017 movie; the song was played in the 2018 film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The song was a hit on U. S. radio before being issued as a single. On its release, "Hypnotize" entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number two, right behind labelmate and co-writer and co-producer Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs; when "Hypnotize" reached number one two weeks it made The Notorious B. I. G; the fifth artist in Hot 100 history to have a posthumous chart-topper. It gave back-to-back number-one hits to Combs' Bad Boy Records label. Nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1998 Grammy Awards, it lost to "Men in Black" by Will Smith; the single reached number 10 in the UK, B. I. G.'s first top 10 hit in that country. Kris Ex of Pitchfork wrote "Big was a master of flow, sounding unforced and unlabored over a bevy of pristine, hi-fidelity maximalist beats that seemed to always bow to his intent."50 Cent told NME that the song was the one he would want played at his funeral: "I'd just want everyone to have as much of a party as possible."
The music video was filmed in Los Angeles, California in February 1997, a month before The Notorious B. I. G.'s death. Directed by Paul Hunter, the video starts off with the caption: Florida Keys 5:47 pm, with B. I. G. and Puff Daddy hanging out on a 60-foot Tempest yacht with some ladies when a bunch of helicopters disrupt their party and attempt to capture them. It cuts to B. I. G. and Puff Daddy in an underground parking lot, where they spot a black Hummer and a group of men dressed in black riding motorcycles, attempt to get away from them by driving their vehicle in reverse while in the streets. It cuts to a pool party that's set underwater, where swimsuit models can be seen shaking their bodies through the windows, it ends with B. I. G. and Puff Daddy escaping the helicopters. Intercut throughout the video are scenes of B. I. G. and Puff Daddy behind a sepia background with some female dancers dressed in leather bikinis and B. I. G. Dancing behind a black background while pieces of the chorus are captioned below.
"Hypnotize" – 4:06 "Hypnotize" – 3:59 "Hypnotize" – 5:32 List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of 1997 List of number-one R&B singles of 1997
I'll Be Missing You
"I'll Be Missing You" is a song recorded by American rapper Puff Daddy and American singer Faith Evans, featuring R&B group 112, in memory of fellow Bad Boy Records artist Christopher "The Notorious B. I. G." Wallace, murdered on March 9, 1997. Released as the second single from Puff Daddy and the Family's No Way Out album, "I'll Be Missing You" samples The Police's 1983 hit song "Every Breath You Take", with an interpolated chorus sung by Evans; the track features a spoken intro over a choral version of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings". Another interpolation found in the song is the Christian hymn "I'll Fly Away" and "O Come Let Us Adore Him". In 1998, the song won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Group; the single spent 11 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 during the summer of 1997. With worldwide sales over eight million, including shipments of three million copies in the United States and over one million in both Germany and the United Kingdom, the song has become one of the best-selling singles of all time.
The song, a rap ballad, had been completed before permission was granted to use the sample from The Police's "Every Breath You Take". Sting participated in a performance of "I'll Be Missing You" at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. Sting owns 100% of the publishing royalties; as well as using the melody and arrangement of "Every Breath You Take", the single borrows the melody from the well-known American spiritual "I'll Fly Away". There are several different versions of this song, one being an extended version, another without the choir and an instrumental version. In the extended version of the song the choir is heard singing in the beginning of "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber. Entertainment Weekly gave the song a grade of D, described it as a "maudlin'tribute' to the Notorious B. I. G; the late rapper's former mentor and wife team up to say their farewells to the big man on a song that'samples' the Police's "Every Breath You Take". With lyrics like "Know you're in heaven, smiling down/Watching us while we pray for you,' "I'll Be Missing You" gives the lie to those who claim hip-hoppers are above self-serving sentimentality."
The music video was directed by Hype Williams. Numerous scenes of Puff Daddy, Faith Evans and 112 were filmed in the artistically illuminated passenger walkway tunnel between O'Hare International Airport Terminal 1 Concourses B and C. "I'll Be Missing You" topped many charts across the world. It reached number one in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, Austria, Norway and Poland; the song is one of the few to debut at number one in the U. S. on the Billboard Hot 100, the only rap song by a male to do so until Eminem's "Not Afraid" debuted at the top spot 13 years in 2010. The song spent a record-breaking 11 weeks at number one on the Hot 100, making it the longest running number one hip hop song in history until Eminem's "Lose Yourself" spent 12 weeks at number one in 2002; the song re-entered the UK Singles Chart at number 32 on July 8, 2007, 10 years after it had its full physical release and 10 years after it was number one. CD single Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112 – "I'll Be Missing You"Maxi-single Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112 – "I'll Be Missing You" The Lox – "We'll Always Love Big Poppa" 112 – "Cry On" Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112 – "I'll Be Missing You" The Lox – "We'll Always Love Big Poppa"
Sean John Combs known by the stage names Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puffy and Love is an American rapper, record executive, record producer, entrepreneur. Combs was born in New York City but raised in Mount Vernon, New York, he worked as a talent director at Uptown Records before founding his own record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, in 1993. Combs' debut album, No Way Out has been certified seven times platinum. No Way Out was followed by successful albums such as The Saga Continues... and Press Play. In 2009, Combs formed the musical group Diddy – Dirty Money and released the critically well-reviewed and commercially successful album Last Train to Paris. Combs has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards, is the producer of MTV's Making the Band. In 2018, Forbes estimated his net worth at $825 million, making him the second-richest hip hop recording artist. Sean John Combs was born on November 4, 1969 in Manhattan's Harlem in New York City and was raised in Mount Vernon, New York, his mother, was a model and teacher's assistant and his father, Melvin Earl Combs, served in the U.
S. Air Force and was an associate of convicted New York drug dealer Frank Lucas. At age 33, Melvin was shot to death while sitting in his car on Central Park West, when Combs was 2 years old. Combs graduated from the Roman Catholic Mount Saint Michael Academy in 1987, he played football for the academy and his team won a division title in 1986. Combs said that he was given the nickname Puff as a child, because he would "huff and puff" when he was angry. Combs left after his sophomore year. In 2014, he returned to Howard University to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities and deliver the University's 146th Commencement Address. Combs became an intern at New York's Uptown Records. While talent director at Uptown, he helped develop Mary J. Blige. In his college days Combs had a reputation for throwing parties, some of which attracted up to a thousand participants. In 1991, Combs promoted an AIDS fundraiser with Heavy D held at the City College of New York gymnasium, following a charity basketball game.
The event was oversold, a stampede occurred in which nine people died. In 1993, after being fired from Uptown, Combs established his new label Bad Boy Entertainment as a joint venture with Arista Records, taking then-newcomer The Notorious B. I. G. with him. Both The Notorious B. I. G. and Craig Mack released hit singles, followed by successful LPs Notorious B. I. G.'s Ready to Die. Combs signed more acts to Bad Boy, including Carl Thomas, Faith Evans, 112, Father MC; the Hitmen, his in-house production team, worked with Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim, TLC, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, SWV, Aretha Franklin, others. Mase and the Lox joined Bad Boy just as a publicized rivalry with the West Coast's Death Row Records was beginning. Combs and Notorious B. I. G. were criticized and parodied by Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight in songs and interviews during the mid-1990s. During 1994–1995, Combs produced several songs for TLC's CrazySexyCool, which finished the decade as number 25 on Billboard's list of top pop albums of the decade.
In 1997, under the name Puff Daddy, Combs recorded his first commercial vocal work as a rapper. His debut single, "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down", spent 28 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number one, his debut album, No Way Out, was released on July 1997, through Bad Boy Records. Titled Hell up in Harlem, the album underwent several changes after The Notorious B. I. G. was killed on March 9, 1997. Several of the label's artists made guest appearances on the album. No Way Out was a significant success in the United States, where it reached number one on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release, selling 561,000 copies; the album produced five singles: "I'll Be Missing You", a tribute to The Notorious B. I. G. was the first rap song to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Four other singles. Combs collaborated with Jimmy Page on the song "Come with Me" for the 1998 film Godzilla; the album earned Combs five nominations at the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998, winning the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
On September 7, 2000, the album was certified septuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over 7 million copies. In 1997, Combs was sued for landlord neglect by Inge Bongo. Combs denied the charges. By the late 1990s, he was being criticized for watering down and overly commercializing hip hop, for using too many guest appearances and interpolations of past hits in his new songs. In April 1999 Combs was charged with assault as a result of an incident with Steve Stoute of Interscope Records. Stoute was the manager for Nas, with whom Combs had filmed a video earlier that year for the song "Hate Me Now". Combs was concerned that the video, which featured a shot of Nas and Combs being crucified, was blasphemous, he asked for his scenes on the cross to be pulled, but after it aired unedited on MTV on April 15, Combs visited Stoute's offices and injured Stoute. Combs was charged with second-degree assault and criminal mischief, was sentenced to attend a one-day anger management class.
Forever, Combs' second solo studio album, was released by Bad Boy Records on August 24, 1999, in North America, in the UK on the following day. It reached number two on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, where it remained for one
Usher Raymond IV is an American singer and dancer. He was born in Dallas, but raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee until moving to Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of 12, his mother put him in local singing competitions, before catching the attention of a music A&R from LaFace Records, he released his self-titled debut album, Usher but rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way. It spawned his first U. S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, "Nice & Slow", among top-two singles "You Make Me Wanna..." and "My Way". 8701 produced the number-one singles "U Remind Me" and "U Got It Bad", as well as top-three single "U Don't Have to Call". It sold eight million copies worldwide and won his first two Grammy Awards as Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2002 and 2003. Confessions established him as one of the best-selling musical artists of the 2000s decade, selling 20 million copies worldwide. Bolstered by its four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number one singles—"Yeah!", "Burn", "Confessions Part II" and "My Boo"—it has been certified Diamond by the RIAA.
Here I Stand and Raymond v. Raymond both debuted atop of the Billboard 200 chart and produced the number-one singles "Love in This Club" and "OMG"; the EP, produced top-five single "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love", before releasing top-fifteen single "More". Looking 4 Myself debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart with the top-ten single "Scream"; the R&B ballads "There Goes My Baby" and "Climax" received Grammy Awards in 2011 and 2013. "I Don't Mind" reached the top-fifteen in 2014, while Hard II Love peaked at five on the Billboard 200 chart. Usher has sold 38.2 million digital songs in the United States. Internationally, he has sold 75 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Usher has won numerous awards and accolades including eight Grammy Awards and 18 Billboard Music Awards. At the end of 2009, Billboard named him the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade, the number-one Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade, ranked Confessions as the top solo album of the 2000s decade.
Billboard placed him at number 6 on their list of Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years. Usher has attained nine US Hot 100 number-one singles. Considered an icon and sex symbol, he has had TV and film appearances and seen inductions into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and Hollywood Walk of Fame, he owns the record label Raymond-Braun Media Group, a joint venture with talent manager Scooter Braun that includes Canadian singer Justin Bieber. Usher was born in Dallas, the son of Jonetta Patton and Usher Raymond III. Usher spent the majority of his young life in Tennessee, his father left the family. Usher grew up with his mother, then-stepfather, half-brother, James Lackey. Directed by his mother, Usher joined the local church youth choir in Chattanooga, when he was nine years old. There, his grandmother discovered his ability to sing, although it was not until Usher joined a singing group that she considered he could sing professionally. In the belief that a bigger city would provide greater opportunities for showcasing his talent, Usher's family moved to Atlanta, where there was a more conducive environment for beginning singers.
While in Atlanta, Usher attended North Springs High School. At age ten, Usher joined an R&B local quintet called the NuBeginnings, organized by local music promoter, Darryl Wheeler. Usher recorded ten songs with the group in 1991, the ensuing album, Nubeginning Featuring Usher Raymond IV, was only made available regionally and by mail order. However, Patton took him out because, according to her, it was a "bad experience"; the album was re-released nationally in April 2002 by Hip-O Records. At age 13, Usher met A. J. Alexander at a local talent show in Atlanta. Alexander, who at the time was Bobby Brown's bodyguard, would take Usher around and have him performing in parking lots and talent shows. Alexander invited Bryant Reid, an A&R representative from LaFace Records to see Usher perform on the television talent show Star Search. Following the performance, he arranged an audition for Usher with L. A. Reid, the co-founder of LaFace. Usher's mother left her job as a medical technician to manage his career, but broke up their relationship as manager-client in May 2007.
Usher was introduced on "Call Me a Mack", a song he recorded for the soundtrack album to the 1993 drama-romance film Poetic Justice. During this time period young Usher first met Chilli, his label mate who he would date. Preparing for his debut album, Usher lost his voice. Usher was having a difficult time adjusting his voice. LA Reid became skeptical of Usher and put his recording on hold thinking about dropping him from the label. Usher pleaded with the label to keep him and L. A. Reid did. From this point Reid didn't know what to do with Usher so he sent him to New York in the spring of 1994 to live with Puff Daddy to attend what Reid called "Flavor Camp". Usher adapted to the lavish lifestyle of Puff Daddy although in an interview with Rolling Stone, he expressed it as the "Hardest days" of his life. "I had to knuckle up, figure shit out in New York" he said. As he lived at Puff's house in Scarsdale, New York, he noticed that "There was always girls around". On August 30, 1994, LaFace released Usher's self-titled debut album behind the co-executive production of Sean "P Diddy" Combs.
Usher peaked at number twenty-five on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and