usher officially the next king of pop

Time Magazine has crowned Usher the next Michael Jackson <3

Ever since he broke through with his 1997 release My Way, Usher has maintained cultural relevance. He has never had a comeback because there never was a decrease in his popularity. For 15 years, he has seamlessly conquered the R&B and hip-hop scene, endured while peers faltered, and then conquered some more. The seven-time Grammy winner is continuously emulated (see: Brown, Chris), but his tenure as a superstar is rivaled only by legends (see: Jackson, Michael). “Simply put: Evolve or evaporate,” Usher told Spin in an interview earlier this month. “That’s how you stick around. Evolve or evaporate. You have to be cognizant of what’s going on around you. You can’t be so bold and reluctant to be receptive to change that you don’t allow yourself to grow.” This makes sense; creativity spawns unique art, and creativity, by nature, is never stagnant.

What is compelling about Usher’s new album, Looking 4 Myself, is how he tries to develop an amalgam of the musical ingredients he has toyed with in the past to produce a new genre he coins “revolutionary pop.” In other words, he’s never needed a career rejuvenation, but in his new album, he’s reinventing himself anyway. And that willingness to progress at the risk of failure is why Usher still matters in 2012 while artists like Next are an afterthought.