Usher Raymond IV (//; born October 14, 1978), who performs under the mononym Usher, is an American recording artist and actor. He rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way, which spawned his first Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit, "Nice and Slow". His follow-up album 8701 (2001) produced the Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits "U Remind Me" and "U Got It Bad". Both albums sold over 8 million copies worldwide, establishing Usher as one of the biggest selling R&B artists of the 1990s.
Usher's success continued with his 2004 album Confessions, which has sold over ten million copies in the United States, and been certified diamond by the RIAA. Confessions has the highest first week sales for an R&B artist in history, and sold over 20 million copies worldwide. It spawned a record breaking four consecutive Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits—"Yeah!", "Burn", "Confessions Part II", and "My Boo". Usher's 2008 album Here I Stand sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and its lead single "Love In This Club" peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100.
On March 30, 2010, Usher released his sixth studio album Raymond v. Raymond, which became his third consecutive album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. It has been certified platinum by the RIAA and spawned another Billboard Hot 100 number-one hit "OMG". The song became his ninth number one in the United States, making him the first 2010s artist to collect number one singles in three consecutive decades, and only the fourth artist of all-time to achieve the feat. He later released an extended play and deluxe edition of "Raymond v. Raymond", entitled Versus, which debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart. Its lead single "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love", achieved international success and has reached number-five on the Billboard Hot 100.
To date,Usher has certified sales of over 50 million albums worldwide.He has won numerous awards including five Grammy Awards, four World Music Awards, six American Music Awards, and nineteen Billboard Music Awards. In 2008, Usher was ranked as the 21st most successful Hot 100 Singles Artist of all-time by Billboard magazine. The RIAA ranks Usher as one of the best-selling artists in American music history, having sold over 23 million copies in the United States alone. Billboard Magazine ranked Usher the number one Hot 100 artist of the 2000s decade. They also named him the second most successful artist of the 2000s decade, and his 2004 album Confessions was ranked as the top solo album and second most successful overall album of the last decade. Usher has attained nine hot 100 number-one hits (all as a lead artist) and has attained sixteen hot 100 top-ten hits. Aside from his musical career, he is regarded as a sex symbol. In 1998 People Magazine named him the sexiest R&B artist alive. In 2010, Glamour Magazine named him one of the 50 sexiest men alive.
8701 is the third studio album by American R&B singer Usher, released by Arista Records on August 7, 2001, in North America. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2000 to 2001, and was handled by several producers including The Neptunes, Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, Mike City, P. Diddy, Bryan Michael Cox, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
The album debuted at number-four on the US Billboard 200 chart selling 210,000 copies. It has sold 4.7 million copies in the US and over 8 million worldwide; it received a 4× platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 8701 received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising Usher's maturity and more polished vocals. Billboard ranked the album number 63 on the Billboard 200 decade-end charts.
"Lil Freak" is a song by American recording artist Usher, taken from his sixth studio album, Raymond v. Raymond. Featuring guest vocals by American recording artist Nicki Minaj, the song was written by her, Usher, Ester Dean, Blac Elvis and Polow da Don, the latter two producing the track. Its hook is based around a manipulated sample of American soul musician Stevie Wonder's 1973 hit, "Living for the City". "Lil Freak" was released as the second single from the album in the United States and Canada on March 2, 2010.
Carrying a dark tone, composed of heavy bass beats derived from R&B and hip hop music, it is lyrically based around the thrill of orchestrating ménage à trois in a club. The song received positive reviews from critics who complimented it sensual nature. It peaked at number forty on the Billboard Hot 100, and eight on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, becoming Usher's sixteenth top ten hit on the latter chart. The song's accompanying music video has a secret society concept, dealing with an underground club, playing on the storyline of the song.