A (Usher and Zaytoven album)

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A
Usher – A album art.png
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 12, 2018
Recorded2018
StudioWestlake Recording
(West Hollywood, California)
Length27:09
Label
  • Brand Usher
  • RCA
ProducerZaytoven
Usher chronology
Hard II Love
(2016)
A
(2018)
Zaytoven chronology
Let the Trap Say Amen
(2018)
A
(2018)
Singles from A
  1. "Peace Sign"
    Released: December 11, 2018
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[1]

A (stylized as "A") is a collaborative studio album by American singer-songwriter Usher and American record producer Zaytoven, who also produced the album.[2] It was released at midnight EST on October 12, 2018.[3] The album is an homage to the city of Atlanta, where Usher and Zaytoven grew up.[4] A features guest appearances from Future and Gunna.[5]

Background and recording[edit]

On July 25, 2018, Mark Pitts, President of Urban Music at RCA, posted a photo on Instagram of him and Usher working in the studio.[6] Pitts posted another image in September on his Instagram of him, Zaytoven, and Usher in the studio.[7] Zaytoven and Usher previously collaborated on the 2009 single "Papers" from Usher's 2010 album Raymond v. Raymond.

In an interview Usher conducted the Thursday before the album release with The Fader, he said "Zaytoven and I were working on my project, my future album, actually. And we started working on songs, had great combinations between the first two, three, and we kept going."[8]

The album was recorded at Westlake Recording Studios in West Hollywood, California.[9]

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album features song-writers Elliott Trent, Dimitri McDowell, and American gospel singer Deitrick Haddon. According to Pitchfork journalist Briana Younger, “A“ is a solid homage to the duo’s beloved Atlanta roots and the city’s sound that has permeated just about every corner of popular music.[10] Elias Leight of Rolling Stone writes catching pop’s waves has always been one of Usher’s greatest strengths, whether that means collaborating with Lil Jon when crunk was going mainstream or charging into EDM.[11]

Promotion[edit]

Usher announced the project on October 11, 2018 with a trailer showing himself and Zaytoven driving around Atlanta and visiting various locations.[4] The trailer also featured various portions of the tracks; alongside this, Usher also posted snippets of the tracks separately on Instagram.[4]

Artwork and packaging[edit]

The cover art for the album is designed by American fashion designer Virgil Abloh. The artwork is Abloh's album-themed take of his own signature Off-White branding.[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

A debuted at number 31 on the US Billboard 200 with 15,000 album-equivalent units, which included 4,000 pure album sales.[12]

Track listing[edit]

Adapted from iTunes.[13]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Stay at Home" (featuring Future)3:28
2."ATA"
  • Raymond IV
  • Dimitri Anthony McDowell
  • Deion Gill
  • Elliott Trent
  • Major Myjah
3:07
3."Peace Sign"
  • Raymond IV
  • Xavier Dotson
  • Elliott Trent
  • Jocelyn A. Donald
  • Dimitri Anthony McDowell
  • Deitrick Haddon
2:58
4."You Decide"
  • Raymond IV
  • Xavier Dotson
  • Dimitri Anthony McDowell
  • Elliott Trent
  • Tony Wilson
  • Haddon
3:32
5."Birthday"
  • Raymond IV
  • Xavier Dotson
  • Jocelyn A. Donald
  • Carlos Coleman
  • Major Myjah
  • Dimitri Anthony McDowell
  • Keith Thomas
  • Theron Thomas
  • Timothy Thomas
  • Deion Gill
  • Elliott Trent
  • Tugun Cannon
  • Brian Bates
3:24
6."She Ain't Tell Ya"
  • Raymond IV
  • Xavier Dotson
  • Nayvadius Wilburn
  • Mario Jefferson
  • Darius Ginn, Jr.
3:21
7."Say What U Want"
  • Raymond IV
  • Xavier Dotson
  • Carlos Coleman
  • Major Myjah
  • Dimitri Anthony McDowell
  • Deion Gill
  • Elliott Trent
  • Deitrick Haddon
3:39
8."Gift Shop" (featuring Gunna)
  • Raymond IV
  • Xavier Dotson
  • Jocelyn A. Donald
  • Tony Wilson
  • Sergio Kitchens
3:41
Total length:27:09

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Digital Albums (ARIA)[14] 35
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[15] 135
US Billboard 200[16] 31
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[17] 19

Personnel[edit]

Credits for A adapted from AllMusic.[18]

Performance credits

References[edit]

  1. ^ allmusic
  2. ^ Strauss, Matthew (October 12, 2018). "Usher and Zaytoven Drop New Album 'A': Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  3. ^ Montgomery, Sarah Jasmine (October 12, 2018). "Usher Dropping New Zaytoven-Produced Project 'A' Tonight". Complex. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Legaspi, Althea (October 12, 2018). "Hear Usher's Surprise New Album 'A'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  5. ^ Johnson, Cherise (October 11, 2018). "Usher & Zaytoven "A" Stream, Cover Art & Tracklist". HipHopDX. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  6. ^ "Mark Pitts on Instagram: "Great Music is NEVER gonna have an expiration date, so regardless how The Game CHANGES, NEVER change Your QUALITY!!.......LIL brah @usher..."". Retrieved October 15, 2018 – via Instagram.
  7. ^ "Mark Pitts on Instagram: "I Love watching how the New Generation SEES what's going on out here in Music! I'm Still Learning everyday and tho I'm enjoying every bit..."". Retrieved October 15, 2018 – via Instagram.
  8. ^ a b "Usher on creating his surprise project A with Zaytoven". The Fader. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  9. ^ https://www.hot97.com/news/interviews/zaytoven-creating-surprise-album-usher-photos-0
  10. ^ "Usher / Zaytoven: "A" Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  11. ^ Leight, Elias (2018-10-12). "On 'A,' Usher Moves With the Times — and That's a Bad Thing". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  12. ^ Eustice, Kyle (October 22, 2018). "Hip Hop Album Sales: Quavo's "Quavo Huncho" Catapults To No. 2 On Billboard 200". Hiphopdx. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  13. ^ ""A" by Usher & Zaytoven on iTunes". iTunes Store. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Digital Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. October 22, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Usher – A" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved Oktober 20, 2018.
  16. ^ "Usher Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  17. ^ "Usher Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  18. ^ ""A" - Usher, Zaytoven | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018-11-27.