Usher is back with new album Looking 4 Myself, released June 12. Looking to take over clubs all over again, the album contains a bonus track with the rapper set up to rule this year’s hip hop landscape, A$AP Rocky. Unashamed in its aims and unrestrained in its execution, the song is a dancing sledgehammer to the ear.
All throbbing bass and all-too-prominent heavy breathing, “Hot Thing” stereotypes club songs and remolds them. In other words, it’s thick with overwrought over-production. It’s the movie version of Miami Vice trying to be Nelly circa 2002. Usher lost the magic of “Yeah!“, fell into a daze of vodka shot glory, and produced a song that fills ridiculous beats with lyrics that equal them:
Shawty got a body that jeans can’t hold
And she moving like she learned everything from the pole
And she loved to party, number one hobby
Out ’til the morning, better ask somebody
According to YouTube commentary, the song is only notable for A$AP. Each version of the song up on the site has top comments linking to the beginning of A$AP’s verse. Shockingly enough, it seems Rocky is more of a hot thing than Usher these days–so much so that his name-dropping Usher seems more favor than honorarium:
Go Nicki Minaj flow when I hit the verse, uh
If you let me menage, I’ll take you to see Ursher
In fact, it even seems that Nicki Minaj rapping about Usher is more interesting than Usher. Here, at least, the pop star is resting solely on previous magic and that buttery voice. Let’s hope it’s just the bonus track, and not the album.