Usher has brought us some classics – U-Turn, U Got It Bad, Yeah – and I am not ashamed to admit that my sister and I took the time to learn the words and any relevant dance routines to these songs. Outside of his work, he has also gifted the world with his wisdom on the topics of appearance and a woman’s role in his life: “Appearance is something you should definitely consider when you’re going out. Have your girlfriend clip your nails or something like that.”
So it stands to reason that I was excited to learn that he had released a new song. An artist of his calibre and track-record was surely going to come up with a banger to listen to in the comfort of a private session on Spotify.
“I Don’t Mind” is about Usher’s girlfriend being a stripper. We’ve been here before – Wyclef Jean told us back in 2000 on ‘Perfect Gentleman’ all about how he had to call up his mama to tell her he was in love with a stripper (yo). T-Pain followed and told us in his, er, dulcet tones that he too had suffered the same fate and had fallen in love with a stripper.
Usher’s message on his version is that he really doesn’t mind about her career choice. Maybe he’s been keeping an eye on the modern feminist movement and wanted to get in on the sex positive action or maybe confidence just isn’t an issue for this guy. All just wild speculation of course, but one thing is for sure – he does not mind one bit. No siree. Not this guy. Or does he?
Shawty, I don’t mind If you dance on a pole
That don’t make you a ho
Shawty, I don’t mind when you work until three
If you’re leaving with me
Go make that money, money, money
Your money, money, money
Cause I know how it is, go and handle your biz
And get that money, money, money
Your money, money, money
You can take off your clothes
Long as you coming home, girl, I don’t mind
Whilst it is encouraging that Usher does know that the money his shawty is making from doing her job is in fact HER money, he feels the need to remind us 3 times in a space of 34 seconds that he doesn’t mind. As this hook is repeated throughout the song, he actually says ‘I don’t mind’ 15 times in total. Thou doth protest too much, Usher?
The ballers in here tonight, they gon’ buy a hundred bottles
As soon as you shake it I know they gon’ make it colossal in here
Cause shawty you thinkin’ them tricks that you do with your body
Got all of these niggas they crowding around you like they seen Beyonce in here
You want your own and you need your own, baby, who am I to judge?
Cause how could I ever trip about it when I met you in the club?
I make enough for the both of us, but you dance anyway
You know I was raised in the A
Of course Usher can’t judge her for the very thing that caused him to fall in love with her! That would be wrong. I’m sure the guys in the A appreciate that. It does seem a shame though, that he has to point out that despite how good (/colossal) she is at her job, he STILL makes more money than her. The struggle is real, Usher. Don’t be that guy.
When you get off of work I’ll be ready to go in the ‘Rari
And when we get home we’ll have us our own private party in here
So I don’t worry at all about the things they do or say
I love you anyway
You can twerk it while in a split, you racking up them tips
Your body rock and your booty poppin’, I’m proud to call you my bitch
They be lookin’, but they can’t touch you, shawty, I’m the only one to get it
So just go ahead and keep doing what you do, do it
Usher’s so chivalrous, picking his girl up from work in his car. His ‘Rari, actually. You know, the super expensive fancy sports car that you can only buy if you earn loads of money. That one. Anyway, after spending hours on her feet, I’m sure the only thing his bitch really wants is an after party. Usher’s just a great guy, don’t worry about it.
Juicy J has been desperate to chime in up until now, randomly shouting ‘MIND/OKAY/YOUR BODY’ and now is his time to shine with his own verse:
I’m just tryna cut her up, tryna bust a nut
Tryna take somebody bitch, turn her to a slut
Tryna fill my cup, tryna live it up
Throw some hundreds on that ass, walk her out the club
(Yeah, ho) Lap dance for the first date
Bet I threw a few bands, that’s third base
It’s okay if you work late, we can still party like it’s your birthday
We can still party hard in your birthday suit
Knock that pussy out the park like my name Babe Ruth
Shawty she just want a tip, I just want to see her strip
If you fuck me like you love me shawty you might get rich
Have her own cake, her own place, blow her own gas, no role’
When we in the bed she like to roleplay, tell her friend to join in both ways
Cor. I just feel like Juicy’s killing the vibe here. Usher’s trying to show his sensitive side about his bitch’s career choice but Juicy just comes in all brash about it. Maybe it’s that Juicy is also confused about Usher’s position on this matter – even though he’s been told a number of times now that dancing on a pole doesn’t make her a ho, Juicy goes ahead and just straight up calls her a ho. It seems unfair to demand the very thing she does for a living on the first date; but this is coming from a guy that uses a baseball player who’s been dead for 66 years as a point of sexual reference.
I think it’s safe to say that Usher might not be the progressive, modern feminist he once thought he was. And the worst part? You can’t even dance to it.
- Katie Chodosh