Usher Raymond covers the December/January issue of Complex. There's good news and awful news. First, the good. Mark Mann's photography is amazing; the colors are crisp, the stark black and whites and warm browns are strong visuals. The white cover and most of Usher's styling is right-on-target.
However, Usher's re-styling as a thug-wannabe is ridiculously absurd. If you must, plod your way through an absolutely awful interview conducted by "gonzo journalist" R.A. the Rugged Man where Usher "tries to keep it gangtsa." The phony hardcore act is almost as excruciating as watching In the Mix or its dismal box office returns. But don't toss aside the magazine down in disgust because there are several hilarious confessions—the major ones being that Usher is not gay (although he regularly enjoys a colonic) and, most disturbing, he has had sex with an "ugly chick."
"I don't get down like that." The teenybopper was asked to reveal a shocking story that might "scare off some of [his] kiddie fans." (We warned you. Aw. Ful.) Usher: "Y'all read it in the tabloids. You know, the orgies and the whole nine."
Were there ever homosexual activities in any of these orgies? That might be a shocking story...
There was women-on-women but never man-on-man. Shit, nowhere near that! Hell no! No one that I ever roll with or would ever roll with would get down like that.
No one that Usher could ever know could possibly "get down like that"? Never ever? Not a stylist, a producer, a writer, a certain VP at La Face ... possibly even a trainer at the Bally's in Buckhead? Mm'kay.
His bravado isn't upsetting—the entire interview is an exercise in revisionism that seeks to portray Usher as a thugged out wild child. The dismissals of any gay influence are more than somewhat ironic coming from a young man whose entire on-stage persona and style was appropriated from the club kids and the ball community.
Speaking of anal action, Usher confesses that he regularly undergoes colonics but "no, not [a] monthly thing. Hell no!"
Doesn't that procedure involve having a tube inserted into your rectum? It sounds pretty painful, brother.
It ain't no shit you gonna be proud of, I'll tell you that.
Eventually, Usher tires of talking about his azz—which is very nice, as we saw last year in London when he exposed himself to the paparazzi and gave himself a spanking. Usher is not down with the gays, he's man enough to undergo regular colon cleaning, but there's one thing that he will not discuss:
You ever bang an ugly chick? Tell me about her. Was she fat? What did she look like?
I don't have any details for you, man. I'd like to forget about it if I could.
Yes. Let's do that.
More Complex reviews below.Revenge of the NERD (Rod 2.0) Beauty and Thug (Rod 2.0) Not So Complex (Rod 2.0) All About Alba (Rod 2.0) Hip Hop Hooray? (Rod 2.0)