U Got It Bad

Album: 8701 (2001)
Charted: 5 1
Play Video


  • In this song, Usher sings about that love-blind state when everything in your life revolves around your lover. It can be blissful, sure, but it's not very productive, especially when you're trying to work.

    The song has a real-life inspiration. Usher was working in the studio with his producer, Jermaine Dupri, and couldn't concentrate because his girl was there. They had some beef, so she left, but then called him, making it impossible for Usher to get any work done. Dupri kicked him out of the studio, telling Usher they'd have to do it later because "You got it bad right now."

    When Usher left, Dupri realized "You Got It Bad" made a good song title (Usherized into "U Got It Bad"). He started working on the song, thinking of all the people who have been through something similar. When Usher returned, they started working on it with Dupri's co-producer Bryan Michael Cox. Usher fleshed out the lyrics with Dupri, and Cox came up with the piano line to get the song started musically.
  • "U Got It Bad" was Usher's third #1 hit in America, landing at the top spot in December 2001 when he was 23. A lot happened in the months leading up to it. The 8701 album was his third, coming four years after his previous album, My Way. There was a lot of anticipation for it and his label, LaFace Records, gave the first single, "U Remind Me" a big promotional push. That song held the #1 spot for all of July, but Usher's next single, the Puff Daddy collaboration "I Don't Know," was pulled soon after it was released in August.

    Usher then focused on two Michael Jackson tribute concerts held September 7 and 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. These were star-studded affairs where Jackson performed during the second half of each show (including with his brother in a Jacksons reunion) and the first half was filled with special guests doing a combination of their own songs and Jackson's. It was all aimed at promoting his album Invincible.

    Usher was framed as Jackson's heir during these shows, where he was the only performer who could sing and dance on Jackson's level. He opened each show with Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."

    So Usher basically put his own album on hold to fete Jackson. Then September 11 happened and everything was put on hold. The concerts aired as a TV special in November, which is when "U Got It Bad" started climbing the charts. Usher didn't tour to support the album until February 2002.
  • The music video, helmed by Director X, stars Chilli from TLC as the girl Usher can't get off his mind. She's also in the "U Remind Me" video.

    Chilli and Usher were a real-life couple by this point and stayed that way until their split in 2003. Like Usher, TLC were signed to LaFace Records.
  • Usher followed this up with another U song: "U Don't Have to Call," which went to #3. The three hit singles from the album each had different top-shelf production teams. "U Remind Me" was Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; "U Got It Bad" was Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox; "U Don't Have To Call" was The Neptunes.

    Usher's first album also had a mishmash of producers but "My Way" was mostly Dupri with Manuel Seal as co-producer. Dupri was happy to have other producers on the 8701 album; he had other clients as well, including Jagged Edge and Lil Bow Wow.
  • After a week on top of the Hot 100, "U Got It Bad" was overtaken by Nickelback's "How You Remind Me," but four weeks later returned to #1, where it stayed for five more weeks before getting bumped by "Always On Time" by Ja Rule and Ashanti.
  • Jermaine Dupri called Ciara's 2015 track "I Bet" a "complete rip-off of Usher's 'U Got It Bad.'"

    "I'm clear on what I made and I'm clear on how music influences people and I'm clear on chord changes and how people move things," he told the Associated Press.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Producer Ron Nevison

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.

Corey Hart

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"They're Playing My Song

"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

Paul Williams

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."