"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.