Usher on What Tevin Campbell Took From Him: “‘Can We Talk’ was My Song” | Watch

Tevin Campbell & Usher screenshot
Tevin Campbell & Usher screenshot

*Usher got candid recently about the ripple effect of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds’ beef with Antonio “L.A.” Reid, which resulted in Usher losing the song “Can We Talk” to Tevin Campbell.

During a stop at Questlove’s Pandora radio show, Questlove Supreme, Usher spoke about what it was like to fire his momager, regret over turning away a young Chris Brown, why he didn’t leave ex-wife Tameka Raymond sooner, and much more. He also told the story about catching shrapnel in the feud going on between legendary production team LA and Babyface, his label heads at LaFace. Ursh said that he was supposed to record the Babyface and Daryl Simmons-penned “Can We Talk” for use on his album, but Babyface instead gave it to Campbell to spite LA Reid.

“When I first signed to LaFace Records, I wanted to do an album with Babyface and LA Reid, right? I signed specifically for that reason,” Usher told Questlove. “So LA Reid wanted Babyface to work on me…and they were going through, you know, a lot of drama at the time. They were kinda severing their ties. [Babyface] got mad…and he built an entire album for me, and he gave the whole album to somebody else…Tevin Campbell! ‘Can We Talk’…was my song…”

Campbell ended up taking “Can We Talk” to No. 1 on the R&B Singles chart, where it stayed a total of three weeks, and to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993. It was the lead single from his second studio album, “I’m Ready,” and was nominated for Grammy.

Apparently, there were no hard feelings between Usher and Tevin over the song. At Usher’s Las Vegas residency last September, he surprised the audience by bringing Tevin on stage to sing “Can We Talk.”

Regarding the firing of his mother Jonetta Patton as his manager, Usher told Questlove: “I’m a grown man in theory because I’ve always been the man of the house…I’ve elected to be the provider of the family even though my mother is the protector…she crippled me a little bit for a minute because my focus wasn’t, had nothing to do with business. Had everything to do with art and I thank her for that because I wouldn’t of established the focus that I have now…if I was always kind of trying to figure out who’s trying to take the money, where the money’s coming from, I would’ve been petty…I would have lost sight of what the goal was…”

Asked about his biggest regret, Usher said that it was the day he ignored working with a young Chris Brown. “So there’s one thing in my career that I definitely regret, one thing,” Usher said. “And to this day I battle with it, which is why I always show support of this artist whenever he asks…So his manager comes in…They show him to me…I was working on an album at this time, they wanted him to perform on this album…I was like okay cool…Then I went to my team and they was like ‘I don’t think you should work with this artist’…Then he left…Chris Brown.”

As for divorcing his ex-wife Tameka Raymond, Usher didn’t speak to longstanding rumors about firing his mother because she didn’t approve of Tameka. He did, however, say that his mother tried to warn him about marrying her, adding: “That marriage and that relationship was gonna come to an end…but it served a purpose in my life…And no matter what my mother was attempting to tell me, and a lot of people were trying to tell me about that, I think a lot of it had to do with my lack thereof a father…I did not want to be a person who would just roll out…”

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