This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
A year ago, when this album was first supposed to be released, it was called All About U — a Prince-ly spelling affectation that seems fitting given the preponderance of song titles like U Got it Bad, U Remind Me and U R The One.
Now revamped with several new tracks, this sucker has been retitled 8701. On the enhanced CD portion, Usher Raymond says that refers to the length of his musical life, which began in 1987 and continues to today. Whatever. From where I sit, it could just as easily stand for the number of hip-hop and soul cliches wrapped up into these 15 cuts. There are the usual superstar producers (Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Babyface, Jermaine Dupri), the usual kinetic slow-groove beats, the usual “sex you up” lover-man shtik, the usual wind-chime and acoustic guitar ballads. But aside from one standout cut — the rousingly aggressive I Can’t Let U Go — there’s really nothing here for U.