How Usher Arrived at the Super Bowl Halftime Show

In a 30-year career, Usher has been many things — an R&B prodigy, a history-minded technician, a legitimate crossover pop star, an EDM experimenter and lately, a consummate showman with a Las Vegas residency that prompted untold viral videos of a performer extraordinarily at ease with his gifts.

And yet Usher, 45, has long felt curiously undervalued, which perhaps explains why it is only now that he has been offered what might be music’s biggest stage: the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show. (He was a guest during the 2011 show.)

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about Usher’s long career path through several generations of R&B, how he was received at his pop peak, and what he might do on the halftime stage.

Guests:

Thomas Hobbs, who writes about music for The Evening Standard, The Telegraph and others

Danielle Amir Jackson, editor in chief of The Oxford American

Connect With Popcast. Become a part of the Popcast community: Join the show’s Facebook group and Discord channel. We want to hear from you! Tune in, and tell us what you think at popcast@nytimes.com. Follow our host, Jon Caramanica, on Twitter: @joncaramanica.

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