Rolling Stone - 8/30/01, p.1253 stars out of 5
- "...His velvety voice and sky-high tolerance for crooning about girls are on full display....Usher's vocals are impressively adaptable....8701's wispy slow jams and booming club cuts strike a sweet nerve."
Vibe - 9/01, pp.235-63 discs out of 5
- "...A steady flow of bump'n'grind promises to the ladies....managing to bring some worthwhile dishes to the table....A consistent 3rd album that has a good chance amongst a marketplace overflowing with crooning R&B clones..."
This is an Enhanced CD which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Personnel includes: Usher, P. Diddy, Kelis (vocals); Jermaine Dupri (vocals, various instruments); Soulshock (various instruments, turntables); Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, Jimmy Jam, Terry Louis, Babyface, Bryan-Michael Cox, Karlin (various instruments); Dave Barry (acoustic guitar); William "Billy" Odum, Juan "Johnny" Najera, LaMarquis Jefferson (guitar); Valdez Brantley (keyboards, programming); Arthur Strong, James "Big Jim" Wright (keyboards); Stokley (drums); Alex Richbourg (programming); Sheree Ford-Payne, Bria Fuentes, Raymond Ford, Tajuanna Ford (background vocals).
Producers include: Edmund "Eddie Hustle" Clement, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, The Neptunes, Jermaine Dupri.
Engineers include: John Frye, Mark Rains, Bryan Garten.
"U Remind Me" won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
"U Don't Have To Call" won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
Personnel: Usher (vocals).
Recording information: Brandon's Way Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Flyte Tyme studios, Edina, MN; Hitland Studios, Alpharetta, GA; Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA; SouthSide Studios, Atlanta, GA; Stankonia Recording Studios, Atlanta, GA; The Hit Factory, New York, NY; Tree Sound Studios, Norcross, GA.
R&B mack daddy Usher puts a lot of himself into 8701; that's apparent even from the title itself, which represents the year Usher began exploring the world of music ('87) and the place where music brought him by the time of this recording ('01). He starts thing out in grand style with the romantic "U Remind Me." "I Don't Know" takes a hip-hop turn with a contribution from P. Diddy (that's Puff Daddy for those of you arriving late), but Usher is quick to point out that he's strictly about partying and loving, not about thug life. While there are some amped-up, percolating tunes that make good use of Usher's high energy ("I Can't Let U Go"), he really hits his stride when he falls into the familiar position of heartthrob/crooner. His sensual cooing, breathy tone, and smooth-as-silk delivery on the likes of "Can U Help Me" (Usher seems to have graduated from the Prince school of song titles) and "How Do I Say" play to this charmer's strengths and are sure to keep the sizable female quotient of his audience sufficiently entranced.