Usher performs during the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 on December 2, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Photo: Jemal Countess (Getty Images for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100)

The new year traditionally marks new beginnings: renewed commitments to health, progress and prosperity—and, in the case of many, a new look.

We can only assume that’s what R&B singer Usher was thinking when he decided to go Team Unnatural on the eve of 2019, debuting a ’60s-era, Sammy Davis-styled permed pompadour the likes of which we haven’t seen since, well, Yung Joc’s similar transformation, circa 2016. (It’s a comparison that wasn’t lost on the highly meme-able Joc himself.)

Of course, back in 2016, Joc claimed that he’d changed his hair for an acting role (did anyone ever see that onscreen appearance?), but no such explanation was given for Usher’s unexpected glow up, leading the internet to ask one simple question: WHHHHHHHHHHHHY???

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No, really. Why? Does Usher have a new role on the horizon, too? Is this new crown an attempt to reclaim his title as the King of R&B? Is this his version of a breakup makeover after filing for divorce from wife Grace Miguel last week? Is there a concept album in the works? Notably, after initially debuting the new style via Instagram Live (with commentary on how much effort it took to get the look—welcome to the world of high maintenance, my guy), Usher debuted a series of stylized photos on New Year’s Day, captioned simply “Rat Pack 2019.”

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But is Usher really prepared for this permed life? For the touch-ups, the edge control, the blowouts, followed by the raindrop-dodging... Has he hired a professional umbrella holder yet—did Fonzworth Bentley ever franchise out his services? Has he designated a drawer for silk scarves? An entire cabinet for products and hot tools? The upkeep alone is a beast. What in the Little Richard hell is he up to with this?

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That said, who says men can’t enjoy a little versatility, too? We already know he likes it his way, so if Usher wants to live that press-and-curl life so that his tresses can swing free in 2019, so be it. After all, he’s far from the first to rock this look. Somewhere in conk heaven, Jackie Wilson, Chuck Berry, and James Brown are likely saluting its comeback, though we won’t be holding our breath to see if it catches on.

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We also won’t be surprised if Usher quickly tires of this look and decides to “let it burn.” But truth be told, we likely should’ve seen this coming last Halloween.