There are four guest rappers on Justin Bieber’s new album Believe and that means only one thing – four love duets! But who’s most likely to stick around?
Ludacris (All around the world)
How does Justin sound? Breathy, and very excited to tell Ludacris how beautiful he is. (I suppose at this point some of you will be thinking ‘No, stop! Justin’s straight! Poor Selena! He mentions a girl in the lyrics! He must be singing to a girl! Ludacris must be rapping about the same girl!’ Well I suppose if you find the idea of Justin Bieber and Ludacris going sloppy seconds on Selena Gomez more wholesome than a nice bit of consensual man-love you’re very welcome to that interpretation. It’s a week since Frank Ocean, people. Anything goes now.)
How does Ludacris sound? He’s in awe. ‘I love everything about you, you’re imperfectly perfect!’ he gushes. (Yeah, really, if they’re both supposed to be addressing their lyrics to the same girl it’s at worst pretty squicky and at best especially awkward, even in MTV awards circles. And let’s not forget, Ludacris is a master of this sort of thing. It’s him who got T-Pain on a track a few years ago so they could drawl ‘If I take one more drink, I’m gon’ end up fucking you!’ at each other after all. If you’re in any doubt about THAT one go and listen again – the ‘Who else?’ ‘You too!’ banter at the end clears things up pretty definitively.)
How’s their loving? Both lads are keen to stress their love shouldn’t be taboo. ‘Why you acting so shy, holding back? We’re not the only ones doing it like that!’ says Justin. ‘People say you don’t deserve it! Don’t give in, hate may win some battles, but love wins in the end!’ adds Luda. (Seriously, people. Channel Orange.)
Big Sean (As Long As You Love Me)
How does Justin sound? A bit moody. He’s picturing how love would survive even if he and Sean were starving, homeless, or – apparently the worst of the three as it’s the climax of the line – broke.
How does Sean sound? Startled, to be fair, but whether from the buzz & chop production or the sudden realisation of his love for Justin it’s hard to say. ‘I know we got issues, but I’d rather work on this with you than go ahead and start with someone new,’ he says, although it’s delivered in a gabbled, insincere rush.
How’s their loving? Not the best I’m afraid. Sean just brings out Justin’s petulance and neither of them really convince us that they’d stick together through anything other than habit. ‘The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it,’ says Sean. To be honest, if his water is turning Justin green down there they should probably pop to the clinic.
Nicki Minaj (Beauty and a Beat)
How does Justin sound? Eager to impress. ‘I’m coming for you!’ he claims, before saying they’re going to party like it’s 3012. She’s not THAT much older than you, Justin!
How does Nicki sound? A bit frosty but definitely up for some fun. ‘Justiiiinnnnn,’ she warns at the start, before later rhyming ‘Justin Bieber’ with ‘Buns out, wiener.’
How’s their loving? ‘I gotta keep my eye out for Selena,’ tuts Nicki and her heart doesn’t seem to be in it apart from the buns & wiener action mentioned above. As both she and Justin talk about ticket sales and world tours in their lyrics it feels more like a commercial compromise than anything else.
Drake (Right Here)
How does Justin sound? Completely infatuated. ‘Lost in your eyes every time that you look in mine – I promise to be all that you need,’ he sings dreamily.
How does Drake sound? Needy, conflicted and also completely infatuated. ‘Selfish of me to ask,’ he apologises before going on like Nicki to address the Selena-shaped elephant in the room. ‘Good girl got her mind right, she been raised right, being patient, I know you waiting on a good thing… When the time’s right you should let me get to know you, baby.’ Blimey.
How’s their loving? There are lots of little moans and gasps buried in the background production of this one, just in case it wasn’t all homoerotic enough to start with. ‘I just want to put it on you!’ ejaculates Justin. ‘Wish that you knew all that I do to make this thing go right,’ rasps Drake, referring perhaps to Justin’s lack of experience. It’s so steamy I think we should discreetly drape a Canadian flag over the pair of them and leave them to it.