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Culture Wars

This Prankster Swapped Out Every Justin Bieber CD in the City

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Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 4:10 AM
click to enlarge Paz's CD, inside a Justin Bieber case - ARTEMIS THOMAS-HANSARD
  • Artemis Thomas-Hansard
  • Paz's CD, inside a Justin Bieber case
In a rather epic undertaking of graphic design manipulation, self-promotion, and petty crime, Los Angeles DJ Paz Dylan has swapped every Justin Bieber CD in the city, and replaced it with his own.

He made a bunch of fake Bieber CD cases, put his own CD in them, and then swapped the cases on shelves of stores all over the city - 5,000 CDs in all, he says.

Don't believe it? We didn't either, especially since Dylan, a veteran prankster, sent around his press release on April Fool's Day. But then we tested it ourselves, going to a random Best Buy on Pico Boulevard.
 
click to enlarge ARTEMIS THOMAS-HANSARD
  • Artemis Thomas-Hansard
There, sitting on the rack were a handful of Bieber Believe CD cases, in plastic wrap just like all the others. If you look carefully, however, you'll see that, unlike other artists' CDs, Bieber's didn't have any stickers. Other than that, they looked totally legit.

Once paid for, we opened it up and - voila! - behind Bieber's urgent-looking mug was Paz's From The Bottom Of My Heart To The Top Of Your Lungs, whose art features a dog in a baseball cap wrapped up in a taco, and which sounds like Skrillex with Kendrick Lamar rapping over it.

A pretty neat trick, and one that he says took about a month of intense work. In fact, when we took the CDs to the front register and paid our 15 lousy bucks, the swapped-in cases actually scanned!

"The bar code was one of the most difficult parts," says Dylan when reached by phone.

His bio describes him as a "25-year-old subversive street artist and electronic musician." But what exactly was the point of all of this? Dylan, complaining about the difficulty independent musicians have getting into retail stores,  says the goal was to get exposure for his own music.

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