Rivaling his teenie fans' feelings for him, Justin Bieber has a big case of hip-hop fever. Despite being known for unabashedly poppy tunes, the Biebs takes every opportunity to break into rap verse and hob-nob with hip-hop stars. Perhaps most bizarrely, they unequivocally love him back.
Maybe it has something to do with Bieber's affiliation with Usher, but top rap talents are scrambling to work with him. Kanye West and Drake are scheduled to appear on his next album, which should come out early next year. Bieber's Christmas album, Under The Mistletoe, meanwhile, even has a frickin' collaboration with Busta Rhymes, of all people. But it doesn't stop there. Here are the floppy-fringed pop cherub's most notable rap moments.
5. Tim Westwood Freestyle
DJ Tim Westwood is something like the UK's equivalent of Funkmaster Flex, an influential radio hip-hop tastemaker. So, of course, when Bieber hit London on a promotional tour he stopped by Westwood's show to drop a freestyle. “Cathing Bieber fever/ Forget the swine flu!” rapped Bieber. Other hot lines Biebs coined that day: “ATL, baby, is where I reside/ I'm a young white rapper and I don't get high!” and “I'm J Bieber — I'm always in the fast lane!”
4. “Baby” (Justin Bieber Death Remix)
Proving the Biebs gets respect on the underground rap circuit, here one-time Company Flow member and Definitive Jux founder El-P tests his production skills on JB's mega pop hit “Baby.” El samples Wings' “Live And Let Die” for his version of the song, and it comes together quite well. The word “bitch!” is also sprinkled liberally throughout the remix, as if some sort of ironic sonic punctuation.
3. “Runaway Love Remix”
Kanye West feat. Raekwon and Justin Bieber
Chubby Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon's appearance on this remix to Kanye's “Runaway Love” takes the track in an appropriately grimy direction; the original beat is also replaced with one based on “Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothing To Fuck With.” Then, suddenly, Bieber pops up on the track, singing in a sickly sweet style. Somehow, RZA approved of the whole shebang.
2. “Little Drummer Boy”
Justin Bieber feat. Busta Rhymes
The ultimate odd couple collabration, here Biebs and Busta makeover the traditional Christmas classic in quite non-traditional fashion. Bussa Bus conjures up a fine festive scene by bragging “Let's gather round the fireplace — it's about to get hot in here!” Bieber, for his part, spits pure heat like, “Playing for the king, playing for the title/ I'm surprised you didn't hear this in the Bible.”
1. “Speaking In Tongues”
Shawty Mane is the rapping persona Bieber uses to satisfy his hip-hop kicks. “Speaking In Tongues” demonstrates his pop-rap patois rhyme style, as he boasts about how he will “call up Lady Gaga on my, on my telephone.” As the track closes, Bieber helpfully points out that “I'm white.” He ad libs: “I murdered that, mayne,” as if there was any doubt.