In a recent interview, The Weeknd made it crystal clear that there was no bad blood between him and fellow R&B crooner Usher. The news comes following rumors that the two had beef after the Blinding lights singer compared his work to Usher’s 2012 single “Climax.”
“I heard ‘Climax,’ that Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f—, that’s a Weeknd song,'” The weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, revealed in the interview. “It was very flattering, and I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing.”
The “My Boo” singer didn’t respond directly but later posted a video to Instagram where he sang the track acapella.
“He’s one of the reasons why I make music”
The Weeknd finally made it clear that he never had any type of feud with Usher due to his comments. Abel noted that he even called him up to apologize for how they could have been misinterpreted.
“I hit him up to apologize and tell him that it was misconstrued,” he revealed. “He’s one of the reasons why I make music … I have nothing bad to say about Usher. The sweetest, most down-to-earth guy ever.”
News of the potential drama inspired headlines earlier this year. The Weeknd tweeted out a response when Diplo, who worked on Usher’s “Climax,” shared that the production on the track “lends itself to the House of Balloons era.” Which is The Weeknd’s debut mixtape. “ When I heard those early records they blew my mind, Soulful in their silences, and a spacey iconic voice that felt uniquely internet,” Diplo tweeted on April 9. “The idea of R&B having dark edges was what I wanted to bring to @usher.”
“I want to sing in a way that no one else does in this time”
Usher spoke with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in an interview that same day about his initial fear with releasing the Diplo-produced track and how R&B purists would embrace the new sound. “I just said, ‘I just feel like I should be classic R&B. I want to sing in a way that no one else does in this time, over a track that I know doesn’t fit there. It’s going to freak people in R&B out and it’s going to freak people out who are more alternative,'” he said at the time.
The Weeknd wrote back to Diplo on Twitter, clearing the air that his comments were not meant to be incendiary. “Of course the media blows things out of proportion and takes things out of context,” The Weeknd tweeted in response. “Usher is a King and always an inspiration so it was flattering to hear what him and Diplo did on climax. XO,” he replied.
Around the same time, Usher’s frequent collaborator Eric Bellinger created the #ClimaxChallenge on Instagram. Where he showed off the same video of Usher performing the track acapella. Writing in his caption, “Big Bro jumped in to set the record straight!!! … Now all we waitin for is you @theweeknd.”
Additionally, one of the song’s co-writers, Ariel Rechtshaid, responded to Diplo in his own tweet and shared. “I tweet this with the utmost respect to all parties involved. Climax was inspired in the room without any subconscious or conscious outside influence.”
“I’m writing it for someone else, but then I end up singing it”
In the same interview, The Weeknd addressed the misogyny in his past lyrics. The singer also revealed that he wants to write a full album for a female artist.
“It’s like you want people to feel a certain way. You want them to feel angry, You want them to feel sad. You want them to feel. It’s never, like, my intent to offend anybody,” he said. “I’m a writer. Sometimes I write a song and it’s not in my head. I’m writing it for someone else, but then I end up singing it.”
The Weeknd is set to perform at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30. It will mark hitmaker The Weeknd’s second VMAs gig and his first in five years. The “Starboy” singer made his VMAs debut in 2015. The Weeknd is up for six awards at the 2020 VMAs. Including Video of the Year (“Blinding Lights”) and Artist of the Year.