A blow-by-blow breakdown of The Weeknd’s war with Justin Bieber
Biggie vs. Tupac. Drake vs. Meek. Nicky vs. Rihanna. And now The Weeknd vs. The Biebs. Hip-hop’s latest dust-up broke out between the two Canadian superstars last month when Abel Tesfaye started hooking up with Justin Bieber’s ex Selena Gomez. Flash forward a few weeks and the feud has gone from simmering to serious. Here, we break down the beef of the moment.
Spring 2016: After a six-year relationship, several breakup tracks and way too much back-and-forth drama on Instagram, Gomez and Bieber break up for the last—or at least most recent—time.
Fall 2016: The Weeknd splits with Bella Hadid, his girlfriend of two years, and ditches his other longtime partner: that reverse-mullet, multi-pronged dreadlock. Foreshadowing their future romantic rivalry, The Weeknd and The Biebs duke it out on the charts. In late November, Tesfaye lands a major blow, breaking Biebs’ record for most-streamed album ever on Spotify.
January 11, 2017: TMZ publishes snaps of The Weeknd’s now-infamous dumpster makeout session with Selena Gomez, outing The Sleeknd as a hot item. Fans comb through the lyrics on Starboy and speculate that the lyric about a girl named Selena with a great booty is about Gomez (duh).
January 16, 2017: A TMZ story cites anonymous sources who say Bieber thinks the new coupling is a publicity stunt meant to promote their new music. An army of paparazzi does its best to bait Beiber into a response outside of a nightclub, but he lets his nighttime sunglasses do the talking…for now.
January 21, 2017: One particularly persistent videographer finds Bieber leaving the Hollywood hotspot Delilah and follows him to his car. When he asks, “Can you listen to a Weeknd song?” Beiber breaks his silence, answering, “Hell no… That’s whack.”
February 3, 2017: After a six-month hiatus, Bieber makes his triumphant return to Instagram to share his (pretty funny) Super Bowl ad, just as social media is freaking out over how much Selena and Abel look like her parents 25 years ago. Awwww.
February 11, 2017: The Weeknd performs “Starboy” at the Grammys, while Bieber (who has four nominations) boycotts the ceremony. Instead, he goes for sushi with a friend and streams this video on Instagram. His friend asks him what his favourite song is right now, and JB answers “‘Starboy’ by The Weeknd” before bursting out into laughter.
February 15, 2017: The Weeknd makes a guest appearance on a new song “Some Way” by the Toronto rapper Nav. His verse includes the lyrics—“I think your girl, think your girl, fell in love with me. She say my fuck and my tongue game a remedy”—which have been widely interpreted as shade towards Bieber. The next day, Selena follows up with her own new release, “It Ain’t Me,” which is basically about dating an alcoholic who chooses partying over his relationship.