Steve Granitz/WireImageIn this week’s R&B quarantine battle, The Weeknd and Usher go head-to-head over inspiration for Usher’s hit “Climax.”
The Weeknd shared he was flattered when he first heard the record but he also “got angry.” As Variety’s cover star, the Canadian singer reflected on his classic 2011 House of Balloons mixtape and his stance in the R&B world, while throwing a little shade at the Grammy-winning song, he claims to have inspired.
“House of Balloons literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” he said. “I heard ‘Climax,’ that Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy [damn], that’s a Weeknd song.’ 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.”
Usher’s “Climax,” produced by Diplo, was a standout moment vocally for R&B. The track peaked at #17 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Best R&B performance in 2012. It’s still praised as one of Usher’s most vocally challenging performances.
Usher responded to The Weeknd’s comments reminding us he’s still got it, singing the hook’s iconic falsetto on Instagram Live, before launching the #ClimaxChallenge so fans can recreate their own rendition. It was clearly no competition for fans like Tamar Braxton who crowned him “the KING OF R&B!” in the comments.
One user tweeted, “I promise you NO ONE ever heard “Climax” and thought ‘now this sounds like The Weeknd did Usher steal this’?”
Tune in next week to see which R&B singer are in the next battle.
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