TAKE #7: The Weeknd, Usher, and Wild Folks on r/TheWeeknd

We LOVE a new thursday email series! Sometimes I just have things sitting on my spirit, and I need to let them out, so this is my way of doing that lol. TAKEs are gonna be me just chatting my way through current music-related news, while I give you my thoughts and opinions on things. I’ve already done a couple of TAKEs (they didn’t have the name “TAKE” yet, so I’ll go back and change them), so it’s not really a new series, but it’s a more intentionally-named one. You can find them all here. On to today’s TAKE, shall we?

Sometimes when I’m bored and in need of questionable takes, I’ll find myself on Reddit. I’m not an avid Reddit user (in fact, I made my Reddit account like 3 weeks ago lol, and I have no clue how to use it), but I’ve been on it long enough to know that sometimes people on there just be SAYING stuff (i.e. talking out the side of their necks, saying things that don’t make any sense or are based on nothing, etc.). I find myself seeing a lot of this on r/TheWeeknd, a subreddit dedicated to the beauty that is Abel Tesfaye.

Today, whilst scrolling through the subreddit’s posts, I came across a “The Weeknd vs. ___________”. And this time, it was The Weeknd vs. Usher. Recently, Abel did an interview with Variety where, among chatting about After Hours (2020), he mentioned that he felt like Usher’s 2012 single “Climax” was inspired by his music from the Trilogy era:

The Weeknd’s sound didn’t remain unique for long. Within months, moody alt-R&B was everywhere. “‘House of Balloons’ literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” he says without exaggeration. “I heard ‘Climax,’ that [2012] Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f—, 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.”

Jem Aswad, “The Weeknd Opens Up About His Past, Turning 30 and Getting Vulnerable on ‘After Hours’”

And although the folks in the media have labeled this sentiment the beginning of a “beef,” Usher did confirm that Abel’s music inspired him, they called each other kings, and they moved on. HOWEVER, apparently other folks didn’t take the hint, and I found myself staring at the following on what KevOnStage refer’s to as “Al Gore’s internet”:

via Reddit

I just…

Y’all…

“abel could have retired after his first mixtape”….

I couldn’t BELIEVE what I was seeing. Someone’s child really got on their computer or mobile device and fixed their fingers to type that The Weeknd’s discography beats out Usher’s?????? And then continued to say that Abel’s FIRST MIXTAPE would beat out USHER’S ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHY???????????

me @ these people with these QUESTIONABLE TAKES!!!

Look. I love The Weeknd. I’ve made that very VERY clear. I’ve been listening to his music for longer than I’ve been listening to MOST of my favorite artists. But we H A V E to be real.

This is Usher:

This is Abel:

Like….do I need to say more???? And it’s really not even about the amount of awards. But, even as a Weeknd fan, I’m not about to sit here and pretend like House of Balloons (2011) is better than Usher’s ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHY. Usher has been massively influential to a couple of generations worth of artists and RAN 90s-early 00s R&B. Not to mention his SINGLES AND FEATURES!!!! Lil Jon’s “Lovers and Friends”??????? Diddy’s “I Need a Girl”?????????? “Burn”????????? “Confessions Pt. II”?????????? “U REMND ME”???????? THE ENTIRE 8701 (2001) AND CONFESSIONS (2004) ALBUMS????? I AM NOT ABOUT TO SIT HERE AND LET Y’ALL DISRESPECT USHER RAYMOND IV LIKE THAT! He might have not had the best 2010s, but who didn’t like “Good Kisser”????? Somebody really sat there and looked at the two discographies and said “you know who’s better? Abel.” That’s just somebody who doesn’t know anything about R&B. That’s somebody who didn’t have to sit in the car and hear “U Got It Bad” on the radio every day! It still comes ON! My mom bought me an Usher CD at NINE! I didn’t know anything about confessing after cheating LOL?!?!?!

They’re also two completely different artists. Usher has pretty much stuck in the R&B arena for the majority of his career, with some appearances in pop as well. I refuse to call Abel’s music R&B lol, but if we MUST then it’s an R&B that is put in a blender and turned into a beautiful smoothie that also contains pop, rock, hip hop and disco/funk. They are NOT in the same lane. Give me Usher v. Chris Brown. You could even give me Usher v. The-Dream! But a conversation that focuses on comparing Usher and Abel doesn’t make sense. Plus, Usher’s discography and influence would WIPE THE FLOOR with Abel’s. And Abel has been super influential in his OWN right. But in a different way. We would not have the slow, haunting R&Pop that we have now, if it wasn’t for Abel (and Illangelo, Doc Mckinney, etc.).

We also DON’T need to always pit two amazing artists against each other lol. They’re over there calling each other kings, while we’re sitting here having an uneccessary debate.

I need this Rona to hurry up and move on out because y’all and these takes????? I can’t.


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