Been on the Internet during the last 12 hours? If so you have probably encountered “Boyfriend” madness, Justin Bieber’s first single off his highly anticipated Believe album. When we interviewed Bieber for our cover story in France, he spit some bars from the single—which was co-written with Mike Posner and Mat “Blackbear” Musto, and produced by Mason “MdL” Levy. JayBee also told us that he was going to do a little bit more rapping on his sophomore album.
In this outtake from our exclusive cover story interview, Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun explain the vibe of the new songs from the album—and talk about the beats that Timbaland blessed JayBee with while the two were working together in Miami for a week. Read on to get some insight on Justin's love of hip-hop, the making of the Believe album, including Timbaland’s reaction when Justin played him a joint called “Circles.”
Written by Joe LaPuma (@JLaPuma)
So you’re working with Timbaland on the next album?
Justin Bieber: We’ve been making such good songs in the studio.
That’s what I wanted to talk about.
Scooter Braun:I don’t know. I just got here. I’m going to literally go in and then leave. They’re probably going to play it for me, and I’m going to be like, “Dope” and then leave. I’m all excited, because I just want him and Tim to bond, which I heard you guys have been doing.
[Timbaland] meshes well with a lot of great people, like he meshes well with Timberlake, Missy Elliott, Nelly Furtado. I’m hoping I’m another one that he meshes well with, because it could be really genius.
JB: Yeah. He jumped on the table, because he heard “Circles.” He said he was going to jump on the board if he thought it was crazy. He jumped on the board once he heard the song I did.
What is the vibe of the Timbaland stuff, if you could compare it to anything?
SB: Frank Sinatra... No, I’m kidding [Laughs.] [To JB] You tell me. I haven’t heard it yet.
Is it rappy? Poppy? Any experimental stuff for you?
JB: The stuff he’s blessing me with has been crazy. He’s giving us really fire stuff, crazy beats. We’re making it a great collaboration. He meshes well with a lot of great people, like he meshes well with Timberlake, Missy Elliott, Nelly Furtado. I’m hoping I’m another one that he meshes well with, because it could be really genius.
SB: I haven’t even been there, but I know what I want it to be. When you say, “What is it like?” my hope is that it’s Justin Bieber. That’s the conversation that we’ve had with every producer, and I think Tim is the guy that got really excited and understood that he can’t go out and just do the sound of today completely. He’s in a place where he can push the needle of pop music, and Tim is a producer that’s been associated with those kinds of projects. I think that’s what we want, Justin to be able to push the needle and define his own sound.
Can you guys say who else is producing on the album yet?
SB: We can’t say who is working on the album, because we don’t know which tracks we’re going to use.
JB: I’m the main writer on the album. I’ve been writing most of the stuff, with other people co-writing.
SB: I just saw Jermaine Dupri in the airport yesterday, and he really wants to get in with Justin.
Are you and Jermaine still tight?
SB: Yeah. We’ll always be tight. Jermaine gave me an opportunity when I was 20 years old. But we want to hone in on two to three guys, so we’re trying different things. Oh, and Bruno Mars.
JB: When are we doing that?
SB:That’s March. They wanted to do it around your birthday. I said we’ll do it after your birthday, because you’ve got the week off. So we’re going to try different people, but I think the most excited he’s been, from what I’ve seen, and the most excited I’ve been, is this week. [To JB] Would you agree with that?
With everyone else, they’re just here to make tracks, and that’s not what we’re looking for. Tim is having a real conversation with him to get a feel for what he needs, and that’s why Tim is one of the best that ever did it, as a producer.
JB: Yeah. I’d say so, because the stuff we’ve been working on is way better than the stuff we were working with before.
SB: Not only that, I think Tim is the only one with the experience and maturity to produce him.
JB: His beats are crazy, and they’re not too like...
SB: I think also, he has conversations with you about music, and he asks you what you’re thinking and feeling. With everyone else, they’re just here to make tracks, and that’s not what we’re looking for. Tim is having a real conversation with him to get a feel for what he needs, and that’s why Tim is one of the best that ever did it, as a producer. And I can tell you he’s excited, because he wants to do this. It’s not a project that we asked him to do. He wanted to do it, and so did we.
He’s coming off the Blueprint III, and everyone knows how talented Timbaland is.
SB: I also think Tim heard the records. Tim called me...
JB: Yo, Tim played me some records that he and Justin did—crazy.
SB: There’s, like, a vault of them [Laughs]. I talked to Tim on the phone the other day, and I’m going to see him for the first time, because I just flew in this morning, but the thing that he said to me that I was excited about was, “He’s played me the stuff that he’s done already, and I’m just excited, because it seems like Bieber’s going for the forever record and not the kiddie shit. This album’s going to shock people.” And everyone that’s gone into the studio and heard everything that he’s done already, has come out and said, “I’m fucking so excited for this album.” And we’ll do all the cameos at the end. I will tell you this, we’re not putting out this album until all of us, as a family, can look at each other and say, “This is the best this album can possibly be.” And he and I have had these conversations. We talk about it. It’s a make-or-break.
That’s going to be the biggest problem, to make [people] feel like it’s cool for them to like my music.
Justin, you sing pop music, but you’re obviously a big hip-hop fan. How did you learn how to rap?
JB: I would say, just by listening to other rappers and stuff. I was writing raps when I was really young, just kind of for fun. But just from listening to 2Pac and stuff.
The “Who Shot Ya?” freestyle was a bold move for you to do. That’s a classic beat, there’s a lot of stuff around that song. Did you ever fear how it would be received?
JB: I just kind of did it for fun. We were just messing around. I just rap for fun. Nothing to take seriously. When I’m on my album, I’m going to do a little bit of rapping.
Right. That song “Boyfriend”?
What did you say in the rap?
JB: I said, “Tell me what you like, dear/Tell me what you don’t/I could be your Buzz Lightyear, fly across the globe/You don’t even need to fight, dear, you already know/I can make you shine bright, like you’re laying in the snow/Burr.”
The thing that I got from that “I tell my girl” line is that you’re much more savvy than people may see. Are you ready to translate... Because you’re still on every teeny-bopper magazine, but are you ready to translate into being a young man?
JB: I’m ready. I feel like it’s my responsibility to be the greatest I can be. If I go out there and start making terrible music, I don’t expect people to like me. If I’m making great music and there’s no reason for people to not like me, that’s when it’s going to make me upset. People just need to take a chance and listen. If they don’t want to take a chance, then I don’t know. That’s going to be the biggest problem, to make them feel like it’s cool for them to like my music.