Some things are inevitable: The rise and fall of the sun each day, the effects of aging and eventually death upon all living things, and, of course, Justin Bieber dropping a PG-13 rap about butts and weed. The wily pop star, who we last saw spending his birthday making sick beats in his home beneath an altar-like photo of himself, takes the all-important first verse on Diplo’s new track, “Bank Roll.” His whole career has been defined by his earnest appeals toward hip-hop, as well as unsubtle suggestions that he is a butt guy, making this verse not a surprise left turn but the manifest destiny of his entire person. Let’s dive in.
He begins with two bars addressed to a young woman, allowing us a privileged glimpse inside of Instagram model’s DMs everywhere. ”I’m looking all around if that ass making an appearance,” he pledges, before make a similar pledge of allegiance to the flag (of America? of butts? he doesn’t say) and offering us the image of him throwing money all over said young woman’s body, like fictional spoiled boy prince Joffrey Baratheon (“Throw the paper in the air, see it sticking on her leg”). Bieber quickly moves to a self-satisfied description of sexual intercourse, then daringly makes references to 1) smoking weed, and 2) drinking alcohol, followed by a suggest that his young paramour boot and rally if she is not feeling good (“If you drank too much, baby, throw up / Then pour up”). Finally, he suggests the twosome head out for dinner at Boa, a West Hollywood steakhouse, where they will certainly be hounded by entertainment photographers (“Gotta look fly ‘cause you know they taking photos”).
It is, in short, a fine portrayal of Justin Bieber’s life, or at least the portions of it that don’t involve staring into the mirror in the cold blue light of morning and pondering the nature of identity in the social media age. That Bieber will rap again is as certain as the passage of time. There is nothing any of us, Bieber included, can do to stop it.
Update: It appears that the track dates back to at least August 2015, when it was ostensibly a Riff Raff single, before Bieber and Diplo presumably deigned that the track was too hot for a ruffian like Jody High Roller and repurposed it for its current form. Has Bieber rapped more since then? Is he a better rapper? How does Riff Raff feel about all of this?