Travi$ Scott and Justin Bieber are hardly an obvious match as musical collaborators. Sure, Bieber has been known to travel in hip-hop circles, but on his recent road to public-image redemption, teaming up with a lightning rod of an artist like Scott is quite the risky move.
Nonetheless, when the tracklist for Scott’s recently released debut album, Rodeo, hit the Internet a few weeks back, there was Bieber featured alongside Young Thug on the album’s hypnotic masterpiece, “Maria I’m Drunk.” As the Houston rapper now tells Billboard in a recent interview, he knew some confusion would arise among his fans at this seemingly oddball pairing.
“A kid like me next to a kid like Bieber, who is popular as fuck… people would think, ‘How did you get on a track with Bieber?'” Scott admits.
It was Bieber, though, who personally reached out to Scott about working together. The singer, vacationing in Hawaii at the time, FaceTimed the rapper to let him know he was itching to collaborate. Scott says he instantly knew “Maria I’m Drunk,” a slurry cut he recorded while on tour earlier this year with Atlanta MC Young Thug, was the perfect track for Bieber to jump on. With the track having previously leaked, Scott says he felt adding Bieber into the mix and re-releasing it on Rodeo would give the cut a much-needed refresh.
Scott sent Bieber the track, and “he called me the next day like ‘Yo, come up to the studio,'” the rapper recalls. “As soon as I got to the studio he played it for me. He already had [his rap verse on it] done. That shit was fucking crazy. I went back in and produced over it. That shit’s so pure!”
Ask Scott his feelings on working with Bieber and he couldn’t be more thrilled. “I’m a Bieber fan, man!” he shouts effusively. “That kid is ill! The ‘Runaway’ remix that he did with Kanye when I was in high school was fucking amazing!” In fact, the rapper admits one of his own mixtape tracks — “Drugs You Should Try It,” off last year’s Days Before Rodeo — was directly inspired by one of his “favorite songs,” Bieber’s “All That Matters.”
The two linked up again last week when the “What Do You Mean?” singer performed with Scott at the Rodeo album release party in New York City. When asked about any future collaborations between the two, the rapper says, if nothing else, he hopes Bieber’s work on “Maria I’m Drunk” will help eliminate any preconceived negative ideas his fans or others may have about the pop star. “That dude is fucking talented!” Scott says. “Just cause he does theses certain songs, this n—a has history of doing hip-hop songs! His voice is a sample in its own.”