Drake and Justin Bieber are perhaps the two most famous Canadians in the history of pop music. Right now, though — during a time of unprecedented travel restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there’s one key element that separates them: Drake’s been in Canada (which means he can’t travel to the United States), and Bieber’s already here, in Los Angeles.
In the realm of music videos, this means Bieber is free to take Drake’s place at the center of the “Popstar” visual, helmed by Director X (Julien Christian Lutz), which dropped on Friday (September 4). In it, Bieber is the very embodiment of the title, carrying a bottle of champagne around a mansion that’s simultaneously in both party and after-party mode, lip-synching Drake’s raps.
In the song, Drake raps, “You would probably think my manager is Scooter Braun,” so naturally, Braun himself appears briefly in the video, seemingly trying to talk Bieber into toning it down a bit. Later, after turning up in the driveway surrounded by cars that are surely worth as much as the GDP of a small country, Bieber-as-Drake raps, “Shit don’t even usually get this big without a Bieber face,” while hitting a knowing pose.
The set-up for the clip, by the way, is that DJ Khaled keeps pestering Drake to make a video for “Popstar” before Drake finally calls in a “favor” from his fellow Canuck. What’s fascinating about this particular clip is how Bieber living as Drake doesn’t have the kind of Freaky Friday vibe a pop star/rapper life swap would’ve had even 10 years ago, in a music ecosystem where Drake, a supposed rapper, and Bieber, a supposed R&B/pop singer, are actually just both pop stars. It just looks like a pop video, if perhaps a little more superfluous with the wealth and champagne spray.
Drake dropped “Popstar” alongside “Greece” with DJ Khaled back in July. His sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy, is due to come sometime later this year. In the meantime, experience “Popstar” above.