'Ladies Love Me': The Justin Bieber rap era begins now


"Swaggin', I'm not braggin' but I swear that I could rock ya/Baby, I'm not crazy/I got swag like Patrick Swayze."

So boasts - raps, seriously, Gimme Noise is not making this up, we could not make this up because we totally didn't see it coming from miles away - Justin "Shawty Mane" Bieber on the shockingly not-horrible "Ladies Love Me," where the teen heartthrob teams up with ex-teen heartthrob/current domestic violence poster-child Chris Brown for what we imagine as sort of a come-hither-cougars summit of some kind.

[jump] (The track appears on Brown's new Boy In Detention mixtape. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: it's fucked up that R&B stars need to make mixtapes, even R&B stars with tarnished reputations. The world's in sad shape.)

Producer David Banner scares up some cosmic-blitz, post-"A Milli"/"6 Foot 7 Foot" bullshit; Brown spits the kind of monied-rapscallion hashtag-riddled boilerplate we've come to expect from MC in 2011. (Chorus: "Ladies love me, I'm on my Cool J." Sample verse: "Guns with me, dressed like sadists/Bruised kidneys, stretch ya later." Sounds like a synopsis of one of Ri-Ri's stage shows.)

Then Bieber grabs the microphone... and somehow doesn't suck too bad.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I want to hate this event-rap surprise. I want to want to bathe in lamb's blood after listening. There's not a lot of virtuosity to what Bieber's doing, either; it's openly corny, not epically quotable, and overly indebted to Lil Wayne (the free-associative weirdness) and Eminem (the tricky internal rhyme schemes), and there's none of the urgency or hunger rap purists associate with authenticity or realness. On top of all that, you'd have to be a straight herb to sound retarded on a beat so bewitchingly on-point; look for every MC with ears to spit over the thing this fall.

(If you happen to heart "Ladies Love Me," please don't eat up bandwidth with stuff like this.)

And yet it's still not anywhere near as terrible as it should be. Bieber name-drops Lauren Hill. He shouts out skinny jeans without irony. He uncorks phrases and come-ons in a breathless rush. It's not original in any sense, and doesn't upbraid anyone's idea of what hip-hop could be, and Justin Bieber doesn't need a shitty rap nickname like "Shawty Mane." But I'm not laughing at what he's trying to do here, and neither should you.

Also: Patrick Swayze is not swaggin' on any level; Patrick Swayze is doornail dead.

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