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The Weeknd is stirring up debate online after talking to Variety about the influence his trademark aesthetic of moody, dark R&B had on the world of pop music – namely, “Climax” by Usher.


In a new Variety cover story published Wednesday, April 8th, The Weeknd suggests that Usher‘s hit 2012 song wouldn’t exist without his 2011 debut mixtape, ‘House of Balloons’:


“‘House of Balloons literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” he said. “I heard ‘Climax, that 2012 Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f—, that’s a Weeknd song. It was very flattering, and I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing.”




Usher, who reportedly declined to comment on the story, subtly shot back at The Weeknd‘s comments with a rendition of “Climax” on Instagram showing off his vocal range.





Usher quickly became a trending Twitter topic as more people chimed in on the debate, and so far it looks like the majority disagree with The Weeknd. While many agree that ‘House of Balloons’ helped birth a new genre of gloomy, experimental pop, fans seem to agree that The Weeknd‘s comments were out of line.









Trevor Anderson, a hip-hop/R&B charts contributor for Billboard, summed up many people’s opinion with this simple tweet:




The Weeknd isn’t without his supporters, though, as a select few called out critics for over-reacting to the interview quote:






Fans are now participating in the #ClimaxChallenge, which sees singers attempt to perform the chorus of “Climax” in the style of Usher. Some have interpreted the hashtag, which Usher first included in his clap back video, as a public challenge directed at The Weeknd.







One thing that fans seem to agree on, though, is that Usher and The Weeknd are two distinct artists with their own style. Let’s hope we see The Weeknd posts a lighthearted response with his own #ClimaxChallenge entry.



Since publishing, The Weeknd has addressed the reaction to his comments on “Climax” on social media. The singer shared a tweet thread from Diplo, the sole producer on “Climax,” who confirmed that ‘House of Balloons’ was indeed a reference point for the track.




Do you think “Climax” sounds like a song from The Weeknd? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @PopCrave!