The Weeknd Claims Usher’s ‘Climax’ Was a Direct Copy of His Style “It Was Very Flattering”

Posted April 9, 2020

The Weeknd is feeling a little balsy and wants to let the world know that other R&B singers have jacked his style, and he’s calling them out–one in particular.

The Weeknd is taking credit for Usher‘s 2012 hit ‘Climax‘ stating that he was a direct inspiration for the style of the song and that Usher clearly copied his style for the record.


The star, 30, who released his new album After Hours last month, candidly revealed that he believes his 2011 mixtape House of Balloons is what influenced Usher, 41, to experiment with what’s now The Weeknd’s signature alternative R&B style.

House of Balloons literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” the Weeknd said in Variety’s latest cover story. “I heard ‘Climax,’ that Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f—, that’s a Weeknd song.’”

Though the singer says he was initially upset after hearing Usher’s tune, he ultimately took the project as a compliment to his musical flow. “It was very flattering,” The Weeknd told the outlet. “I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing.”

Reps for The Weeknd and Usher did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

At the time he released his mixtape, The Weeknd’s career hadn’t fully blown up and he was still working to gain mainstream notoriety for his unique artistry — which he and his team believe other musicians are now duplicating.

“People saw the rise, but have no idea how hard Abel and our small team worked for years before we got the recognition,” his manager Wassim Slaiby told the outlet. “Abel created this whole new R&B wave everyone is on now.”

While The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, feels like his music was the catalyst for Usher’s track “Climax,” the song’s producer Diplo previously said otherwise.

“The production actually started as a house thing with a chord progression that I wrote, but with some time in the studio alone, I was making a sort of ‘wildfire’ beat out of it,” Diplo told The Guardian in 2012, the year the track dropped. “The idea of pushing cut-off on a synth used so much in progressive house music but pulling back. I was making something like a minimal techno record with Atlanta strip clubs in mind.”

Reps for Diplo did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

“Usher has the power to take a record into any lane,” Diplo said at the time. “He’s that big. He brought house music to the R&B crowds in America, and with ‘Yeah!’ he brought synths to Atlanta hip-hop. I think he wasn’t going to these producers for their sounds. … We all know what they do. Usher is a smart man, he has been doing this for long enough. He’s using the producers instead of the other way around.”

What do you think about The Weeknd’s claims?

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