Justin Bieber’s 2012 will soon include a Lil Twist collaboration. Bieber returned to the studio today to begin work on his own album Believe, reportedly stacked with help from Drake and Kanye West, yet has already lent his swag and increasing maturity—which doesn’t necessarily include a new vocabulary—to a track with the 18-year-old Young Money artist. Twist told MTV News that he’s prepared to release their finished product, “Wherever You Are,” shortly. “Y’all will have that real soon,” he said of high-powered collaboration, off his debut album Don’t Get It Twisted. “It’s a fun record. Justin killed it. He’s, like, rap-singing on it; another different sound for Justin.”
Yet the Bieb has been slowly chipping away at making a place for himself in hip-hop for the better part of a year, answering every BET cypher snub with a new freestyle attempt or big-name collaboration partner (Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes). He kicked off the new year by teaming up with pal Jaden Smith for the holiday-appropriate “Happy New Year,” a song which definitely featured some singing, rapping and inspirational spoken word, and this longstanding collaboration tour shows no signs of slowing down—at this point, we’re prepared to see every name from Adele to Odd Future on Believe‘s tracklisting. “Just me and Justin, people been waiting on that,” Twist added. “That’s my brother right there. It’s just been a long time coming.”
No longer just Usher and Ludacris’ “lil homie,” either, The Bieb, or “Shawty Mane” if it makes you more comfortable, is a 17-year-0ld phenom commanding the presence of heavyweights like Drizzy and Yeezy on his upcoming cuts, without shamelessly mimicking the exact style of either one. So how much longer will “Justin Bieber rapping” exist as a punchline, or be followed by an exclamation point, before existing as a reality that we all just accept? Until he finds a way to get little B.I.C. into the studio, of course.