Justin Bieber may have a swagger coach, but he's best known for being a squeaky-clean pop star: His megahit "Baby" is a gentle doo-wop-style pop tune about losing a teenage love. Up until now, we've seen the 16-year-old Canadian babe-in-the-woods smile shyly, bring his mom to the Grammys, and talk about his love of Chuck Norris.
But on Wednesday night, Bieber tried to toughen up his image and prove he can really hang with a hip-hop crowd, posting footage on Twitter of his freestyle rapping to Cam'ron and Vado's raunchy "Speakin' Tongues" with the note "who knew i could rap lol.. my alter ego rap name is Shawty Mane.. hah."
Bieber's version of the song is far more PG-13 than the original, though. While the official "Speakin' Tongues" video is populated with gyrating ladies in bikinis, Bieber keeps fairly it clean, sticking to rhymes about his skills and that famous mane of hair. He opens with "Speaking in tongues, yabba dabba dabba da da/Voilà, I'm killing this -- /Call up Lady Gaga."
A few bars later, he takes a light jab at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was recently criticized for his shaggy hairdo. "Hello, Mr. Brady/Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings 'Baby,' " he raps, miming tossing a football. He later adds, "I stay dry when it rains/I'm tired of fame, are you proud of the pain?/Yes, we're the same/Yes, I'm insane, and my mane hangs down and my puffy's got strings."
[Rewind: Meet the 'other' Justin Bieber]
In the video, Bieber -- wearing some Justin Timberlake-inspired black-frame glasses and strutting and dancing in the studio -- adds a spoken word postscript, announcing he's likely known as the pop star who performs "Baby," and, most obviously, "I'm white." But he says he busted out the freestyle rap and put in on the Web to show he's serious about hip-hop, too.
Though fans have never seen Bieber rhyme off the dome before, they may have seen him rap before. He performed Ludacris's part of "Baby" on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" in April, busting through verses like "She woke up daily/Don't need no Starbucks."
Bieber has been on rappers' radar since his debut album arrived last year, largely because of his association with his mentor, Usher. Kanye West showed his appreciation for the young singer's style by remixing "Runaway Love" with Raekwon this summer, and Drake stepped in to rap with him at Canada's Juno Awards.
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