There is a new kind of pop rivalry afoot. Forget record sales, shock value or good, old-fashioned slanging matches. That’s stuff from the dusty old pop rivalries of yore. That’s some analogue shit. No, the new breed of pop rivalry is about short-lived retail.
First, Kanye – always a trail-blazer – opened up a clothing pop-up store in New York in March to flog merch from his new album ‘The Life Of Pablo’. There were video installations featuring wolves (there’s a song on the album called ‘Wolves’, track playbacks and even a kid who delivered pizza to the quite considerable queue that formed outside.
Then, earlier this month, Drake had a go at promoting his own album, which at the time was called ‘Views From The 6’ and later became the more shouty ‘VIEWS’. His clothing pop-up in New York was a cooler, rather more austere affair than ‘Ye’s, and there was even a rumour that he was going to show up.Readers, he did not show up.
So your friend and mine, pop whippersnapper Justin Bieber, has decided to show the rap granddads how it’s done. Bieber has done his own pop-up store of exclusive clothing in New York. Were there video installations of snarling wolves? We have no evidence to support the suggestion that he did. Was a there a young boy delivering pizza? Not that we know of.
Fans were allowed into the store for only five minutes each, and were restricted to purchasing four items. The clothes, ostensibly merch for Bieber’s ‘Purpose’ tour, were designed by Jerry Lorenzo, the man behind Kanye’s ‘Yeezus’ merch, and some fans were there through love of his work rather than Bieber’s. One told Mashable: “I fuck with Bieber after ‘Sorry’, but I’m not here because of him.”
Yet the real Beliebers – around 40 of whom camped outside overnight, according to onlookers – were rewarded handsomely for their time. They couldn’t believe their little eyeballs when the newly shaven-headed popster (his previous hairstyle, dreadlocks, proved a little controversial) waltzed right into the store.
There he is, look, wearing lyrics from his song, ‘Love Yourself’, which may or may not be about an ex-girlfriend. T-shirts and jumpers are all well and good, but spotting Bieber is a priceless rarity money can’t buy, especially since his meet-and-greats are now conducted by a cardboard cut-put of himself.