By Hillary Crosley with reporting by Kelly Marino
Remember our surprise when Justin Bieber rhymed over Cam’ron and Vado’s “Speaking in Tungs” as his rap alter-ego Shawty Mane in October? Well, MTV News caught up with the well-coiffed teen star about the origin of his hip-hop persona.
“Shawty Mane, I don’t know, me and my friends were just messing around and they were like ’Shawty Mane’ and I was like ’Yeah, that’ll be my nickname,’ ” said Bieber at an L.A. signing for his book “Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story.”
Rather than beginning a second career as an MC, Bieber said his lines were all in jest.
“Shawty Mane is just like a funny character,” explains Bieber. “You know Justin Bieber is not a rapper, and it would just be lame if I came out rapping. It’s lame anyway because I’m like a pop singer, but I thought it was funny, I just did it as a joke. It wasn’t like anything serious.”
“I heard [the song] on Worldstar, and I have such a fanbase in Canada that people were hitting me and asking ’Did you know that Justin Bieber took your line?’ ” rapper Lanez recalled. “I kinda laughed and smirked at it. It’s funny to hear someone else using my lyrics, but I didn’t think it was crooked or anything.”
Ultimately, the fledgling MC is gaining more attention following Bieber’s nod so all’s well that ends well. As for the return of Shawty Mane, who needs a Ludacris feature, if Bieber rhyming himself, right?
“I thought it was fun, I like rapping,” said the teen pop star with a smile. “Maybe in the future, Shawty Mane will come back.”
What did you think of Bieber’s foray into hip-hop? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below.