For those of you who live under a rock, or potentially in the French-Canadian province of Quebec, The Weeknd is Abel Tesfaye, a Toronto R&B artist who quickly became one of the most talked about R&B artists probably since Prince debuted his Purple Rain movie. The Weeknd’s debut album/mixtape, House of Balloons, was recently crowned The Best Album of 2011 (So Far) by Complex Magazine, & has achieved acclaim from almost every Hip Hop reviewer on the net.
That being said, no one seems to know anything about the dude, Abel, except for Drake, who is one of The Weeknd’s biggest supporters. Drizzy claims to have Abel featured extensively on his upcoming sophomore album, Take Care. The Weeknd even addresses the issue of his own mysterious identity on a recent track entitled, “Rolling Stone”, which is presumably off the upcoming Thursday mixtape. Abel sings on the record, “They recognized, they just recognized, I’m in a life without a home so this recognition’s not enough,” hinting that he may have to spill the beans in order to earn a living in the game. He goes on to sing, “Until you’re used to my face, and my mystery fades,” a subtle rhyme indicating that Abel is well-aware of his mystery moving records & creating buzz.
But the most obvious mystery surrounding Abel has to be the name itself, The Weeknd, an obvious misspelling of the two-day holiday at the end of each week. However, I don’t think we should be so naive to interpret the name, The Weeknd, at face value, since Abel’s records are riddled with double-meanings and ambiguous rhymes. For example, consider another excerpt from “Rolling Stone”, “I think I’ll be different. I hope I’m not different. And I hope you’ll still listen, but until then I got you, I got you, girl I still got you. And I got you.” It’s difficult to decipher whether Abel means, “I got you,” as in, “I have your back,” or, “I got you,” as in, “I still have my girl if this music thing doesn’t work out”. There’s really no way of knowing, which is the beautiful thing about art. It’s complicated.
On the other hand, Abel continually tempts us into believing his bad guy image, with tweets like, “this game needs a villain…” on June 22, and, “expect absolutely nothing from me…” on June 16. If The Weeknd is anything of a villain, he is the Riddler. After all, the gothic aura of Chris Nolan’s Batman films does indeed suit OVOXO’s midnight aesthetics. And then there are the continuous references to drugs on House of Balloons, not to mention a candid photograph that showed up on Twitter, of Abel’s Starbucks cup mixed with Promethazine-Codeine.
So, what does it all mean? Well, it means we should definitely look to reevaluate our interpretation of The Weeknd. Personally, I believe The Weeknd ought to be pronounced The Weakened, as it is typically the weak, or in this case, the weakened, who fall victim to drugs, and become villains… just like The Riddler in Batman Forever. In the movie, Jim Carrey’s character Dr. Edward Nygma becomes hooked on knowledge, to the point where he hires a bunch of thugs & dangerous herbalists/botanists, Poison Ivy, to make him smarter so he can outsmart & kill Batman. At this point in time, I think we, the listener, are the ones being outsmarted, by The Weeknd’s encrypted lyrical content. However, unlike The Riddler, Abel Tesfaye acknowledges on “Rolling Stone” that he will have to shed his own mystery in order to survive, financially. After all, we all know that the villain dies at the end of the movie… unless a change is made. Hell, look what happened to Heath Ledger.