Justin Bieber delivered a startling, stripped-down cover of Tupac’s “Thugz Mansion” on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge.
Backed by only a guitar player, who broke down the melody from the acoustic version of “Thugz Mansion” to its simplest form, Bieber breezed through Tupac’s verses with a somber ease, while bringing a little extra soul to the song’s aching hook.
During his Live Lounge set, Bieber also covered Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which he has been playing on his Purpose Tour. The pop star also performed his own cuts, “Let Me Love You,” “What Do You Mean?” and “Love Yourself,” as well as his Major Lazer collaboration “Cold Water.”
Bieber’s love of Tupac has been well documented over the years. In 2014, he was filmed at a club in France rapping along with “Dear Mama.” And in a 2015 cover story for Billboard, Bieber said of his childhood, “I was always that fearless kid who would jump onstage or do whatever. My dad would be like, ‘Rap that Tupac verse,’ and I’d do ‘Thugz Mansion’ — I was probably 8.”
Watch how James Corden became late-night TV’s king of celebrity sing-alongs, one ‘Carpool Karaoke’ at a time.