There are three things you can count on. Death, taxes, and Justin Bieber’s recently dropped studio blockbuster Believe will be the no. 1 album in the country by next week. The Biebs—who is currently out on a frantic sold-out world tour (he just performed in front of more than 300,000 fans in Mexico; that’s Michael Jackson levels, y’all)—is currently dominating talk on the pop culture landscape. But how does the omnipresent Canadian 18-year-old measure up to Justin 1.0?
There was a time when Justin Timberlake was in Bieber’s shoes. After departing multi-platinum boy band N’ Sync, Timberlake was looking to make his transition to more mature musical surroundings. Just as Believe was trumpeted as Bieber’s step into adulthood, in 2002 Timberlake’s Justified was viewed as the then 21-year-old’s “serious” statement. And he didn’t disappoint. Backed by R&B and hip-hop studio visionaries the Neptunes and Timbaland, Timberlake offered the modern day blueprint on how to survive teenybopper purgatory.
With that said, VIBE picked five standout songs from both Believe and Justified to see how their respective introductions to manhood measure up. It’s Justin vs. Justin. Who wins? Read on.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)