In 2011, The Weeknd released a trilogy of free mixtapes chronicling his career in the moment. His haunting sound was taking over the radio, but his identity was still a mystery. To most, he was still just Abel Tesfaye. There's a famous story of him shopping at Urban Outfitters in Toronto while his hit, "High for This", played through the store's speaker system, nobody knowing the singer was checking out shirts right beside them.
This week's track comes from trilogy's third mixtape, Echoes of Silence. As Abel prepares for his first big shows and his life as The Weeknd, he covers Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana" — story of groupie love and the struggle in staying loyal to one partner (in The Weekend's case, a woman from his earlier mixtapes).
"D.D." takes Michael's original arrangement and lyrics and repurposes it for Abel's life in 2011 Toronto. The moaning background singer and slapping drums makes it feel like Abel might be meeting his Diana at an after party in a dingy apartment where a line of coke is cheaper than a beer.
Asked about his inspiration for covering the song, he told the L.A. Times: "'Dirty Diana' is my favorite song of all time, it is literally my No. 1. It takes all these genres and it puts it into one song — rock, experimental, hip-hop, R&B. It’s why I wanted to write these dope songs."
You can learn more about The Weeknd here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.