Read time: 5 minutes
Every now and then, a song comes out that I fall in love with on the first listen. The Weeknd’s (Abel Tesfaye) first song from his third album, Starboy, is about both the good and bad of mega stardom and establishes a new ear for him. Around the fifth listen, I figured out why I like this song so much: it reminds me of one of my favorite childhood TV shows, MTV Cribs. MTV Cribs was a show where celebrities gave you a tour of their home to showcase their wealth and lifestyle.
The song Starboy is like a cover of The Weeknd's MTV Cribs episode that never taped, that never aired. I’m confident Tesfaye grew up watching 'Cribs like the rest of us, dreaming that one day he'd be featured. This show unfortunately stopped airing in 2010, along with everything else that ever mattered. I guess this song is his redemption.
Tesfaye walks you through all the classic Crib's scenes in Starboy:
- Dramatic entrance
- Catalog of cars
- Mention of their superstar significant other
- Celebrity Cameos
- Shout out to the haters
- Shout out to Momma
The Episode Begins.
The front door of the house opens and Tesfaye goes straight into it.
LYRICS: “I'm tryna put you in the worst mood, ah”
TESFAYE: Welcome MTV, you’re about be mad about all this.
This “welcome” is a special tribute to Dave Chappelle's 2006 episode entrance.
Afterwards, Tesfaye heads to his multi-car garage to show off his latest toys.
LYRICS: “P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah
Milli point 2 just to hurt you, ah
All red lamb just to tease you, ah
None of these toys on lease too, ah
Made your whole year in a week too, yah”
TESFAYE: Let me make you re-evaluate your church attire because you wouldn’t even be allowed to worship my $1.2 million McLaren P1 with what you’re wearing. Take a few more steps. Meet car #2: a red Lamborghini (with a market price of half a million). What did you expect? My weekly salary exceeds your annual gross income.
Now, there were some humble celebrities on Cribs (Missy Elliot, I still think about your episode) and then there were some unapologetically honest ones.
We can’t forget Mariah. We never forget Mariah.
LYRICS: “Main bitch out of your league too, ah
Side bitch out of your league too, ah”
TESFAYE: Let’s walk down another corridor in my home. We’ve passed more bedrooms than women all of you have probably slept with... My side girl is incomprehensibly beyond your reach and don’t even ask about my actual girlfriend.
LYRICS: “House so empty need a centerpiece
20 racks a table cut from ebony
Cut that ivory into skinny pieces
Then she clean it with her face man
I love my baby”
TESFAYE: MTV, I know this house is all size with no filling so I purchased a $20k ebony table for everyone to do drugs off. Oh hey Bella [Bella Hadid is now making a cameo in this episode] keep doing you on that table, don’t mind these cameras, love you baby.
The best MTV Cribs episodes were all about the celeb on celeb cameos. Like when Ja Rule was throwing a party during his episode and casually shook hands with Vin Diesel when he dropped in. Neither of these people matter now but for a small second in space in time, they were kings.
LYRICS: “You talking money need a hearing aid
You talking bout me I don't see the shade
Switch up my style I take any lane
Switch up my cup I kill any pain”
TESFAYE: I’m really tired of people talking about their wealth or trying to figure out who I am. The irony is deafening. I can do any genre and when it comes to sex, drugs, alcohol or R&B, I’ve done it all. I can kill any pain.
[The camera crew filming still has no idea what he’s been drinking from his cup throughout the episode. But they're going along with it. That's what Cribs is about.]
It gets a little dark here. Tesfaye describes himself as a starboy, a satirical jab at himself for becoming someone that’s given up their soul to rise to astronomical fame. He’s killed off his self both metaphorically (by chopping off his iconic hair recently) and also literally (by doing drugs). We’re not really sure who he’s blaming: his record label? His fans? His barber?
LYRICS: Look what you done!
I'm a mother fuckin Starboy
Every day a ni**a try to test me, ah
Every day a ni**a try to end me, ah
Coming for the king that's a far cry I
I come alive in the fall time I”
TESFAYE: People question me, people test me, and they’re definitely after me. But here’s the truth: there’s an empty throne out there right now. This generation has no Michael Jackson - but I’ve got a long way to go before I can become anything like him but that's the goal. I release my albums in the fall every year, I’m on the pumpkin spice calendar baby.
Probably the best part of Cribs was that most people would drag their mothers into the mess.
LYRICS: “Bought momma a crib and a brand new wagon
Now she hit the grocery shop lookin lavish
Hundred on the dash get me close to God
We don't pray for love we just pray for cars”
TESFAYE: The last thing I wanted to do before you all head out is to show you is my mom's new wagon: this Mercedes G Wagon is an upgrade from the station wagon she drove us in growing up. I just want everyone to know that I love my momma and she deserves the best, even when doing ordinary tasks like groceries.
Well MTV, it was nice having you over. I’m about to speed off 100 mph recklessly just to feel closer to the God I'm challenging.
This concludes our hypothetical MTV Cribs episode. I'm sorry this show stopped airing before you became famous, Abel Tesfaye.