Elijah Blake is here to set the bar straight: getting the songwriter credit he deserves on Usher’s R&B smash “Climax.”
The whole ordeal stemmed from Variety’s The Weeknd cover story, where the XO recording artist insinuates he thinks 2012’s “Climax” was inspired by his critically-acclaimed mixtape House of Balloons.
the production on Climax lends itself to House of Balloons era @theweeknd. when I heard those early records they blew my mind – soulful in their silences, and a spacey iconic voice that felt uniquely internet. the idea of R&B having dark edges was what I wanted to bring to @usher
— diplo (@diplo) April 9, 2020
one of my favorite voices of all time. I'm glad @usher, Ariel, Eric, and I all got together to make that epic song. I remember I had the title of the song before I had the beat. It was conceptual from the beginning.
— diplo (@diplo) April 9, 2020
DJ, producer, and CEO Diplo, who co-produced the song alongside Ariel Rechtsaid, took to Twitter to confirm that the song’s production was indeed, thanks to The Weeknd’s unique sound. The Mad Decent founder then followed it with another tweet saying “I’m glad @usher, Ariel, Eric, and I all got together to make that epic song” — naming all those who were in the room while the record was made.
Elijah Blake had to stand up for himself, quote tweeting Diplo’s tweet and asking who was tweeting from his account. The Carribean singer-songwriter continued, “cause you just said Eric who is also my bro and did several on the album but wasn’t even in NY when we did that record .” It seems like an honest mistake that Diplo could have mistaken Eric Bellinger for Elijah, but Blake is convinced Diplo was trolling.
Elijah describes himself as a “big kid at heart,” which makes sense given his trolling with the whole ordeal. The singer-songwriter has written for everyone from Rihanna to Justin Bieber, and worked with artists like Rick Ross and The Game.
AllHipHop caught up with Elijah to discuss his initial reactions to Diplo’s tweet, and why he thinks Diplo was trolling.
AllHipHop: Let’s talk about “Climax.” Why did Diplo leave you out? Talk about Ariel for standing up for you.
Elijah Blake: Shout out to Ariel! Funny thing, Diplo is the homie too. I don’t know what the f##k that was. I don’t know if his publicist was trying to do damage control and got a hold of his passwords, or if it was management. Again, Diplo is my homie. But that tweet was as bizarre as me getting off this Live and saying “I just did this amazing Live with Whoopi Goldberg.” Huh? Drugs don’t even make you forget that way… what?
— Elijah Blake (@SirElijahBlake) April 4, 2020
Hear ye Hear YE! PSA to the trolls… If you gon come on my page to “defend” ur Messiah… please keep in mind that I am both Caribbean & from Florida; home of the 2 most notorious roasters / professional Draggers. Do better or stay yo ass at home for the sake of Corona 🙄 pic.twitter.com/CMcpa4jmIz
— Elijah Blake (@SirElijahBlake) April 10, 2020
AllHipHop: Have you and Diplo talked?
Elijah Blake: I don’t think that was Diplo tweeting. When I responded to that, I was confused. Like I said on my Instagram, I felt The Weeknd was trolling a little bit with that comment. When he said we took his sound on “Climax” and he heard that song and said it was a Weeknd song, he can’t say that with a straight face. He was trolling a little bit, so I was trolling back. Some of his fans are still mad right now, but it’s all love. I’m not going to really tear down another black artist.
We’re all having fun. I’m really goofy, that’s my element. I play a lot. Everybody could look at it like “you went too far with it,” but it’s all fun. First of all, people don’t understand what goes into a song. The song came out February 2012. We don’t do songs today and it comes out tomorrow. There’s months, sometimes a year in between where you have to mix, master the song, send the song to the label for it to get on the calendar, get a radio plan, a release date. So just because you guys heard it in 2012, that’s not when it was created.
AllHipHop: When was it created?
Elijah Blake: I was in New York for at least 3 months in 2011. It was definitely created early 2011, late 2010.
AllHipHop: So you’re saying The Weeknd didn’t influence “Climax”?
Elijah Blake: Hell no! If he could say he felt like it was a Weeknd song, I think “he doesn’t really believe that.” So I’m going to troll back, that’s how I play. I’m from Florida. When people say “you’re so mean,” how can I bully a bunch of fans coming off my page to tell me I can’t speak my truth? Or me standing up for myself and what I know to be the truth, is me bullying y’all back? When ya’ll came here to cause some mess… but I’m with the s##ts.
AllHipHop: If I were you, I’d feel some type of way if I contributed to the song and didn’t get credited.
Elijah Blake: That’s how I know that wasn’t Diplo. I don’t care, it wasn’t. Whoever’s reading, you need to come tell people who’s really motherf##king tweeting. Because it was me, Diplo, Ariel. Whoever said “when me, Eric Bellinger, and Usher did that song,” what? Eric wasn’t even in New York when we did that song! That’s the telltale sign that whoever tweeted that wasn’t in that room.
AllHipHop: Eric wasn’t there at all?
Elijah Blake: No! Eric’s my homie, he did “Lemme See” on the album and a few other dope ones. That’s my brother. Even he was like “what the hell?”
AllHipHop: Do you think it’s because he initiated the #ClimaxChallenge?
Elijah Blake: Somebody initiating a challenge does not make you get amnesia, forget who was in the room when your whole tweet is based off of credibility on who started the song. Your whole tweet was who did this, so how could you conveniently forget who was in the room? When that’s really the whole premise of you going on Twitter to tweet that.
AllHipHop: Do you have a relationship with Diplo where you can hit him…?
Elijah Blake: That’s my homie. I don’t know if he’s going to text back now during quarantine, especially after what I tweeted back. I don’t take any of this too seriously, like people would lose their minds. I’m not some 12-year-old behind a keyboard, even though some of my trolling comments may come off kiddish and childish. [Laughs] But I was playing. I was having fun with it. I’m on quarantine, I’m bored as hell.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to the studio session, what was the energy like? Where was Usher at that point of his career?
Elijah Blake: I remember he was like “what are you doing here?” I looked around like “uhh, did ya’ll say I was supposed to be in the session?” He’s like “no, we came here to make history,” and I really think we did. So of course I’m going to defend a song that I was a part of, that came out at a time when everything was dance music. Everything was techno music, “put your hands in the air!”
Elijah Blake: We put out a record that was a slow song, but with real singing, high notes, and a ballad. Of course I’m going to defend that. If you came out today with the cure to Coronavirus, and someone else said “oh I found the cure a year ago,” you’re going to defend yourself. You don’t have to hate or disrespect, you just say “no, the facts are this.”
AllHipHop: Talk about being a real singer, it’s not easy to hit that falsetto. Especially “Climax”!
Elijah Blake: It’s not. Usher has been playing falsetto for years. I studied Usher’s falsetto, there’s not a male singer alive today that didn’t study Usher’s falsetto, or Maxwell’s, D’angelo’s, Prince’s. He’s one of the falsetto gods. Of course when I was in that studio hearing melodies, I was going to falsetto. When I hear Weeknd, I don’t think falsetto. That’s another thing that made me say, what about this song makes you think of you? I never heard The Weeknd “going nowhere fast, we reach the climax [Usher voice].” No! I think of “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you [Weeknd voice].” It’s no disrespect.
AllHipHop: But you can hear how it can be The Weeknd, given his voice and tone.
Elijah Blake: I don’t. Not being fake, I don’t hear it. I don’t hear him crooning like that.
AllHipHop: How was doing the challenge?
Elijah Blake: It was fun. It’s cool Eric tried to skew it in a positive way and make it fun. Now we’re doing this #ClimaxChallenge. Yesterday, I gave a whole day to trolling, trolling anybody back who came on my page. These little kids are not finna sit there and try to bully me, I’m from Florida. But now i’m bored with it. Anybody that came after that, I was having a whole block party. Block block block! [Laughs] I gave y’all 24 hours for the bulls##t. Ya’ll think I’m waking up everyday talking about this, you got me f##ked up. Y’all take that over there! I had fun. I got other s##t to do.
AllHipHop: Someone said you bodied the challenge.
Elijah Blake: Thank you. We’re still waiting on The Weeknd to do his.
AllHipHop: Do you think he will?
Elijah Blake: He’s not going to do it. See, I’m playing. Someone’s like “how dare you go in on another black man?” It’s not even that deep, honestly. There are songs of his that I absolutely love. I love “I feel it coming, I feel it coming… [Weeknd voice].” You’re about to get a whooping acting crazy like this, if your parents walk in and see what you’re tweeting and how you’re acting…