Last summer, when the Weeknd was still a whispered-about PBR&B enigma, the Canadian singer-producer surprised fans with a Drake cameo on his second mixtape, Thursday. Naturally, the team-up made a lot of sense: While Drake was pushing his moody, minor-chord YOLO doctrine to the mainstream, Abel Tesfaye was going even deeper, even bleaker, in the underground (which is to say, the Internet).
More than a year later, with the Weeknd signed to a major and his Trilogy mixtape comp due out November 13, each reappears in the Tesfaye-directed video for that 2011 collab “The Zone.” The clip furthers the visual references of the O.G. release. A pretty girl in lingerie lounges in a House of Balloons, smiling and sipping champagne while a mirror reveals that the Weeknd is filming her. But other cuts, seemingly from a later time, reveal Tesfaye looking his usual lovelorn, deathly distraught self, as projections of the girl flit over the walls of his stalker’s den.
Cue Drake, who looks pretty bummertown in a hooded coat as he raps melancholic about hooking up with drug-taking pole-dancers. He does his part, no doubt, but try as he might, Drake can’t be half the damaged creep that the Weeknd is on camera. Behind the camera too — by the end of the clip, that room full of colorful globes goes dark and the mood dives correspondingly. Man, it must suck to be these guys.