In what universe could pop music's bad boy Justin Bieber be compared to folk legend Bob Dylan? In this one, according to the Bieb's manager Scooter Braun.
Braun was reflecting on dance music's current cultural relevancy and how Bieber's performance at Ultra Music Festival could be a career-defining moment when he made the Bieber-Dylan comparison to Billboard.
"It's like Bob Dylan: He pissed people off, but whenever he switched, he reinvented himself in a way that made him who he is today," Braun told the mag.
Bieber critics and Dylan fans had a lot of feelings about this bold claim, and they took to social media to air their grievances. Some of them were even, well, extreme:
Bob Dylan drunk, high, incomprehensible AND unconscious is a better artist that Justin Bieber any day of the week. https://t.co/WYftbSFBiC— Dimitri Kolokotronis (@JimmyLevendia) June 12, 2015
Braun fired back to the haters on Twitter, challenging the notion that Bieber's apolitical style prevents him from being the caliber of musical rule-breaker that Dylan was. "Thanks to social media we can always speak for ourselves," he captioned his photo-response.
The lengthy explanation included, "So when asked if I was scared if Bieber would be booed at ultra I compared his risk to the one Dylan too, saying we learned from greats not to be afraid of stepping out of your fan's comfort zone and pushing forward. It was nothing beyond that. Isn't that what great men are for? To give us courage thru their actions to be brave in our own lives?"
It's true that Dylan's switch in 1965 was a courageous move, and it was courageous for Bieber to perform at Ultra, considering the level of hostility he faces outside of his core pop fandom. Like Dylan, Bieber has changed his musical style and branched out of pop with R&B and now EDM.
Scooter isn't alone in supporting his Bieber-Dylan connection, either. Justin's musical director and guitarist Dan Kanter also stands by the comparison. "I couldn't agree more," Dan wrote on Twitter.
I couldn't agree more. "He who is not busy being born is busy dying" - Dylan https://t.co/hhUwdqB4i6— Dan Kanter (@dankanter) June 12, 2015
So is it fair to say that in terms of risky career moves, Bieber, like Dylan, isn't afraid to go outside of his comfort zone? Perhaps it is.