To celebrate the massive year that he’s having, Abel Tesfaye–AKA The Weeknd–released two remixes of the breakthrough single “The Hills” earlier this month, both featuring two of the biggest rappers in the game: One with Nicki Minaj, and one with Eminem. And why wouldn’t he be celebrating? His latest album, Beauty Behind The Madness, has already been certified Gold, and “The Hills” hit triple Platinum recently. He was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live earlier this month, he headlined the Austin City Limits Festival, and every song on the album hit the charts at the same time, the first time a non-rapper has had that many on the Billboard chart at once. It’s no surprise that Nicki Minaj and Eminem are lining up to drop featured verses on his remixes.
It’s also not a surprise, given how innovative The Weeknd has been in building a brand identity, that the video for the Eminem remix of “The Hills” would utilize some new technology to make its statement. Built around GoPro Spherical 360 footage (and best watched either on the YouTube app on a mobile device, or in the Google Chrome browser), the video for the remix is a fully immersive, VR experience that lets viewers see what it’s like to walk back to the limo if you’re Abel Tesfaye.
The results are, um, unexpected: Rather than the screaming fans and bodyguards one might expect, the nonplussed singer strolls out toward the car as explosions detonate around him, the sky lights up on fire, and phoenixes emerge from the flames. Well, if you’re as on top of the world as The Weeknd is right now, it’s probably true that none of that would phase you, either.