And today, the Weeknd might have made the late crooner’s vision come to life.
After teasing the release on Tuesday, the Canadian heavyweight dropped a new track, which was his first collaboration with the late emo-rap trailblazer. “Smile,” which features a lyric video of a man painting both artists on canvas — showcases Juice jumping into his inner feelings (“I pray that I get it right this time”) over a delicate piano-turned-trap-beat. The Weeknd then tags along for the second verse, with the song as a whole showing what could’ve been between the two now-collaborators.
The single follows Juice Wrld’s posthumous No. 1 album Legends Never Die, which saw the late rapper reach some of his biggest chart performances yet. It also comes just months after Abel Tesfaye reeled in the decades with the ’80s makeover of After Hours, as single “Blinding Lights” still towers over some of TikTok’s finest on the Hot 100 months later.
It’s unclear whether the pair had this track saved in the archives for a rainy day — or a pandemic — or if Tesfaye made this one after Juice’s December death. But either way, he’s keeping the late rapper’s promise alive.
Listen to the track below: