The Weeknd has landed Madonna and Playboi Carti features for the latest track from his HBO show, The Idol. “Popular,” which follows the Weeknd and Future’s lead song, “Double Fantasy,” will likewise appear on the soundtrack album, The Idol, Vol. 1. The full soundtrack is out June 30. Listen to the new one—co-produced by the Weeknd, Mike Dean, and Metro Boomin—below.
In a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the Weeknd revealed that the song originated as a collaboration with Playboi Carti. “We’ve had a different version of this song prior,” the Weeknd said. “So I’ve had these vocals for a while, and I’ve kind of just worked around it, and then kind of kept it in the tuck. But now it felt like it was time.” He also called Madonna “the ultimate co-sign for this song.”
“I’ve always wanted to work with her,” the Weeknd continued. “I’ve always wanted to write and produce a Madonna album… well, co-produce with her, of course. She’s a visionary and she has such a singular vision, and I just want to come into her world and create a classic Madonna album. That was always my dream. Hopefully this is the appetizer for that.”
The Idol has had a rough ride since a Rolling Stone exposé publicized allegations that the show’s creators—Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, and Reza Fahim—had mishandled the production, leading to delays and what some staff framed as a departure from the initial script’s “feminist lens.” Some of it amounted to “sexual torture porn,” said one crew member. The show’s stars and creators dismissed those characterizations during the press run at Cannes Film Festival, even as early reviews bore out misgivings expressed in the Rolling Stone report. (The Idol currently has a 25 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes.)
Playboi Carti was arrested earlier this year for allegedly assaulting and choking his pregnant girlfriend. His lawyer said he was falsely accused.