Chuck Arnold
June 19, 2012 04:40 PM

Sure, he’s already got his Beliebers, but Justin Bieber is on a mission to convince the unconverted that he’s the real deal on his new album.

To that end, he takes a page from another Justin – Timberlake – who went from teen-pop heartthrob with ‘N Sync to grown-up artist in his solo career by adding elements of R&B and hip-hop. While the transformation isn’t complete for Bieber at just 18, he smoothly makes some similar strides into manhood.

On “Boyfriend,” the hypnotic hit first single, he’s a rhyme-busting B-boy who is equal parts swagger and sweetness. He leaves the rapping to Nicki Minaj, Big Sean and “Baby” collaborator Ludacris on some electro-infused tracks, while Drake makes the perfect partner in croon on “Right Here,” a hot summer slow jam.

RELATED: Justin Bieber Bonds with Selena Gomez’s Family at Charity Event

Before Believe loses steam in its final third, the newly pompadoured singer works his old-fashioned charms on a couple of cuts that nod to Michael Jackson, best of which is the MJ-sampling “Die in Your Arms.” The deluxe edition also features the “Billie Jean”-esque “Maria,” about the woman who claimed to be Bieber’s baby mama.

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