Right on time for Pride Month, New York rapper F. Virtue is on a roll with his remixes of iconic LGBTQ artists. The queer musician's latest revision pulls inspiration from a Troye Sivan deep cut: Bloom's closing track "Animal," and his relationship with his current boyfriend.

Before the track was made, though, Sivan's original version, which is something of a sensual '80s power-ballad professing carnal, eternal devotion, had been buzzing in Virtue's head. "Last summer, I had just started seeing someone new and we were listening to the radio on my roof when 'Animal' came on," Virtue says. "I'd never heard Troye or that song, so experiencing it for the first time-stamped that moment for us."

The next day, following a post-gym workout and text convo with his boyfriend about the song, Virtue ran into Sivan on the streets of New York. "We were literally just texting about it and Troye when I left the gym and, bam, there he was... Troye Sivan was passing the gym door," he says. "It felt cosmic. So when I started this new series of remixing LGBTQ artists, I knew I had to rep Troye, remix 'Animal,' and share a glimpse into my relationship with the guy who showed it to me, who is my boyfriend now." The two snapped a cute picture together and it went right on Virtue's Instagram grid.

Artwork by Hilton Dresden

For his "bootleg" revision of "Animal," Virtue transmutes its brooding, aqueous atmosphere into his own pledge of carnal devotion. The track's thoughtful essence is maintained, but the message is Virtue's own. Where Sivan takes a brave first step of giving the affection he craves ("I want you all to myself"), Virtue, just as brave, asks to receive unconditional love. In the artist's first verse, delivered in his idiosyncratic, slightly melodic vocal style, Virtue tells a story of getting a botched, bloody ear piercing, and makes it a clever metaphor for always having a piece of someone with you.

He references his perceived flaws, like bad skin or unusual scars, and commends the guy who still finds him sexy and worthy of love. "As long as you're looking at me, then I'm good," Virtue says in the song's hook, which becomes a mantra of calm self-assurance. He also references his chance run-in with Sivan on the track and the IG post the encounter produced: "Receipts... isn't just for taxes/ It's for when you talk shit/ and then have to back it."

For the track's video, premiering today on PAPER, Virtue floats underwater in double-vision, as if imagining versions of himself that can receive the love he deserves. It's the most basic of human desires to want to love and be loved without condition. As marginalized people, queer folks need this desire fulfilled more than most. That said, the worlds or walls we create around those needs that are, usually, but a mirage.

Watch the video to F. Virtue's "Bootleg Troye Sivan Animal Remix," below, and download the track here.

Photo courtesy of F. Virtue

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