So what if "You Rock My World," the phrase Michael Jackson uses as the title of his new single, is as played out as "Cowabunga, dude"? The song's producer, Rodney Jerkins, said he's bringing M.J. up to date, just you wait.
"I ain't even gonna sit here and lie to you. I told Mike there's certain things he needs to say," the 24-year-old producer said of coaching the 43-year-old pop superstar. "Kids talk differently now. He needs to know things kids are saying now. I told him different things kids are saying now, and he took it from there."
Jackson took heed of Jerkins' advice and described the hot babe he's pursuing in the song as
While Jerkins, who said seven of his production offerings made Jackson's Invincible, due October 30, promised the performer that he wouldn't talk too much about his work on the album before it was released, he did disclose a few details.
"All the joints I did with Mike are pretty much grimy," Jerkins said. "I did one ballad with him, but everything I did was pretty much grimy. I think this album, the stuff I did, is going to make the people dance."
Jackson himself will be dancing in the "You Rock My World" video, which premieres Wednesday (September 26) on MTV during "TRL" and on VH1 at 5 p.m. ET. The premiere will feature the full-length clip, which clocks in at 13 minutes and 47 seconds, with a five-minute version going into rotation afterward.
Directed by Paul Hunter (Will Smith, Aaliyah, Jennifer Lopez), the clip features Jackson and Chris Tucker pursuing a girl who happens to be a mobster's main squeeze. The Don of all fictional mob bosses, Marlon Brando, appears in the video, as does Hollywood heavy Michael Madsen ("Reservoir Dogs").
"It's hot," said Jerkins, who was coaxed by his friend into making a cameo appearance in the clip. "From what I saw, it was blazing. Mike's about to change the game. It's like a movie. It's a story line, but it's dope, because Michael's videos have always been serious, but this one has some humor in it. Of course it's going to be funny, 'cause you got Chris Tucker in it."
The seeds of the pairing were planted after a chance meeting between actor and producer. "I was actually out in Vegas working out with Mike Tyson," Jerkins said. "We went into the mall, and Chris Tucker was there; he was working on 'Rush Hour 2.' He told me he was a fan of mine, so I told him to come over to Mike's crib a little later.
"He told me he was a big fan of Michael Jackson, and he never met Michael before. I said, 'I'mma get him on the phone.' I called Michael and I let Chris talk to Michael, and he was tripping out."
Jerkins said that Jackson and Tucker recorded an updated version of M.J.'s "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" for "Rush Hour 2," but it never saw the light of day. Tucker did sing the song by himself during a scene in the film, however.
"I was in Miami finishing up Michael's [album] a couple of months ago," Jerkins said. "Chris was like, 'I wanna come out there and hang out with you.' I was like, 'Cool, we need to do a skit with you and Michael on the album.' When we did the skit, it wasn't even for 'You Rock My World,' but it made sense. It felt better to put it on 'You Rock My World' 'cause of what they was talking about."
The result is a skit that has Tucker betting "Never Never Land" that Jackson isn't charming enough to woo a honey.
"The feeling of [the song], it reminds you of old Mike," Jerkins said. "It's like Off the Wall and Thriller with a little bit of an edge with it. That was my goal when I did the track. I wanted to do something Quincy Jones would be proud of.
"The melody hits me," he continued. "Mike needs to come out feeling good. Everybody agreed that it was the perfect song for him to come back on. No negativity, just talking about a girl."