The first single from Michael Jackson’s forthcoming Thriller 25, a collection of tunes celebrating the 25th anniversary of the King of Pop’s classic LP , will be a newly recorded rendition of “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ ” that features Akon, Will.I.Am and, of course, Jackson himself.
“He’s incredible,” Akon told MTV News about working with MJ. “He’s a genius. Just to be in the same room [with him], I felt everything I wanted to accomplish in life has been achieved. That aura … that’s how incredible that aura is. We about to shake the world up, man. You know how you be with somebody and you can’t even explain [the feeling]? I used to sit and think, ’How does somebody sell so many records and dominate a whole business genre to a point [where] nobody can’t be a part of that without associating with you?’ The way he thinks … some artists think regional, some think national, I was thinking international. He thinks planets. It’s on another level.”
The track is a new take on the original, according to a press release, and was produced by Akon and Jackson. MJ mixed and mastered the new cut.
Thriller 25, which is due in stores February 12, will include the original version of the 1982 record, in addition to five tracks previously unreleased in any form, including a Kanye West-helmed remix of “Billie Jean”; Will.I.Am’s reworkings of “The Girl Is Mine” and “P.Y.T.”; Fergie’s version of “Beat It”; and an outtake from the original Thriller sessions called “For All Time.”
The set will also feature a DVD, including all the Thriller-inspired short films (“Thriller,” “Beat It” and “Billie Jean”), in addition to Jackson’s Emmy-nominated performance of “Billie Jean” during the “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” TV special. The DVD reportedly will also boast an exclusive, Jackson-penned greeting to his fans.
Initial reports suggested Jackson had also worked with Pharrell, Ne-Yo, Neff-U, Jerkins, Chris Brown, Dallas Austin and Teddy Riley on the project, but it remains unclear whether those collaborations will materialize.