“That was a dream come true,” ’Kon said Tuesday. “You know how you come into a career and set your goals as to where you wanna start and where you wanna end? I had a wish list of all the collaborations I ever wanted to do. Mike was at the top. I was saying, ’Well, if ever I get to Mike, then that’ll be the sign I can retire.’ But I got to Mike 10 years earlier than I expected. So I decided not to make retirement goals anymore.
“I think at the end of the day, it was one of those situations that caught me off guard,” he added. “I didn’t realize I was working so hard to actually capture his attention. That really showed me. That’s the day I realized I made it.”
The song MJ and Akon put together is called “Hold My Hand” and it’s one of the first records we’ve heard Mike on in years. The two go back and forth on the verses.
“It’s a worldwide smash. It’s gonna be huge,” Akon promised. “The concept is to bring all the people together as one person linking as one world. At the state of where the world is now, with all these wars and conflict all over the place, I think a record like that is needed. That’s the best time when a voice needs to be heard. I felt like, ’What better voice between me and Mike to be able to say something like that at the time we in?’ Outside of trying to do a club record or a record we expect to get thousand of [spins], it was more so, ’Let’s do a record that fits all formats but also has some meaning to it.’ But, of course, for the future, we’ll be finishing up the rest of the record.”
Which leads to another question: Will we see Michael Jackson wearing a Konvict Music chain to match his sparkling glove? “When the record comes out, read the label,” ’Kon hinted.
Akon also said Jackson would be appearing in the video for “Hold My Hand,” which is the lead cut from ’Kon’s next LP, Acquitted. “He’s fully committed,” Akon said about MJ being in the video. “We’re gonna set up a whole tour around it. It’s a big play.”
Besides Nelly and Ashanti on “Body on Me” and DJ Khaled on “Out Here Grindin’,” Akon’s other big guest appearance is Whitney Houston on “Like I Never Left.” “I really enjoyed working with Whitney,” Akon said. “She was mad cool. Down to earth, yet conservative, polite. She felt like a high school friend. She felt mad approachable, cool as hell. We had a great time working. The chemistry was right on point. The record shows it, because we came up with a smash.”
The duo sing about losing love and trying to rekindle a flame like the good old days.
“I want you to hold on,” Houston sings on the chorus.
Akon chimes in: “Like I never left.”
“I realize I been foolish, I never should have turned my back,” Houston sings. ” ’Cause it’s a cold world when you’re out there all alone/ So many times I wanted to pick up the phone and tell you, ’Ooh baby, baby, I miss your loving so.’ ”
“Do you think we can pick up where we left off before the day/ That I told you it was over, packed my things and moved away?” Akon asks later. “Without you, my world is just an empty place.”
“She’s not singing about nobody,” Akon insisted, knocking down any thoughts that Houston might be singing about her ex Bobby Brown or her rumored current man, Ray J. “She really ain’t. Actually, we switched some words around so people don’t think she was singing about Bobby. This record is more of a record that anyone going through that situation would be able to relate to. It’s just the fact that she got out of a situation is what made it more relevant. I’m doing two records for her album.”
Akon’s Acquitted comes out in October. He says he’s about two songs away from recording and is in the process of whittling down his collaborations. The record with Michael Jackson will definitely be included in the set, though.
“Mike is on the album,” ’Kon laughed. “He’s already got the prime slot.”