Nearly five years after Michael Jackson's death and four since the posthumously released Michael, the King of Pop returns to world of music on May 13 with Xscape, an album that reworks vocals recorded between 1983 and 1999 over new music produced by Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins (aka Darkchild), J-Roc, and Stargate.
"Look whatcha done to me, baby/ I can no longer smile, baby/ And I've waited so long just to carry on/ I'm the blue gangsta," he accuses a former lover over the churning, trap-style production. Despite the updated, contemporary sound, the song nonetheless stays true to Michael's musical legacy.
This delicate balance of unleashing the vocals' true potential while still maintaining an authentic MJ sound was important to Timbaland, the man responsible for "Blue Gangsta"'s production. "I'm doing Michael Jackson, but I can't talk to him," Tim revealed to Billboard. "So how do I channel him?"
The innovative producer also shared that, after working tirelessly to achieve the right sound, he felt the spirit of Michael Jackson speak to him, reassuring: "'That's it, Tim.' I'd look around, and nobody be in the room... I know I ain't crazy. I know what I heard... So it's like his spirit resonated through me to give me the OK." After listening to "Blue Gangsta," we've got to admit that Timbaland's story doesn't sound so "crazy" after all.
If you're anything like us, then this new track has probably given you a heavy case of Michael Jackson nostalgia. This will probably give you your fix: a video of the King of Pop performing "Bad" at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards.
Filmed live in London, it's an iconic set to witness. It's incredible to see Michael work what looks to be a stadium full of people with nothing more than his vocals, legendary freestyle moves, and dynamic stage presence. It's truly a testament to his power as an artist and a performer.
+ Listen to Michael Jackson's "Blue Gangsta," and watch him perform "Bad" at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards at MichaelJackson.mtv.com.
GIFs: Gavin Alaoen/MTV