By Chris Yuscavage
Despite the international pop success he enjoyed during his lifetime, Michael Jackson was never afraid to jump on a song with a rapper.
He called Jay-Z to appear on “You Rock My World,” the first single from his 2001 album, Invincible. He lent his backup vocals to Hov’s single, “Girls, Girls, Girls” from 2001’s The Blueprint and joined him on stage at Hot 97’s Summer Jam in June 2001. And as far back as 1995, he embraced hip-hop by asking Notorious B.I.G. to drop a verse on “This Time Around” for his ninth studio album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1.
So it’s no surprise that, in spite of his untimely death, the King of Pop’s first official posthumous album, Michael, features a collaboration with rapper 50 Cent on “Monster” — a song that 50 loftily describes as “the 2010 version of Thriller.” Though the two never actually got to meet, Fif recently explained that MJ reached out to him to talk about the two doing work together shortly before passing away. “I didn’t have the opportunity to physically be in the Michael Jackson’s presence,” he told MTV News. “But my DJ, Whoo Kid, he had the opportunity to actually meet Mike, because he was interested in working with me and he said that he had something he wanted me to actually hear, a song he created. He thought it would be perfect for us to collaborate on.”
If MJ had lived long enough to see Michael come to fruition, we’re pretty sure he wouldn’t have stopped there, either. Thanks to the growth of rap music since Michael’s last album in 2001 and the King’s willingness to work with MCs, we’re confident that he would have invited several other rappers to work on his new album as well, if afforded the opportunity. But, exactly who would have gotten an invitation? RapFix has a few ideas. Here are 10 rappers who would have sounded right at home on a record with MJ.
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: MJ and Jay have already rocked our world several times in the past, so it would have been no problem for them to get back into the studio and do it again. Plus, both of them are super protective about their music, so none of it would have made it out onto the rap blogs. That’s a win in our book.
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: Something tells us that if MJ were working on a new album and he had to call just one rapper to jump into the studio with him, it’d be ’Ye. And some 2,479,283 takes later, these two perfectionists would have landed on something they would have been proud to present to the world. Just as long as MJ didn’t catch wind of those “She got a light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson/Got a dark-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson” lines off “Slow Jamz” first.
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: Ten years ago? Five years ago? Even two years ago? Slim Shady isn’t making the cut. Not after what he did in that “Just Lose It” video. But after all the maturity and growth shown on Recovery, we’re betting the King of Pop would’ve given Em a second chance.
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: Shortly after MJ’s death in June 2009, Diddy made an appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman” and told Dave that MJ once showed up at one of his parties to “holla at Beyonce.” A guest verse is the least MJ could have done to help repay him for that.
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: If the King of Pop was still alive and putting out a brand-new album in 2010, someone in his camp would have been smart enough to tell him to throw Drizzy into the mix. No offense, MJ, but no one is moving units these days without a Drizzy verse. Got it?
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: Frankly, we’re a little surprised that this didn’t happen during MJ’s lifetime. Snoop was clearly influenced by MJ (Remember, he rocked the glove, and the crowd, at Spike Lee’s 2nd annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration this year) and he’s worked with just about everyone in the game so he comes with plenty of solid references. A Snoop collaboration would’ve taken MJ to new heights, right?
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: If you’re a pop star looking to work with a rapper, Lil Wayne is your guy. Enough said.
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: Doesn’t a Michael Jackson/Jay Electronica track sound just weird enough to work? We think so. And we also think that thanks to Michael’s relationship with Electronica’s new boss Jay-Z, this actually could have happened one day if MJ had lived long enough to see it through.
Why She Would Have Made the Cut: Unfortunately, there aren’t many female MCs around who could share studio space with MJ. Fortunately, there is Nicki Minaj. And we’re not sure if you’ve noticed or not, but she loves making guest appearances on other people’s albums!
Why He Would Have Made the Cut: Lost in the shuffle here is the Black Eyed Peas front man, who actually did have the distinct pleasure of recording a handful of tracks with MJ before his death. However, none of those tracks were actually finished before Jackson died and will has vowed to keep them under wraps as a result of that. So it sounds like, unless any other unauthorized MJ songs come to light, 50 Cent might just be the last MC we hear rapping alongside Mike.
Are you glad to see 50 Cent appear on Michael? Are there any other rappers that you would have liked to hear on it? Will you be buying the album? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!