In 2007, Akon spent time in a Las Vegas studio with the King of Pop, writing and recording songs for what Jackson intended to be his comeback album. Nearly three years later, only two of those songs have surfaced: a remix of Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" that appeared on the 25th anniversary edition of MJ's Thriller album and "Hold My Hand," a track featuring both artists (but written by Claude Kelly), that made the file-sharing rounds last year.
And after Jackson's death in June, who knows when more of the tracks will see the light of day? Akon said that he and Jackson recorded "days" of material, most of which never made it past the demo stages. And, really, he's not that concerned if they are ever released, because, in the wake of Jackson's passing, Akon would prefer to reminisce about the man, not the music.
"My favorite moment was the day we actually met, because I didn't expect him to be that cool," Akon said in MTV's "Michael Jackson's Human Nature" special, which aired over the weekend. "I expected him to be this diva — just hard to deal with, rarely speaks, got to send his message through someone else, you know? Because these are the stories you hear."
Before they recorded a note of music, Akon had a sitdown meeting with Jackson, one that began predictably — and seemed to confirm the producer's worst fears — but quickly became a life-changing event.
"So I'm going upstairs [to meet him], I knock on the door, his bodyguard opens and says, 'OK, he's waiting to meet you.' I walk in and [Michael's] in this spinning chair, but it's facing backwards, so I walk in the room, but his back is turned, and the guard says, 'Hey, Mike, Akon's here.' So he spins around, like it was choreographed — so right away I was like, 'Oh boy,' " he laughed.
"But as soon as he turns around, gets up, 'Yo, what up, man?!' and I was like, 'What up, Mike?' and he gave me a pound, we hugged each other. He's like, 'Yo, I've been waiting to meet you for so long, this is a great honor, thanks for showing up, thanks for making the time.' And in my mind I'm like, 'You know, I should be thanking you for making the time.'
"It was the craziest thing, because we sat down, we talked about Africa, we talked about my foundation [Konfidence], we talked about the music, we talked about girls. We had a great, incredible time that day," he continued. "He was extremely funny, he told jokes, and he liked to have fun."