Michael’s post-mortem album Xscape was streamed by many but never gained momentum as his previous work. We find it a must to bring attention to his collaborations that didn’t make it onto mainstream pop culture. From Ice Cube to Eddie Murphy, Michael Jackson worked with the greatest and coolest people of all time. Read below to discover 7 stunning Michael Jackson collaborations you didn’t know about.
7. The Dude feat. Quincy Jones (1981)
That groove bass though!!! Talk about disco huh! Michael Jackson’s vocals are unmistakable and render the song a smooth AF composition. “Who is it/ That ain’t got time for foolish talkin’?/ (It’s the dude)/ Who is it/ That looks so clean you can’t ignore him/ (That’s the dude),” goes the post-hook. The album with the same name was nominated for twelve entire Grammy categories and it won three. After Michael’s death, Jones had legal issues with Michael’s label as he claims they found loopholes in his producer contract and remade Michael’s songs in order to avoid crediting and paying him after the Popstar’s passing. Ouch!
6. So Shy feat. Bill Wolfer (1982)
Although Michael Jackson only laid the back vocals for So Shy, the song is an underrated gem that is a nostalgic and unique reminder of how the King’s vocals made any song pop. Michael could have jumped on any given track and he knew how to turn it into a commercial success. As for Bill Wolfer, he was a hired gun in the industry and worked with Stevie Wonder as well as many A-listers of the time. He’s the one who played the keyboard on Jackson’s Billie Jean. Woof!
5. Save Me feat. Dave Mason (1980)
Dang! Michael was stellar at his craft! Peep how he lets the main artist shine but also enhances the song every single time he uses his voice. “Nothing turned out like she thought it would/ (Thought it would)/ And I was waiting right there/ where she stood/ She said: save me/ From this wicked world I’m livin’ in/ She said: save me/ I don’t wanna lose, I wanna win/ I can’t run and I can’t hide,” go the lyrics that almost sound like Britney Spears’s life soundtrack. Jackson yet again gifts a grandiose oomph to Save Me by employing his famous yells, ad-libs, and screams. This song should have been way, way bigger.
4. Whatzupwitu feat. Eddie Murphy (1993)
Although hardcore Murphy and Jackson fans might have seen it already, in mainstream media this song never saw any attention or press. Whatzupwitu is very much a comedic take on love. While it is obviously intended for entertainment purposes only, the folks at MTV still decided to rate it as the 3rd worst music video of all time 😀 The hook sounds like Murphy and Jackson decided to first have some tequila shots and then hit the recording booth. If the song came out today, it would make waves for the sheer indifference towards pre-established musical and visual standards. And that’s why Whatzupwitu slaps!
3. Do The Bartman feat. The Simpsons (1990)
This one’s a BOP! Classic Hip Hop drums and bass meshed with Michael’s soulful, sultry layered vocals. Who would have thought? All the way from 1990, Do The Bartman is seriously infectious and underrated. Wait and see until one of the Gen Zers picks it up and dances to it on Tik Tok. It’ll be a throwback new hit. “Fixin’ test scores to get the best scores/ Droppin’ banana peels all over the floor./ I’m the kid that made delinquency an art,/ Last name Simpson, first name Bart,” goes the earworm. Initially, Michael couldn’t confirm the collaboration as he was under contractual obligations with his label that prevented him from working on unauthorized songs. The King though was too much of a fan of the Simpsons to let the occasion pass up and he agreed not to be included in the credits for it.
2. We Be Ballin’ You feat. Ice Cube (1998)
Who said Michael didn’t appreciate Hip Hop? Cause boy he did! Besides humming 50 Cent’s In Da Club to the irritation of Chris Tucker, he actually hopped on the remix of We Be Clubbin’ by Ice Cube. Michael Jackson absolutely slayed that hook: “Nothing you can say/ Nothing you can do/ We’ll be ballin’ you/ We’ll be ballin’ you/ No one to defeat/ You’ll see what we can do/ We’ll be ballin’ you/ We’ll be ballin’ you.” Sheesh that is EXACTLY how you package a Hip Hop song for mass consumption. Get a Popstar on the hook and you’re good. Phenomenal work guys!
1. There Must Be More To Life Than This feat.Freddie Mercury (1985)
Kings… we’ve failed you. Seems the world is not ready yet to let go of discrimination, racism, and differentiating one another based off the stupidest sh*t. “There must be more to life than this/ There must be more than meets the eye/ Why should it be just a case of black or white?/ There must be more to life than this,” beautifully belts Mike supported by Freddie Mercury’s otherworldly vocals. The song cuts deep and lands hard. If you have a decent moral compass, There Must Be More To Life Than This will compel your mind to sit back and think. Where the F did we go wrong? How can this song from 1985 STILL apply almost 40 years later??? A record most beautiful that extrapolates our human struggle with the age-old systems.
We won’t ask you for donations but we do ask you to please support the extremely hard-working artists we hand-picked from across the globe by streaming the playlist below: