Thriller 25-Michael Jackson-will.i.am_

Thriller 25 sessions--Michael Jackson (2008)

 

“I was working with Michael  for two years before the Thriller anniversary album even came up. The first time I met him, I was really nervous. But he’s so open and charismatic, and lighthearted and bighearted that he made me really comfortable. It was crazy how much music knowledge he had. He had a big heart, but he was very fragile. He was emotional, so vulnerable. He had been taken advantage of by so many people in the past, but he managed to stay very wise in the industry. I learned a lot from him. For the Thriller 25 album we remixed ‘The Girl Is Mine’ (‘The Girl Is Mine 2008’) and ‘P.Y.T.’ (‘Pretty Young Thing 2008). Do you know how crazy it was to work on songs from such a big album like Thriller? That’s the biggest album of all time!

The first time I met Michael face to face was in Ireland. He asked me about my name. He was like, ‘So, the name I AM, do you know what that means? It’s a very powerful name.’ We would talk about how powerful the name Michael was from Michelangelo to Michael Jordan. We just became real friends. He would call me on my birthday, father’s day. I would call him on his birthday and even Christmas. He didn’t like recording in LA anymore, so he recorded at my house, which was outside of LA. Michael’s people wanted to pay for my plane ticket to Ireland and asked me how much money I wanted. And I’m like, ‘I don’t want any money. And I’ll pay for my own plane ticket.’ I didn’t want to be one of those producers that took advantage of Michael Jackson and his money. I love music and he loved music, so if the music that we made ever comes out we can figure out how everyone’s compensated later. I still have Mike’s vocals. There will never be another Michael Jackson. He’s the greatest, man.”

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(L-R) Darrell Britt-Gibson as Bobby Rush, Daniel Kaluuya as Chairman Fred Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield as Bill O’Neal in Warner Bros. motion picture, 'Judas and the Black Messiah'
Courtesy of Warner Brothers/Glen Wilson

Daniel Kaluuya Becomes 5th Black Actor To Win Best Supporting Actor At Golden Globes

Major congratulations are in order for Daniel Kaluuya as he won the Golden Globes' Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture award for his role as Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah.

On Sunday night (Feb. 28), the British actor kicked off the night as the first award recipient and—thankfully after a bit of technical difficulty—delivered his first Golden Globes acceptance speech. After thanking his family, friends, and colleagues, he thanked London rapper C. Biz for creating "The Biz Is Mine," a song he'd listen to before every speech, Judas and the Black Messiah's director Shaka King, Ryan Coogler, and his castmates LaKeith Stansfield and Dominique Fishback.

"Man, this took all of me. I gave everything. Like the great Nipsey Hussle says, 'We're here to give 'til we're empty' and I gave everything," Kaluuya said. "And I couldn't give it to a more nobleman and that's Chairman Fred Hampton. I hope generations after this can see how brilliantly he thought, how brilliantly he spoke, and how brilliantly he loved. He taught me about myself and made me grow as a man and I appreciate him with all my heart. There's a lot of information about how he died, but I hope [that] you people out there will grow and learn about how incredibly he lived."

Kaluuya made history as the fifth Black actor to receive the Supporting Actor award. In 1983, Louis Gossett Jr. won the award for his role in An Officer and a Gentleman. Denzel Washington took home the award in 1990 for his role in Glory. Seventeen years later, Eddie Murphy won for his role in the 2006 film Dreamgirls. And in 2019, Mahershala Ali received the honor for his role in Moonlight.

Watch Kaluuya's full acceptance speech down below.  Judas and the Black Messiah is steaming now on HBO Max.

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Photos by Skip Bolen/WireImage and Paul Warner/WireImage

D'Angelo And Maxwell Were Originally Scheduled For A 'Verzuz' Battle

It's no secret. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have been working hard to pair up some of hip-hop and R&B's biggest stars for their Verzuz celebratory battles. To date, the duo has successfully hosted 24 of these events on Instagram Live and their streaming partner, Apple Music. Now, what you rarely hear about are the matches that could have been. In a live conversation following D'Angelo's damn-near-solo set—that many R&B lovers didn't know they needed—Swizz Beatz and Timbaland revealed how the soulful crooner was originally scheduled to take part in Verzuz alongside fellow "neo-soul" singer Maxwell.

"I'm not gonna lie. That sh*t took very long. Let's give people the story," starts Swizz. "What was supposed to happen was D'Angelo versus Maxwell on Valentine's Day. That didn't work out, but the fact that D'Angelo was still ready to go and still motivated, we had to celebrate him— matter who was on stage with him. We had to celebrate that king because, as you can see, those songs that he played tonight, man, that's real music."

He continues: "This is a celebrational stage and we couldn't play around with him. We had to let him get his garden because he showed up and showed out. That man pulled up to Verzuz three hours early. D'Angelo was the earliest person in Verzuz history tonight so don't get him showing up [at] the time he did mixed up with the pre-show which was by DJ Scratch."

Message received, but could you imagine how many more ladies would've gotten their lives on that night of love? Can you imagine the attempted falsetto singing done by viewers on that special and rare night? It would've been nice to see D'Angelo and Maxwell on the same bill, that's for sure.

Watch Swizz and Timbo talk about the match that could have been while clearing the air about D'Angelo's start-time at around the 4-minute and 20-second mark of the video below.

 

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Recording artist D'Angelo performs at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on August 21, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

D'Angelo & Friends Took The 'Verzuz' Battle Format And Turned It Inside Out

Those that were waiting to see D'Angelo versus a worthy opponent on Verzuz got a little something different for the latest "match" as D pretty much battled himself and had some homies drop in to support. The event—D'Angelo & Friends—held at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York on Saturday night (Feb. 27) started off about an hour late. Yet, it wasn't a Keyshia Cole type hour late, as DJ Scratch (formerly of the legendary hip-hop group EPMD) held down the wheels of steel with a strong blended mix set and pre-show that spanned '80s, '90s, and 2000s hits of Black music.

Once D'Angelo sat behind the piano and thanked everyone for coming through, he played a song that set the tone that many didn't know (I still don't know that one), before easing into the familiar tracks: "Me And Those Dreamin' Eyes Of Mine," "Lady," and "Left And Right," with the latter punctuated by a surprise funk performance by the duo of Redman and Method Man. The smoke twins Red and Meth came out hyped as always and did their street version of the uncles at the BBQ doing the two-step. Many of the comments on the Instagram Live comment feed were filled with "Black don't crack..." and "Those guys are aging backward." Red and Meth were fire and showed love to the furry overcoat and wide brim-wearing D'Angelo. "Legends," is how D dubbed the duo when they walked off the set.

DJ Scratch continued to control the energy of the night as his cuts weaved in and out of D's storied favorites and the banter between the two was light and hearty. D'Angelo told the story of how he first came to Harlem and the Apollo as a teenager to compete on the famous Wednesday's Amateur Night. DJ Scratch asked, "So what happened?" D'Angelo sharply replied, "I won!" They laughed and D expressed how that's how he got his start in the music industry.

What was special about the night was how D was really surprised by the "Friends" that showed up for him. He seemingly found out who was on the bill with him at the same time as the live viewers. His moment with the songstress H.E.R. was so genuine as they turned their cordial fandom for one another into the coolest tune performance of "Nothing Even Matters." H.E.R. exclaimed, "I'm singing with D'Angelo right now! What is life?!"

Knowing that D'Angelo isn't much for the fanfare and bright lights of stardom, to see him perform for the Verzuz crowd sans a worthy opponent was a rare treat that we didn't know we needed. Normally everyone wants to see some musical bloodshed with a head-to-head battle, but it was good to see soul music just be soul music and that be the focus rather than the "Who won..." convo was a nice break in the Verzuz series. Even though D' didn't have someone to battle, the star of the night was his full-length, dark brown sheared mink coat. Look up the convos about it on various comment sections and you'll know why.

You can watch the full event down below or on Apple Music...or if you just want to run those incredible D'Angelo vintage vibes back, you can create a playlist with the songs he and his friends performed down below.

Interesting Fact: In a post-Verzuz live chat between Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, Swizz shared that D'Angelo was supposed to go against Maxwell on Valentine's Day, but it didn't work out.

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D'Angelo and Friends Set List (Unknown Song) (feat. Keyon Harrold) Cruisin’ Alright Lady Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine Left and Right (feat. Method Man and Redman) Method Man's “Break Ups 2 Make Ups” 1000 Deaths Back to the Future, Part. 1 Sugah Daddy Devil’s Pie One Mo’ Gin Chicken Grease Feel Like Makin’ Love Jonz in My Bonz Really Love Another Life Send It On Spanish Joint H.E.R.'s Best Part Nothing Even Matters (feat. H.E.R.) The Root Brown Sugar Untitled (How Does It Feel)

 

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