Tricky Stewart Speaks On His Michael Jackson Experience

"I met Michael years and years ago in the early 90s like 1993. And one day he was working at a tudio and he was about to block the studio for a couiple weeks. I was running over and he and teddy riley were trying to kick me out bc I was working all night. At that time he would have a bunch of video games to create the vibe and he caught me playing one of his pacman games and he was like you know youre playing my game right? laughs. There’s no mistaking that voice. I turn around and there he was. he was just kidding though, real cool. it was just amazing to be in his presence, it was a dream come true. Everyone who’s ever done music has wanted to do something with Michael Jackson. I believe he was the numnber one call in all of music for pretty much all of his career. 

it was quick. I was just in awe. He might have said other things, but at that point you don’t hear much (laughs). You’ll never know you’ll react until he’s right behind. I thought I was cool around every star, but there’s the ones that still shake you up.

I worked on three songs for MJ, one of them which definietyely made it and two for other projects. The song is called Keep Your Head Up

We were planning on getting together at some point before, my camp and his camp. And it looked like were going to work together, but we never got to actually get in the studio. But the label contacted me about producing some previously recorded records that he was working on 2007. When I got the opp I said oh I could do something w that one and that one. I got the opp to work on this keep your head up record and it turned out to be pretty great. It’s just him doing him. He produced it and wrote it.

The idea… the way I try to do it… although I do have a sound. There’s no other umbrella, there’s no other single ladies. I believe every artist has a sound and clearly mj has one of the most indetifiable musical sounds out there. It wasn’t about me putting my sound on it, it was about making his sound the best it could be. I put a lot of effot to make sure these records felt like MJ. It was a tremendous amount of pressure to live up to his body of wrk. I was doing the best I could do, just trying to do what he would want me to do. A lot of times it felt like he was in there with me just working on the record.

I didn’t veer off what he did. There is no banging 808s because that’s not what he was known for.

The expectation was there, so there was a bit more pressure that I put on myself. Because im trying to live up to the greatest producer and some of the greatest producer. I want my place in history however it pertains to miachel Jackson that there was a certain level of integrity and creatibity put into the records.

These were works he was working on that he didn’t get the opportunity to finish. Its not me reworking a Michael Jackson, im basically filling in what he didn’t get into. I didn’t go in and create a whole entire track to a Michael Jackson vocal.

I can’t speak for anything other than what I know. The songs I worked on definitely have a really good vibe. They’re well-written, well-produced. They sound like genuine Michael Jackson records.

its got the little verse with the big chorus and the choir that comes in at the end. And he got the chance to get the choir already.

the best part of the experience is about the legacy and the lineage of what it means to have it in my discography. To work in any capacity with the greatest entertainer of all time was a huge moment for me. there’s noone more that I wanted to produce for than Michael Jackson.

One of them I worked on real heavy. A song called Slve to the Rhythem. LA and babyface wrote the record. By me having so much familiarity on their music it was lots of fun to beat those guys up. I really wanted to destroy the production on their own record laughs. So that was fun and when I played it for them they were blown away.

Everything is subject to opinion. I personally believe, given the opp to work on a mj project, I was def going to do it. I think at the end of the day, theres something to be said about the mysteriousness of his work being there. But theres something about your music being able to live on till the end of time. we’re celebrating the beatles pretty heavily right now and right before Christmas. Michael Jackson to some people wont be remembered after a certain point. It’s great to always be celebrating the greatness of people. Michael Jackson is a national treasure. He was big for our country. I think it’s the right thing to do to let people live on. I understand the case for both sides, but I knew I could keep the integrity of his music. "

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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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Rapper Bobby Shmurda poses backstage at Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2014 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 30, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Power 105.1

Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.


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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."


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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"


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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.


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