Jay-Z has revealed the motive behind his absence from last Friday’s (Feb. 12) star-studded “We Are the World 25 for Haiti” record.
The charity single remake was executive-produced by the trio of Quincy Jones, Lionel Ritchie and Wyclef Jean. Like the 1985 original, it was a prodigious gathering of over 80 musicians from various genres.
Because of his many outreach efforts over the years in Africa (water shortage crisis) and with Hurricane Katrina, many were surprised that Jay-Z did not lend his talents to the track.
The Brooklyn native explained to MTV News that while he supported the motivation behind the project, he was uncomfortable with seeing a legendary work tampered with.
“I know everybody is gonna take this wrong: ‘We Are the World,’ I love it, and I understand the point and think it’s great,” Jay reasoned. “But I think ‘We Are the World’ is like [Michael Jackson’s] Thriller to me. I don’t ever want to see it touched.”
Jay-Z developed a friendship with Jackson in the early 2000s through several collaborations.
They exchanged guest spots in 2001 with Jackson singing backup on Blueprint’s “Girls Girls Girls,” and Jay-Z laying a verse on the Trackmaster’s “You Rock My World Remix.”
That same year, Jackson was Jay-Z’s surprise special guest at Hot 97’s annual Summer Jam.