Still the King of Pop

Today’s music is a lot different from the sound of the 80’s and 90’s and there have been many claims to the throne as the new King of Pop. I’ve even heard that Justin Bieber is the self-proclaimed King of Pop. There is only one King of Pop and no one can ever dethrone Michael Jackson, so what stars of today’s generation have been influenced by his music, his videos and his choreography? Lets take a look at a few who have.

1992 Dangerous tour

Justin Timberlake

Justin and MJ

Following the release of JT’s new song, which has a real Michael sound to it, I felt it was best to discuss him first. Listen to any Justin Timberlake song or look at any of his videos, and it is clear that the singer has been heavily influenced by Michael Jackson.

He performed “Dancing Machine” with Michael at his 30th anniversary show in Madison Square Garden and Michael returned the favour performing “Dirty Pop” with N*Sync at the MTV music awards later that year.

Timberlake described the outpouring of emotion for Jackson from friends and fans a “testament to how big a deal it is, obviously, because he’s created so many cultural photos in people’s minds with his music that he was and always will be the king of pop.”

“He opened the minds of people about music. He opened the minds of people about culture. Even if it was this much in your conscious, he helped with segregation. His music did that and not a lot of people can say that. Michael was the baddest!”


Beyonce and MJ

Undoubtedly the Queen of Pop at the moment after her performance at the Superbowl, Beyoncé like JT performed “Bootylicious” with Destiny’s Child at the 30th anniversary concert. She has performed tributes to him, presented him with with the Diamond Award at the World Music Awards in 2006 and was recently pictured wearing one of his jackets. Her song “Love on Top” also has a real MJ sound to it, clearly influenced by him.

“When I was just starting out, my first producer used to make me listen to Michael Jackson’s live performance of “Who’s Loving You”. He would have me watch that for hours back to back to back.

What he wanted me to learn was his soul. You could hear his soul. And he was this little kid who hadn’t experienced love but he was a vessel. For whatever reason he could evoke more emotion than an adult. It was so raw and so pure. It was these little things that he did that were just swag. It’s something that’s God given.

Michael Jackson changed me, and helped me to become the artist I am – thank you Michael.”


Usher and MJ

Usher also performed at the 30th anniversary show singing “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” with Mya and Whitney Houston. He led the tributes at Michael’s funeral singing “Gone Too Soon” and sang “Earth Song” at the Grammy’s tribute in 2010.

“He influenced me in so many ways, more than just music … as a humanitarian, as a philanthropist, as an artist, as an individual who transcended culture. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Michael Jackson,”

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga recently bought 55 items including his white glove and several tour jackets belonging to Michael at an auction. She was also thinking of buying Neverland Ranch, however I believe it should be left alone and not open to the public as it would go against everything it stood for. Being invited was an honour and privilege.

Gaga would have opened for Jackson during his “This Is It” shows at London’s O2 arena. “I was actually asked to open for Michael on his tour,” Gaga said. “We were going to open for him at the O2 and we were working on making it happen…I believe there was some talk about us, lots of the openers, doing duets with Michael onstage.”

“Michael’s death was devastating for me, regardless of whether or not I was supposed to go on tour with him,” Gaga added. “He was such an inspiration and a remarkable human being.”

Kanye West 

Kanye West Bad 25

Kanye worked with his idol on the Thriller 25th anniversary album where they remade Billie Jean. Kanye was also rumoured to be working on a new album with Michael before his passing but their songs were never released.

He sampled his works in the “Good Life”and “Family Business” and has mentioned him in many of his songs including “All of the Lights”, “Through the Wire”, “Knock You Down” and “Gold Digger”. His music video/short film “Runaway” was inspired by Michael’s story telling in his feature length music videos.


Jay-Zand MJ

Like his other half, Jay-Z looked up to Michael as his inspiration for black musicians. In the above picture, after performing his Jackson 5 sampling hit “I Want You Back” for “H to the Izzo” during his Summer Jam in 2001 he said “I know Michael Jackson better come from behind that muthafuckin’ curtain.”

“Then he went backstage and returned with the King of Pop, sending a shockwave through the stadium. In front of an uproarious crowd, the duo struck a B-Boy pose as Jackson addressed the hip-hop heavy audience: “I love you all.

“He played a concert with me in New York, which was great. He got up and he walked out and the place went mental, guys were just grabbing their hats and throwing them like, “Aiiiiiiiiiieeeeee!”

“After that, he did a song called “You Rock My World”, and I did a remix with him. Then he was on my song “Girls, Girls, Girls”, singing these background vocals and I didn’t even put his name on it. I remember him calling me and him just talking about, you know, ‘syncopation’ and musician stuff like that. The Michael Jackson I knew was just a musician who loved music.”

Britney Spears

MJ and britney

The pop princess has always stated her inspiration to be Jackson. Her dance moves and videos reitarate this. She said she considered him the Artist of the Millenium in a birthday tribute on MTV VMAs in 2002. In 2001, Britney duetted with Jackson onstage at his 30th anniversary concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, performing “The Way You Make Me Feel” together.

She said of his loss: “I was so excited to see his show in London. We were going to be on tour in Europe at the same time and I was going to fly in to see him. He has been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I’m devastated he’s gone!”

Others who often declare his influence include – Justin Bieber, 50 cent, Slash, Rihanna, Snoop Dogg, Mya, Bruno Mars, Will.I.Am, Katy Perry, Ludacris, Mariah Carey, P. Diddy, Madonna, Ciara, Chris Brown, the Game and Ne-Yo.

Michael Jackson has inspired many with his music and it is clear that those so heavily influenced by him make up the world’s biggest superstars. They are all servants to the throne of the King of Pop.

Next week I will do the reverse and discuss the influences on his music and the tributes to artists his makes in his songs.


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