Earlier in 2014, pop star Justin Bieber was featured on a leaked track that would eventually turn up on Xscape, the second posthumous album by Michael Jackson. The song, Slave 2 The Rhythm, does appear on the album in two forms, but neither version includes the vocals of Bieber. Fans wondered what happened to the collaboration. L.A. Reid, the CEO of Epic Records and the man behind the recording of Xscape, said that a Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson duet will be coming soon, but it might not be the song that leaked prior to the release of the album.
Reid has quite the connection with Bieber; he initially signed the young star with Island Records back in 2009. “I signed him, so I feel a loyalty,” he said to Access Hollywood. “That’s my relationship with him.” Reid also gave a nod to the leaked version of Slave To The Rhythm, explaining that the unauthorized release of the track changed the direction he planned to go in. “If it hadn’t been leaked,” he revealed, “it would have been featured. But it sort of took the wrong turn.”
Xscape, released last week, has been doing phenomenally well. Industry insiders claim that the album could hit the number one position on the Billboard Top 200 album chart this week. Sales of the album were projected to be around 150,000 to 155,000 copies. However, with the fanfare the album has received, the amount has grown quite significantly. The first posthumous release from Jackson, 2010’s Michael, was marred with heavy controversy and fell flat with critics. It debuted at number 3 on Billboard, but sold around 228,000 copies in its first week. Since the release, it has sold around 541,000 copies overall.
An upcoming Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson duet could do wonders in bringing the 20-year-old singer back to prominence on the music charts. His last major radio hit, Beauty and a Beat with rapper Nicki Minaj, hit number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 2012. His last album release, the compilation Journals, did not fare well. Singles from Journals barely cracked the top 50 charts here in America.
Reid did not release any specific details regarding the collaboration with Bieber and Jackson. When asked whether or not there would be a revamped version of Slave To The Rhythm that turned up on a future Jackson release, he continued to play coy. “[The song] didn’t include him per my direction,” Reid told Access Hollywood. “We’re going to revisit it and do something really special.”
Xscape is also flourishing in part to the popularity of first single from the album. Featuring another famous singer named Justin, the song, Love Never Felt So Good, with Justin Timberlake, debuted at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart last week. The video for the song, also released last week, features Timberlake grooving along to the song with shots from past music videos of Jackson. Fans also take part, recreating many moments, from Billie Jean to Smooth Criminal. The Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber duet may be coming soon, but the video of the Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake collaboration can be seen below.
By Jonathan Brown