Producer Teddy Riley — who worked with Michael Jackson in the 1990s and produced three songs on Michael — said today he has more songs “in my computer, waiting for [Jackson’s estate] to push the button.”
One of those is “Blue Gangsta,” which leaked recently and is probably the funkiest song Jackson’s been associated with in years. Riley described the song as “the next level of the next chapter of ‘Smooth Criminal.'”
Akon — who collaborated with Jackson on the album’s first single “Hold My Hand” — said that none of the material in his possession is in as finished a state as that track.
“There were a lot of songs we actually got to start up,” Akon told Billboard, “but the problem is we never really got a chance to finish them.” However, he said, “I think whatever he left behind, there’s ways we can make them sound really presentable to people and give them something to hold onto.”
Riley recently told Reuters about the amount of work that was required to make Jackson’s vocals releasable. “I had to do more processing to the voice, which is why people were asking about the authenticity of his voice. What we did was utilize the Melodyne [technology] to get him in key … which is the reason why some of the vibrato sounds a little off or processed, over-processed,” Riley said. He added that the perfectionist Jackson “would never consider it being a final vocal.”
Indeed, Akon said he was “shocked and surprised” by the Michael album because Jackson “wouldn’t want any of his songs to be released if they weren’t completely done.” That is the argument Jackson collaborator Will.i.am has cited when insisting that he will never release the unfinished MJ songs he worked on, adding that the Michael album “disgusts” him.
Akon, however, feels differently.
“The world knows that these songs are not completely finished,” he said. “It’s more of a situation where we can just take it and say, OK, this is something he left behind for us to enjoy. Even though it’s not completely done, it’s a great opportunity to hold on to something that could have been amazing.”