Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am criticizes Sony for releasing new Michael Jackson album: 'It's disrespectful'

Will-i-am-michael-jacksonImage Credit: John M. Heller/Getty Image; Kevin Mazur/AEG via Getty ImagesWhile the Net is buzzing about Michael Jackson’s posthumous Michael album hitting stores next month, one of the King of Pop’s biggest fans, producer and Black Eyed Peas front man Will.i.am, hasn’t even heard the much-talked-about new song “Breaking News.” He’s not really interested in it, either. “Whoever put it out and is profiting off of it, I want to see how cold they are,” he says, “to say that what [Michael] contributed during his life wasn’t enough. He just wasn’t any ordinary artist. He was a hands-on person. To me it’s disrespectful. There’s no honoring.”

The producer collaborated with Jackson in 2006 on what would have been Jackson’s comeback album, following 2001’s Invincible. He can’t understand how Sony, Epic’s parent company, could release fragmentary works from a man who was so meticulous. “Michael Jackson songs are finished when Michael says they’re finished,” Will says. “Maybe if I never worked with him I wouldn’t have this perspective. He was very particular about how he wanted his vocals, the reverb he used…he was that hands-on.”

Earlier this year, Will talked to Access Hollywood about some of the songs he recorded with Michael, mentioning “Dreaming,” “Still the King,” and a James Brown tribute called “I Will Miss You.” But he still maintains that none of them will ever be released, because Jackson didn’t give them a final okay. “He kept his vocals and I kept the music,” he says. “We had that understanding.”

What do you think of Will’s thoughts? Is Sony right to release Michael’s music without his blessing?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Michael Jackson: New single, tracklist revealed
Michael Jackson controversy: Estate attorney cites proof he sang “Breaking News”

Comments (114 total) Add your comment
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  • DogBoy

    A refreshing take/opinion on NOT milking artists who have passed away. No doubt his opinion will mean nothing, and will be honored with a new release from Tupac.

    • Bob

      Yes. Will has spoken. NO ONE MAY HEAR THIS MUSIC. Lock it away forever. Burn the masters. Destroy the last remnants of artistry of MJ. Will.i.am.an.idiot has spoken. Obey!

      • paradais2

        I think Will.i.am is making a valid and ethical comment and he needs to be respected for that, as does his comment. His view comes from a desire to protect Michael’s reputation as Michael would have wanted it. That gets my vote and he doesn’t deserve to be called an idiot for that. Have some respect for people who stand nothing to gain but the protection of Michael’s own wishes. Thank you Will.i.am. I agree that Michael was a perfectionist. This is a hard call, but I definitely see where you are coming from.

      • Neo

        I understand, Bob that you want to hear anything MJ does and so do I. But Will has a valid point and he’s work with MJ and knows him and everyone knows that MJ was a perfectionist. Paradais2, has said it best and I say “ditto.”

    • heidi

      so long as the money goes to his children, I don’t mind. I understand the point Will.I.am is making but I think he’s taking it a bit far.

      • paradais2

        A bit far? What do you mean? You either release Michael’s unreleased music or you don’t? There really isn’t any middle ground that I can see. Support Will.i.am’s view and admire his integrity.

    • Blue Silver

      It isn’t the 1st time a record company releases a posthumous cd of a recently departed artist. Will sounds like a sour puss. I’m sure he had nothing to do with it and therefore, will gain nothing from it. I’m just waiting for Wyclef Jean to chime in with his two cents,….even Kanye dropping the “Racism” term to describe the big picture……and then Jamie Foxx griping and declaring, “this black man…not white man” crap!!!!

      • Rich

        I think it’s disrespectful to my ears that will.i.am keeps releasing Black Eyed Peas albums.

      • wakeforce

        How dare a black man ever mentions race in 2010. The only people allowed to speak on it these days are white folks. They are the only true victims here! (LOL!)

      • danw

        try staying on point to what is said in the article.

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      • Marcos

        yeah…keep dreaming bozo! have u no respect for this thread man? go get an inflatable doll or something!

  • sally

    Your right but that Tupac comment made me LOL.

  • bruno

    will’s right. totally disrespectful profiteering.

  • FromChicago

    He’s right artistically, but the man is dead. What do you expect? People are digging through bushes now trying to find whatever remnants of MJ’s music they can to make a $$.

  • Lee

    So Many Will Do and Say Anything, Just to Cash in, Trying To Get That Almighty Dollar,

  • Tye-Grr

    That’s the smartest and most sincere thing will.i.am has ever said. First time I agree with him on something.

  • Tom

    I know what he means but ultimately MJ’s kids will benefit – and I think for that reason MJ would be ok with it

    • Anna

      His share of the Sony/ATV catalog is enough to provide for his children and then his children’s children. That is not a valid reason to approve of the release.

      • Marie Paul

        What about the portion of proceeds that go to charity ?

  • Tario Mills

    Well US fans want new music to love, he will get more fans this should be the last album of his, Janet should work on this album her and Mj were very much alike she would make it better. Will.I.am you better get use to this he got 6 more albums get use to this he shouldn’t be on any albums he hasn’t had a 1 hit yet Michael should of workded with Lil wayne he would of had more hits.

    • Shawn

      I can’t understand you.

    • Aston

      No one should work with Michael’s music after his death. He wouldn’t have wanted it, and no one can copy him. Just listen to Breaking news – it’s flat and one-dimensional. We have enough authentic Michael music.

      • Rhea

        No one should,because NO ONE CAN! Yes,if Breaking News is any indication, what they are dishing out now isn’t even as good as a demo. It’s a pinch of Michael with a bucket of confetti spangled water thrown over it. I can’t understand how anyone would get a smidge of joy from this stuff..so completely ill conceived (sorry, Teddy). And, thanks $ONY, for making it easy to not want to buy it..it’s perfectly clear that Michael has ‘left the building’. The veracity of will.i.am’s stance is evident to me.

      • Michael

        I agree. I heard that song and it really was terrible. Michael would’ve never wanted the song out unless it was through his approval. Michael Jackson was tortured, but a extreme perfectionist about his music.

    • Joshia

      Hey PLEASE throw us a period, a comma or something. Your post is impossible to read.

  • Kelly D. Williams

    It shows that once again corporations profiting off of someone else’s misfortune.

    • Michael

      you’re not really kelly d williams so why are you using his name or pretending to be him?

  • Heather

    I completely agree! Michael ,literally worked nearly his entire 50 years of life, so we have PLENTY of music to satisfy our MJ fix. They should not release any album that he has not approved.

  • Bob

    This, coming from a record industry slut who promotes ANY product inside his videos.

    Yeah, he’s a bastion of integrity.

  • occhionero

    Isnt this the same guy who made some horrible remixes on the Thriller 25th anniversary. Or who took and remade a bob dylan song for a soda. Or who had a song that had a chorus of “let’s get retarded.” I could keep going. no one cares what Will.i.am not relevant thinks

    • Anna

      Funny you should bring up the pepsi commercial because MJ also had a couple back in the day. Plus we have copyright laws in this country, so Bob Dylan had to give his approval for that ad. If Bob Dylan and Michael Jackson could do commericals, why can’t will.i.am? Also, learn to speak for yourself because just reading at the comments here, you sound like a moron for saying no one thinks he is relevant.

      • Bob

        Actually, Anna, you missed their point. Will.i.am is saying that the people who legally own the rights to the content cannot use it because it’s crass and commercial. Occinero simply pointed out that Will.i.am has done many crass and commercial things with OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC. So he’s a hypocrite.

      • Anna

        @Bob
        “Will.i.am is saying that the people who legally own the rights to the content cannot use it because it’s crass and commercial.”
        Way to distort his point. It is very disingenuous to leave off the part that show he is specifically referring to MJ and his person experience with him.

        He has done commerical things with other people’s music, but they gave their approval. It was their decision to have their music used. His complaint here is that MJ didn’t approve of this. That does not make him a hypocrite. MJ was a notorious perfectionist and this does not seem like something he would have approve of. The estate may have the rights, but it was MJ that did the work, and it’s his legacy. Bob Dylan and MJ were part of the creative force behind their music, so if they approve of it being commericalized, fine. but it is not the same as some suit doing something contrary to the artists style. Agree or not, it is a valid arguement.

      • Mike

        Michael Jackson did use a bunch of the Beatles’ songs for commercial use. In a way that’s disrespectful and it goes along the lines of money over art.

        But I love MJ. I’m thinking of the new stuff as deleted scenes from a great epic movie that fans get to see into. Finished or not, MJ’s legacy has already been stamped in place.

  • Kent

    Get off your high horse “Will i Wish”. MJ would very much approve, especially since it helps clear his debt and ultimately benefits his family. Actually, MJ would have preferred finishing the songs himself !!

    BTW ” Will i Wish ” have you ever sampled a song from a dead artist? I think you have, so what’s the difference ?

    • Bob

      The difference is that Will.i.am thinks he is clean and pure and Christlike. He’s the Bono of hip-hop!

      • Tracy Murray

        I don’t see any Christ like behavior in either Will.I.am or Bono , they ‘re just two guys just expressing opinions on certain political / social issues they know they can’t possibly fix , even if they had meetings with world leaders .

      • Bob

        Oh they aren’t really Christ-like… they just WISH they were Christ.

    • Shawn

      I’m glad Kent can assure us all that “MJ would very much approve”. Will.I.Am claims he and MJ knew each other, but I know Kent has the real skinny on the matter.

    • Zakry

      There is no debt. The Jackson estate has surprised the Presley estate in terms of posthumous profits. Sad that Michael made more dead than alive, but there it is.

  • Jusin

    Well, I find it disrespectful that the Black Eyed Peas covered The Time of My Life.

    • Everyone

      I find it disrespectful to know I will be hearing I’ve Got A Feeling at every wedding for the next 10 years.

  • Tracy Murray

    As much as I love Michael Jackson’s music , I would much prefer to to listen to the official finished product approved by him , and him only . If , however , Michael did finish the recordings just before his death , then maybe I will buy it , after I get some reassurance that the album was being released by people who don’t care about the money and only care about the fans .

    • psychoanalyzer

      As much as I love MJ’s music and want toagree with you, it’s just not going to happen. The album has songs on there that weren’t completed before his death, like the very first single Breaking news. And the people who are releasing his music don’t care about fans, sorry, they care about music. You don’t spend time and take care putting together an album buy the artist with the greatest selling album of all time less than 2 years after his death and 2 weeks before Christmas if you don’t care about money.

      • psychoanalyzer

        woops I meant the people releasing his “new” music only care about money. Please, they def don’t care about music.

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