Unlike his purple-and-paisley-clad generational rival, Michael Jackson did not see hip-hop (or any genre) as adversarial to his reign. Perhaps the sheer length of his career imbued him with this power: an uncanny ability to morph and transform (to) the parlance of popular music, regardless of era.
Every bit as ubiquitous as the adjacent discipline, Jackson’s not just a pillar of hip-hop via three decades of sampling. He is in many cases what it has strived for all along. A tradition of excellence capable of absorbing its every challenger, shifting and contorting itself before you have the opportunity to ever really understand what it is exactly. And once you’re sure of it, on to the next thing.
In celebration of Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday, we’re raising a flag for the incomparable King of Pop, introducing a new installment of our playlist series, In Hip-Hop and Beyond, in his honor. Hear flips of MJ classics spanning his entire career (with and without The Jacksons) from De La Soul, J Dilla, Kanye West, Q-Tip, Flying Lotus, and so many more, below. ‘
Hit the link to subscribe to Okayplayer’s Spotify channel for myriad meditations on the impact of icons and unheralded legends alike.
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