The King of Pop Inna Rub A Dub Stylee

The King may be gone but his legend lives on… and we don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone. While many in his own homeland took Michael Jackson’s staggering brilliance for granted, MJ gets maximum respect in the dancehall, where a big bumbaclaat tune is a big bumbaclaat tune, no matter how dem chat. So here comes a set of classical MJ selections in a different style and pattern. Strictly Boomshots.

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INTRO: Never Can Say…

1. Jr. Reid “Earth Song” (live)

Mr. “One Blood” takes Michael’s sobering 1995 anthem on a bad boy circle through Brooklyn, Bronx, and Harlem where “the youth dem skull a bore.”

2. Derrick Lara & Trinity “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”

Joe Gibbs and the Professionals lay down a reggaematic disco groove as DL, Jamaica’s soul falsetto master, channels Off The Wall era MJ. “Hey Mike, where you goin’ my man?” toasts Trinity to top off a record that blew up in NYC clubs like Danceteria during the late 1970s (Big up Jah Fish).

3. Yellowman & Peter Metro “The Girl Is Mine”

Two heavyweight DJs battle relentlessly for the affections of a certain young lady over a dubbed-out drum and bass line punctuated by a crazy horn figure. “The goddamn girl is mine,” says Yellow, stating his case more bluntly than in Sir Paul McCartney’s original vocal.

4. Tarrus Riley “Human Nature”

Even before he busted out as a big star, Tarrus Riley rarely sang cover versions. When he does (John Legend’s “Stay With You,” Sting’s “King of Pain”) he chooses them well and does them justice. Here he brings a warm and easy vibe to MJ’s pop masterpiece, and really lets go on that dreamy bridge. New Tarrus album in stores this summer… get excited!

5. Shinehead “Billie Jean”

One of the most complex characters in reggae covers one of the most complex characters in R&B. Shinehead’s falsetto vocals are just a bit over the top, but they mesh perfectly with his chilling Ennio Morricone whistle and that dramatically mixed-down Tubby’s riddim to create a moment of sheer dancehall magic.

6. Little Kirk “Man In The Mirror”

Beenie Man’s older brother was singing long before Moses Davis started getting his videos played on BET. He mashed up Sting 88 by whipping out a gold-framed mirror and launching into this faithful rendition of Michael’s pre-Obama declaration to “be the change you want to see in the world.”

7. Wayne Wonder & Buju Banton “Heal The World”

Like Michael, Wayne Wonder has the sort of soaring voice that can make the most banal, naive cliches sound heartfelt and even a little moving. But when he turns his talents to MJ’s Earth Day classic—with an assist from Buju the Banton roaring at maximum power—he makes the world a better place in more ways than one.

8. Ghost “Do You Remember”

Carlton Hilton a.k.a. Ghost is Michael Jackson’s biggest fan from the hot streets of Matches Lane in Kingston JA. Here the Singing Duppy drops crazy vocal runs all over a skeletal Bogle beat as if it were a Teddy Riley new jack symphony.

OUTRO: Enjoy yourself, get down get down

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