Last week, Drake released his fifth studio album, Scorpion. Before doing so, he teased the world with the album’s tracklist on Instagram. Drake fans, myself included, were a bit perplexed about one special feature on the album: the late Michael Jackson. I will admit I was THRILLED that there would be a "collaboration" between two of my favorite artists, but I was confused—and more so, curious—as to how it could have possibly come about.
I suspected that Drake would sample one of the King of Pop's classic songs, maybe "Thriller" if we were lucky enough. Drake has continually shown off his impressive sampling skills, most recently with "Nice For What," which samples Lauryn Hill's hit "Ex-Factor." To my pleasant surprise, Drake did the world a service—one worth more than the million dollar budget for his "God’s Plan" music video—by debuting a never-before-heard Michael Jackson song, or at least the chorus of the unheard track. Drake's song "Don't Matter to Me" opens with Drake’s classic melancholic lyrics, then seamlessly transitions into a hook by Jackson.
According to Rolling Stone, Drake came across the unreleased vocals, received permission from Jackson’s estate to sample them, and then built a song around them. Despite the estate’s permission, not everyone in the Jackson family was happy with the decision to include the posthumous vocals. Jackson's nephew, Austin Brown, told TMZ, “I just feel like if [Michael] didn’t finish it, [Drake] shouldn’t use it.” Brown isn’t the only one to feel dissatisfied with the track. Some fans thought the inclusion of Jackson on the track was unnecessary, others claimed that the vocals seemed somewhat “fake,” and still more felt that the song was simply disappointing
I also sensed something odd about the vocals, but I chose to ascribe it to the fact that vocals from an unreleased song were probably a work in progress. Therefore, I have to side with the plethora of fans who feel that the song is an excellent testament to Michael Jackson and is just plain catchy. I even think that Jackson upstaged Drake on his own track, and I’m guessing Drake would agree considering he once referred to Jackson as “the greatest entertainer of all time.” On an album released only a few days after the ninth anniversary of his death, Michael Jackson continues to prove just that.