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Michael Jackson Turned Down Tupac Shakur Collab Over Biggie

LEGENDS & ICONS OF HIP HOP - Post By Kevin Douglas

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The last official album that was released just before the passing of the iconic Tupac Shakur was The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. It was released  just two months after his September 1996 murder and the music video to lead it was very eerily reflecting the incident with “I Aint Mad at ya.”

Makaveli as it would be released under, had Tupac take a different approach compared to the previous All Eyez On Me that had a line up of collaborations that included the likes of Snoop, Method Man, and even a lost verse with Inspectah Deck. Instead of Daz and Dr. Dre leading the production charge,  production came from lesser-known names from Death Row’s “wack room” at Can-Am Studios.

There is one person, if agreed to the collaboration, would have blown away all the other collabs Tupac ever did in terms of star power. The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory remains one of 2Pac’s biggest albums. The project debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after selling over 660,000 copies in its first-week and has since been certified quadruple platinum.

In 1995, The Notorious B.I.G. appeared on Michael Jackson’s “This Time Around.” The song, co-produced by Dallas Austin, landed on HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. A year later, Tupac Shakur’s camp reached out to Michael Jackson for a collaboration. The “King Of Pop” did not want anything to do with Shakur due to his rivalry with Biggie Smalls.

In BET’s oral history of The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Quincy “QD3” Jones III — the son of the legendary Quincy Jones and producer of “To Live & Die in L.A.” — revealed  “Thug Nature,” was originally intended for the album.

“So I set up a meeting at Neverland [Ranch],” said QD3, who worked with director Allen Hughes on the upcoming FX docuseries Dear Mama, which examines ‘Pac’s relationship with his Black Panther mother Afeni. “I go up there and told Michael about it. And do you know what Micheal said? He liked Biggie.”

“Thug Nature,” which samples Jackson’s 1983 Thriller hit “Human Nature,” didn’t end up making the album. It eventually wound up on the 2000 Death Row compilation Too Gangsta For Radio, as well as various posthumous 2Pac projects.

QD3, who also produced All Eyez On Me‘s “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find,” delved deeper into his experience working with Tupac Shakur during his chat with BET.

“‘Pac would take all my beats including the ones I would never play for people,” he said. “I learned a lesson that you gotta be spontaneous more and he taught me how to just think and just do it. ‘Pac would get irritated when you sat there and fiddled with sounds almost like you were disrespecting his time a little bit.”

He added, “I would say he was manic. There would be moments that called for quiet voice and candles and all that and he would be screaming and smoking Newports. He was on fire with this manic push. He was always pushing. You could tell he wasn’t comfortable in some way and there was something that was making him uncomfortable.”

For”History: Past, Present, and Future” Book 1, Michael Jackson wanted a rapper to be featured on “This Time Around.”  Dallas Austin helped MJ achieve this and revealed to Vladtv how it came about. “So, after we finish, we was working on the song, he goes, ‘Man, I really want a rapper. I need a rapper on the song,’” Austin once told DJ Vlad. “So I was like, ‘Maybe you want Treach, from Naughty by Nature.’ He goes, ‘No, no, I need somebody hard or something.’ I said, ‘You want to play Notorious BIG? B.I.G?’ ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, what about him?’”