Michael Jackson is known the world over as the King of Pop, but what about his rivalry with the Heigh Priest of Darkness, The Purple One, His Royal Badness? Prince was a long-running opponent in the eyes of the Thriller hitmaker and their relationship is one of pop music’s greatest feud stories.
Jackson and Prince had established a rivalry by the mid-1980s, with both proving themselves superstars on the pop scene.
It was then that producer Quincy Jones endeavoured to form an unstoppable alliance by trying to get them to set aside their previous acrimony and team up for a song.
At first, he approached Prince with Jackson’s We Are the World, which was ultimately performed by supergroup USA for Africa in aid of charity.
But the Little Red Corvette singer wasn’t interested and spurned the offer to collaborate with the King of Pop.
Jones was reportedly undettered, clearly sensing how powerful a collaboration between the two stars could be.
Next, he came to Prince with the idea of them teaming up on Bad, appearing together in the music video too.
The video would feature a faux gang war with slick choreography to depict the narrative.
The proposal was, however, ill-fated, this time (allegedly) thanks to one particular lyrics.
Snipes, however, tells the story differently, claiming he simply beat Prince to the part in the iconic video.
“Me and Prince were auditioning together, and I blew Prince out of the water,” he told Conan O’Brien.
“Michael had told Prince that he had the role, and then he met me and kicked Prince to the curb. Imagine that.”
And so, Jackson’s feud with Prince raged on and, in 2006, appeared to still be in full swing.
That year, the latter was in he middle of his Las Vegas residency, along with guest artist will.i.am.
The Black Eyed Peas star invited MJ to be his guest at the show one night, a move Prince was aware of.
At one point in the concert, according to will.i.am, the star went up to Jackson and played bass “in his face”, “like aggressive slap bass”.
In an interview on The Graham Norton Show, will.i.am recalled how, the next day, Jackson had been fuming over Prince’s actions.
“Michael was outraged,” he said. “And then started going on. “‘Prince has always been a meanie. He’s just a big meanie.
“’He’s always been not nice to me. Everybody says Prince is this great legendary Renaissance man and I’m just a song-and-dance man, but I wrote “Billie Jean” and I wrote “We Are the World” and I’m a songwriter too.’”