Music — 25 June 2009


michael-jackson-thrillerBy Planet Ill

I’m sure you’re going to be subjected to dozens of playlists and forced stuff trying to do justice to the legacy of the greatest  entertainer of all time. We at Planet Ill find that a bit disingenuous and so we have taken to solicitations from writers of all walks of life to submit their best memory of Michael Jackson.  We hope that you would chime in in your comments and share your actual memories of how Mike  influenced your life.


Motown 25 was coming on that night and I begged my moms to let me stay up until Mike performed. He was going to be last and that was way past my bedtime, but I wasn’t taking no for an answer. I put on my “Beat It” jacket and some random glove and pled my case. She couldn’t stop laughing long enough to say yes, but I knew it was on. Too excited to be sleepy, too amped up to sit down… Then it happened. Mike took the stage. He and his brothers did their thing and then Mike was alone. The bassline. The pelvic thrust. Billie Jean! I think I almost passed out. Jumping up and down screaming for three minutes, hyperventilating between moonwalks. I don’t think I heard a second of his performance, but that didn’t matter. I knew I had witnessed something historic, something I would remember for the rest of my life. And I went to sleep a happier kid. –Shelby Powell (Planet Ill, AllHipHop, Hoodgrown, XXL,Yo! Raps, Plugone)

Man I remember as a kid sitting watching his videos. Everybody wanted to be able to do the moonwalk. “I Wanna Rock With You” and that glitter suit in front of the laser?? What?? I even remember when MC Hammer wanted to challenge him to a dance contest. Back when Hammer was on top of course. But come on… Mike would have killed Hammer with a case of H1N1, no doubt. Oh, oh, oh… check it… What other artist do you know (past or present) that could shut down a whole network for 7 minutes just because he had a “World Premiere” video. I remember sitting and waiting on videos like “Rememeber The Time”, “Black Or White”, “Smooth Criminal”… like my kids waited on Transformers to come out. Damn Mike, you will be missed! R.I.P. Brotha!-B.C. Meekins(Author, Promises)

Michael Jackson? Gone? It’s hard to believe, took me a minute to process. Like the aftermath of a bad dream, you wonder if it’s real, will yourself to shake it off, but it happened and it sticks with you.

A discography of Michael Jackson is not necessary, just about everyone has heard his music. We’ve all at one time or another rocked with him. What we should share are memories, all the good feelings he brought out of us with his music. I remember my first Michael Jackson album (yes young ones, vinyl, old school, way before CD’S, iPods and free downloads) I played it incessantly! To this day the sight of the album (uh CD) cover with the dark pants, glitter socks and brick wall back drop makes me nostalgic, I had every song on that album memorized. I got on the floor and burnt my own disco out daily.

Michael Jackson is added to the list of greats we’ve lost in recent years. Luther, Gerald, although great artists who commanded their genre, their passing didn’t induce my swell of tears like Michael. I didn’t grow up with them as I did MJ, I came in on the ground floor of Michael Jackson solo artist and watched as his stardom grew and he became a beacon of pop culture. He had an unmistakable voice, distinct sound and his fan base may very well be unprecedented. Even now as many other once popular artists have fallen by the wayside and elicit little attention, Micheal Jackson remains in heavy rotation with both long time followers and newcomers (my eight year old is a fan).

It may seem “Off The Wall” to generate such emotion for someone I’ve never met. If I know Michael Jackson fans there arent many dry eyes left on this day. My condolences go out to his family. Thank you Jacksons for sharing with us a great musical talent.

Did you know the twinkles we see in the night sky are actually residual light from stars that died long ago? My fellow Jackson fans, let’s take comfort in this; Michael Jackson the star may be gone but his light will continue to shine. God Bless.-G.I.N.A (Planet Ill)

You know, there was a time when I thought I was going to marry Michael Jackson. No seriously, I was convinced. I think I was like three years old when Thriller came out, and I saw Michael glide across the stage in his shiny white socks and black shoes and it was game over. I loved him. I had my grandpa sending me postcards of MJ, the Pepsi tour autographed Pepsi cans, “Beat It” red leather jackets, “Thriller” red leather jackets, Michael Jackson dolls, single gloves. You name it; I had it. Despite all of his flaws throughout his career, I quietly championed for the King of Pop. Maybe we didn’t blast his music every hour on the hour these days, but ask anyone who the greatest entertainer is and the answer remains the same. Losing anyone is tough; losing someone who touched the world is momentous. R.I.P. Michael Jackson – Kathy Iandoli (AllHipHop, HipHopDX, The Source, and any place you think is good)

I don’t remember a thing from the Motown 25 special except for Michael Jackson performing “Billie Jean.” For weeks and months after every little kid and wannabe B-Boy in my Bronx hood was imitating all of MJ’s moves.-Alvin “Aqua” Blanco (Every Legitimate Hip-Hop publication you can think of)

MJ was the biggest everything. He was the biggest child star. He was a part of one of the biggest groups in history. He was the biggest start of the 80s. The biggest star of the 90s. He created the biggest selling album.His career created a vacuum in time that I don’t think can ever be matched again.

No LeBron, Jay-Z, Britney,Shia Labeouf or Kanye West can even come close to the feats MJ conquered.I remember when I was a kid seeing my big brothers and cousin stay up for the premiere of Thriller. They were crazy excited. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it at the time. But then I got to have my own moment nearly ten years later. Mike premiered the video for Black and White on national TV! We all waited for The Simpsons to end and the video to begin.

Think about that. Obama gets called out when he tries to do evening press conferences. Yet here we all were mesmerized by the moment. On Fox. That’s incredible. He commanded that much excitement with his career. In rap we talk about the Goat and argue and debate, but when it comes to music, MJ was truly the King of Pop. It’s a royal loss we all suffered today.- Jayson “Jayrod” Rodriguez (MTV, XXL, AllHipHop, Vibe Magazine, The Source)

Listening to Michael with my moms and grandmother. Would always have us dancing, especially the Jackson 5 songs. Ralph Jones- Blogger/Survivor

The world is going through so much turmoil at the moment: protests and murders in Iran, North Korea threatening to wipe out the US, the constant battle in the fight between AIDS, Cancer and all the other ills of the world, yet Michael Jackson one last time has put everything else on pause and brought us all to attention.

One of myoldest memories of Michael, was watching my mom singing every word of “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” while attempting to do the moon walk. Til this day that song is in my top favorite list of MJ albums.

Myprayers go out to his family and most importantly his children. And I truly hope the media and all other negative entities allow his life to be celebrated in a positive way…travel light Michael-(Felicia J. Barclay,,,,

I was introduced to Michael Jackson and his music via the 1983 NBC television special “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever”.  I was six years old at the time.  Michael’s performance of “Billie Jean” captured the imagination of my entire generation.  That performance shaped the way we looked at live musical performance.  Once you saw it, you were awe struck.  Nothing and no one that came after it could ever measure up.  It became the standard by which all such performances were judged.

It’s important to note how bare bones the performance was.  No band was visible onstage.  There where No backup dancers.  No props, pyrotechnics or special effects save for Michael and his fluid dance moves.  Michael glided across the stage with grace and ease.  He seemed almost weightless.  I still remember the roar of the crowd when he performed the Moonwalk for the first time.  The execution of the move was flawless.  It was so amazing that rumors surfaced about the use of camera tricks and mirrors.

That’s what makes Michael Jackson arguably the single greatest live performer in the history of pop music.  He moves seemed to defy reality itself.  He was a living, breathing special effect.  Even when he performed in the midst of elaborate stage shows, he remained the focus.  He was that incredible.

Today, we lost someone who was otherworldly.  Michael Jackson wasn’t just a celebrity or an Icon.  He was a force of nature, the living embodiment of entertainment.  We will never see his like again.

-Malice Intended (Pop Culture Critic-Planet Ill, AllHipHop)

I know this may sound like a cliché, but Michael Jackson was like that friend that’s always around when you needed him. Whether you’re at a party and “Off the Wall” came on or you just broke up with someone and “She’s out of my life” came on the radio, it was as if he was talking to you.

He brought people together from all backgrounds and was the inspiration for so many of today’s artist. In the same way James Brown paved the way for Michael Jackson, he paved the way for the Justin Timberlakes, Ushers, and Ne-Yos of the world. His music touched us in so many ways. He made you laugh and he made you cry. He made you think about what was going on in the world and he made you say, ”F*ck it!!! To hell with the world’s problems, I’m partying tonight.”

Not only was he “that dude”, he was “the dude” and there will never be another Michael Jackson. NEVER!!!!

R.I.P. Michael Jackson, ALL HAIL THE KING OF POP!!!!

Rahsaan Hunt a.k.a. Hot Rod! The Rowdy One (AllHipHop Sports Columnist, Out of Bounds)


I don’t even know where to start on my favorite memory of michael jackson was because there are so many different moments that were critical to the making of who I am today. If I had to pick one it would most likely be winning the talent show dressed in full michael gear white glove penny loafers, white socks doing a baton routine to Billy Jean-Mel Mason

As most of his fans are, at this hour I am still in shock at Michael Jackson’s untimely death. I’m never one to react personally to the passing of celebrities, and it wasn’t until I was asked to write this article that I thought about how personally The Gloved One touched my life. How can I possibly narrow down my fondest memory of this great performer and musician, the icon who essentially defined Pop Stardom in the 80s, the first video star, the creator of SO MUCH great music? How can I possibly when there are so many to choose from? There’s that Betamax tape of An American Werewolf in London that I ran to death in ’87 because it featured the “Thriller” video and a special on how it was made. There are the countless nights that I rushed to finish my homework immediately after school so there would be NO WAY for me to miss Michael’s latest video premier. Or even my most recent memory: introducing my little cousin to his videos last summer and laughing at how absurd the “Thriller” choreography looks today… we still got up and did it though. But honestly, defining my fondest memory of Michael Jackson is much easier than one would expect.

For my eighth or ninth birthday, my mother took me, my cousin and my three BFFs to see Michael’s Moonwalker in Haiti. I was already excited because I think my birthday should be an international holiday, and even more so because I was a HUGE fan (see previous reference to the BETA tape I killed). But when “Smooth Criminal” came on, I felt like Michael Jackson had personally reached into my life and elevated me to celebrity status. See, a lot of people don’t know that my first name is Anne-Laure, and as such I’ve been Annie to my family forever. So for us to go from all the excitement that the short-film offered, to the song itself with the hook “Annie are you ok?” I felt like a queen! So much better than my only previous pop culture namesake – think red hair and freckles. Of course we spent the whole rest of that school year trying to figure out how to do that lean-forward-without-falling move… Had as much luck with that as I did with moonwalking.

So tonight, as we celebrate a man who’s musical legacy and influence on pop culture can NEVER be questioned, I want to say thank you to Michael Joseph Jackson for “I’ll Be There,” “Human Nature,” “Rock With You,” “PYT” (I think that was the name of our middle school crew) and all the other timeless hits he gave us. But most of all, I’d like to thank him for making me a fifth grade superstar!

Tai Saint-Louis (AllHipHop, and

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. MJ is without a doubt the king. Every time i listen to his records i feel like he is still alive. For sure one of the best pop music superstars ever!

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