Today (June 25), marks officially nine years since the shocking and untimely passing of the greatest entertainer in popular music history, Michael Jackson.
Undisputedly the King of Pop, Jackson was a soul who through sound a movement changed the course of Black musical appeal ever since he was a little boy. As young as six years old, he was already a soaring entertainer as the lead singer of his own family music group, The Jackson 5. Together with Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon the burgeoning pop legend created a musical dynasty that was profound and highly impressionable all over the globe-all under the banner of Motown records. Jackson’s youthful innocence combined with his grandiose audible expression lead him to foreseen solitary fame.
Historic measures were manifested by Jackson once the ’80s hit. Thanks to his fifth solo debut of 1979, Off the Wall, a gem bombarded with an unapologetic funk that attracts the core of ones vibe-the man set the trigger to take the era by storm. Come 1982, his most renowned album to date Thriller busted an MJmania throughout the globe. The groundbreaking album spawned seven hit singles including the iconic “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Human Nature,” and “Thriller.” Jackson not only made history as a Black solo artist when he won eight Grammy awards from the gem. The 14-minute long horror prodigious music video to the title track single, “Thriller,” became the first visual by a Black artist to air on MTV. Such a broken barrier allowed black pop, rock, soul, and funk artists to gain shine on the mainstream television network.
With Hip-Hop’s coming in the ’80s as a solidified music genre, Jackson’s stance as a Black musical megastar was a force with the reach of Hip-Hop acts. Such was transparent, despite his controversial Bad era. Through lyrical references, sampling, and supreme relations the King of Pop has always borne honors in Hip-Hop culture. From Heavy D’s spits on his 1991 single “Jam,” to Nas’ prevailing sampling of “Human Nature,” alongside Yasiin Bey’s appearance in his short film Ghosts, to Jay-Z’s memorable Summer Jam invitation, it was evident that the artistic appreciation was mutual.
Jackson’s passing stopped the world on June 25, 2009. While the music legend was in keen preparation for his last declared tour This Is It, he suffered an episode of cardiac arrest due to acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. His death was one that showcased an avid account of universal grief, one that no entertainer’s death has ever managed to project. The influence of the greatest entertainer in the history of popular music can not be denied.