Will.I.Am Criticizes Posthumous Michael Jackson Album as “Disrespectful,” Akon Begs to Differ

    If there are two concepts that come to mind when Will.I.Am’s name is mentioned, they are probably not respect and integrity, and it is highly unlikely that Will.I.Am will be unanimously voted the leader of any movement against shameless profiteering and commercial exploitation. And yet Will.I.Am seems unusually and uncharacteristically not-off-the-mark when he criticizes Epic parent company Sony for releasing Michael, the already controversial posthumous release from Michael Jackson, as he did in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. Yes, the man who has brought you many terrible and countless wrong things kind of has a point when he talks about the raiding of Jackson’s – and by extension, pretty much every other dead music maker’s – unreleased stockpiles of songs.


    “Whoever put it out and is profiting off of it, I want to see how cold they are to say that what [Michael] contributed during his life wasn’t enough,” said Will.I.Am. “He just wasn’t any ordinary artist. He was a hands-on person. To me it’s disrespectful. There’s no honoring.”


    You might recall that Will.I.Am worked with Jackson in 2006 on songs that would’ve been included on the late singer’s next album. But since those songs were never approved by Jackson, Will.I.Am says they won’t be released.


    “Michael Jackson songs are finished when Michael says they’re finished. Maybe if I never worked with him I wouldn’t have this perspective. He was very particular about how he wanted his vocals, the reverb he used…he was that hands-on.”


    In other news, Akon disagrees, and gave TMZ the following statement, which some might call “succinct” and still others might label “nonchalantly lacking in any apparent empathy”:


    “I don’t see anything disrespectful about it … these albums would have come out if [Michael Jackson] was alive or dead so I think this helps to keep his legacy alive,” he told TMZ. “[I] honestly disagree.”


    Michael is due out December 14, and this is not the last bit of back-on-forth on this issue we will hear before then. [EW, The Boombox]