Xscape, the once feared, then anticipated, and ultimately accepted new Michael Jackson album dropped earlier this month, the second posthumous LP release since Jackson’s death in 2009. As with much of MJ’s final studio album, Invincible, released in 2001, Xscape’s title track was produced by none other than modern dance-pop maestro Darkchild. The prime-time pop-and-lock resemblance between Invincible and Xscape could very well be due to Xscape’s abundance of material that was initially recorded during the Invincible sessions, when MJ’s signature cross-pollination of R&B and pop was the foundation for a new generation of FM radio kids.
Hip-hop’s biggest producers rarely struggle with self-promotion. But then, it’d be a tad misleading to describe Darkchild, a.k.a. Rodney Jerkins, as a hip-hop producer. He’s a beat-maker, sure, but even more so an American pop composer, having crafted and redrafted the sound of three generations of BET, MTV, and the Hot 100 over the last two decades.