Swizz Beatz Passed on a Michael Jackson Collaboration Because of "Brand Identity"

"I just didn’t know what I could do for him at that particular time.”

Hindsight is painful. Just ask legendary producer Swizz Beatz, who recently sat down with ItsTheReal to tell them the story of his passing on what could have been a legendary Michael Jackson collaboration.

“I just felt like it was too crossed-over for me even though I was producing rock and scoring movies and things like that,” Swizz explained. “I wanted my brand identity to be with what my family started… Me producing Michael Jackson, I thought it was big but I just didn’t know what I could do for him at that particular time.”

Working with Michael Jackson didn’t seem sonically tenable to the name he was cultivating for himself? Hmmmm.



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In 2018, the thought of a producer passing up the opportunity to work with the likes of a megastar like Michael Jackson sounds damn near fictitious, but there is some valuable advice within Swizz’s initial passing and the sting of what could have been.

That is, always act with your brand in mind, because your brand is what tethers you to loyal fans, but think twice before putting your brand ahead of once-in-a-lifetime-changing opportunities. There’s always room to step outside of yourself in music. 

Swizz went on to reveal that just before Jackson’s passing in 2009, the duo had some potential music in the works. But, as life would have it, there was no next time for them to connect on a track. 


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