In a captivating segment from Showtime’s Thriller 40 documentary, will.i.am sheds light on Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking contribution to ad-libs in the background vocals of songs, a trend now ubiquitous in today’s Hip Hop music scene.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman showcases Michael Jackson’s mastery of ad-libs by playing the background vocals recorded for the iconic 1982 track “Beat It.”
In the documentary, will.i.am emphatically credits Michael Jackson as the trailblazer in incorporating ad-libs into music, a practice now widely adopted by contemporary Hip Hop artists.
Addressing the audience, will.i.am expresses, “For all the new school cats that are going on record and ad-libbing, I’m sorry. Michael did that first.” He goes on to discuss the intriguing aspect of Michael Jackson’s ad-libs, pointing out a moment where the King of Pop seemingly yawns during the recording.
According to will.i.am, this unconventional move exemplifies Jackson’s freedom and comfort in the studio, unconstrained by external judgments.
Will.i.am delves deeper into Michael Jackson’s ad-libbing style, highlighting the artist’s remarkable skills and imagination. He emphasizes the rhythmic complexity of Jackson’s ad-libs, showcasing beatboxing and various rhythmic elements that contributed to the unparalleled creativity found in his recordings.