Man or The Music

As someone that loves music and grew up a big fan of Michael Jackson (around the time of Thriller, I had an all MJ party including the cake, the record and the poster of him in the yellow sweater), the posts on this blog were completely void of any tribute or commentary on his death, music and legacy.

What's interesting to me is that I thought long and hard about actually posting something numerous times. However, there was always something that felt hypocritical about waxing poetically about him now just because is was no longer among us. The fact of the matter is, I was a big critic of MJ over the last 15 years. The molestation trials took me to a place where I could no longer support the guy. The first trial was crazy, but the second trial was a step too many down the path of the dark side for me because it established a pattern. Of course, he was acquitted both times, but something about putting yourself in such a vulnerable and controversial position time and time again showed a lack of common sense and, perhaps, an air of being above the law just didn't sit well with me. Add to that the outright bizarreness that MJ embodied over the years, and I think it's safe to that I wasn't the only one that felt this way.

However, despite my lack of understanding and appreciation for what the man had become as a person (and spectacle), there was one thing I never lost faith or respect in- his music. MJ's passing was shocking, but it wasn't as impactful on me as it was on others. I had long since separated the man from his music, so his untimely death (depending on what you believe) served as a reminder and awakening for me to the genius that was MJ. Off the Wall stays in a pretty constant rotation on my iPod, but as tribute after tribute was released in mixtape form and played on the radio and in clubs and lounges, I was shocked by how deep his catalog went. There were so many joints that I had forgotten, it was almost like I was hearing them for the first time. And in reality I was embarrassed to feeling that way, yet calling myself a "big fan."

Now a year and some change after his death, I've been able to better process his life and legacy. There will always be a part of me that frowns when I think about some of the things that happened in his life, but ultimately, I try to put them into the context of the larger picture that was MJ. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. But to allow myself to reduce his memory to only the negative means I completely ignoring all of the good he did- and continues to do- in this world. So if I had to choose, I'd take the music, but I realize the man is the genius behind it.

To commemorate the man and his music, world renown DJ, J-Period, teamed up with Spike Lee to re-create a musical documentary in tribute to arguably the most talented artists to have ever lived as a part of the second annual "Brooklyn Loves MJ" festival that took place yesterday. Man or The Music is an updated version of J. Period's tribute mixtape that was released last year. It mixes, "classic hits with rare demo versions, remixes, and behind-the-scenes interview clips... [that] reminds us why—regardless of what you may think of the man—the power and appeal of his music are undeniable." According to J. Period, "crafting the tape was a labor of love and a learning experience. Digging through hours of interview material and music, I have definitely gained a new respect for Michael’s life and legacy, and I’m excited to share that with my fans [and MJ fans alike]."

If you consider yourself a fan of either the man or the music or both, then you need to download this mixtape immediately. J. Period is more than a DJ. As proven on his previous mixtapes, Period truly creates auditory documentaries that take listeners on a journey through the life and music of its subject artist.

J. Period and Spike Lee present- MJ Tribute: Man or The Music

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