Pop & Hiss

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Stones Throw artists Aloe Blacc and Oh No pay tribute to Michael Jackson

June 28, 2010 | 10:27 am

Michael Jackson died a year ago Friday, and since then, hundreds if not thousands of artists have paid tribute to his legacy in song. Of course, paying homage to the King of Pop is a notoriously tricky enterprise, considering the difficulty of topping the genuine article. Wisely, Oh No and Aloe Blacc opt to honor with him tunes diametrically opposed to the original versions.

A notorious video game aficionado, Oh No chops "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" into an almost-unrecognizable blend of funky bass lines, breakbeats and a sample that sounds as if it was swiped from "Paid in Full." Opting to remix the original 1979 music video as well, Oh No (whose birth name is Michael Jackson) concocts something that recalls Jackson's "Moonwalker" video game, which owned arcades in the late 1980s.

Rather than opt for a futuristic update, Aloe Blacc delves into the past to croon a Stax-era version of "Billie Jean," complete with elegiac horns, anguished vocals and a tragic tone appropriate for Jackson's untimely end. While both aren't about to make anyone chuck the originals into the Dumpster, they offer unique and soulful variants on classics, revealing both the skill of Jackson's songwriting and the imagination of Blacc and Oh No.

-- Jeff Weiss

Download: MP3: Aloe Blacc -- "I Need a Dollar"

MP3: Aloe Blacc -- "Femme Fatale"

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