A track featuring the two stars, titled “Slave 2 the Rhythm,” leaked last year, but was quickly pulled from the web. Originally an outtake from Dangerous, an updated version of the song appears on Jackson’s new posthumous album, Xscape, but without vocals from Bieber.
Reid, who served as executive producer on Xscape and initially signed Bieber to Island Records in 2009, explained: “I signed Justin, so I feel a loyalty. I feel like I should protect him. That’s my relationship with him. But ‘Slave 2 The Rhythm’ didn’t include him per my direction… If it hadn’t been leaked, it would have been featured but it sort of took the wrong turn.” He added, “We’re going to revisit it and do something really special with Justin Bieber and Michael.”
Reid wouldn’t offer any specifics such as when the song would be released or whether they would revamp “Slave 2 the Rhythm” or try out a new song. But when asked if a future release would feature Bieber and Jackson, Reid said, “I’m pretty sure.”
To create the recently released Xscape, Reid scoured Jackson’s archives for tracks with complete vocal takes, which he then passed along to a bevy of top producers, including Timbaland, Stargate and Rodney Jerkins, who gave the songs a contemporary spin. And while Bieber may not have made the cut this time around, the album does feature pop’s other favorite Justin, who sings alongside Jackson on “Love Never Felt So Good.”