Michael Jackson’s High Musical Standards Still Resonate on Xscape

It won’t make fans forget his Quincy Jones-produced classics, but Michael Jackson’s Xscape reminds us why he was peerless.

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In many ways, Jackson was a prisoner to his own success; he could never really match the accomplishment of his Quincy Jones-produced trilogy of Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982) and Bad (1987). Xscape won’t make anyone forget those recordings; nor should it. Xscape might not be the best of Michael, but it’s a reminder that he set standards so high for himself, he remains peerless even as the ghost in the vault.

Mark Anthony Neal is a professor of African and African-American studies at Duke University and a fellow at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. He is the author of several books, including Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities. Follow him on Twitter.

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