Here Are 3 Examples of Michael Jackson’s Cutthroat Shrewdness in L.A. Reid’s New Memoir

The King of Pop apparently didn’t mind poaching producers from his brother or laughing at rivals. 

Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson and Jermaine Jackson
Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson and Jermaine Jackson AFP/Getty Images

R&B mega producer L.A. Reid is on a press tour promoting his memoir, Sing to Me, and in it he describes a few encounters with Michael Jackson that show the cutthroat side of the King of Pop, the New York Post reports.

1. When Michael Jackson got wind that his brother Jermaine Jackson was signed to and working with up-and-coming music producers Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, the King of Pop invited the producing duo to his Neverland ranch. Michael wanted to work with them, too, which, to Jermaine, felt as if Michael was poaching them. That’s how the song “Word to the Badd!”—Jermaine’s diss record of sorts against Michael—came about. Reid quotes Jermaine as saying this:

“I want to make a song about my brother. I want to talk about how he’s treated me through the years, like how every time I find producers like you guys, he takes my producers. He doesn’t care about his family or anybody but himself.”

2. When Reid and Edmonds were at Neverland discussing music with Michael, Reid says, they saw how giddy Michael got while watching his then-rival Prince mess up. Michael put on footage of Prince experiencing technical difficulties during a concert and laughed at it: 

“Prince [couldn’t] make his guitar work, frantically stripping off his shirt and trying tricks with the microphone stand and making all these poses. After Michael’s dazzling star turn, Prince fell as flat as he could, and Michael enjoyed laughing at the video. …

“After that, he put on a scene from Prince’s movie Under the Cherry Moon, the artsy black-and-white bomb he made after Purple Rain, and he laughed some more at Prince.”

3. Going back to his ongoing feud with his brother Jermaine, Michael didn’t care that Jermaine was upset about how Reid and Edmond would be working with Michael. Jermaine apparently threatened to leave LaFace Records (Reid and Edmonds’ label). Michael told the producing duo not to worry, since Jermaine was contractually obligated to fulfill his duties as an artist:

When Reid told Michael what happened, the superstar replied, “He’ll get over it.”

” ‘That’s not really the problem,’ [Reid] said. ‘The problem was that [Jermaine] wants off the label now.’

” ‘Did he sign a contract?’ asked Michael.