Who Would Win in a Michael Jackson/Prince Verzuz Battle?

Illustration for article titled Who Would Win in a Michael Jackson/Prince Verzuz Battle?
Photo: LUKE FRAZZA/AFP (Getty Images), Chelsea Lauren (Getty Images)

With all of the Verzuz battles going on via Instagram Live, people are getting in on the fun with creating hypothetical battles of their own (I personally made my own Pharrell playlist to combat a Kanye one, what a fun time). The entertainment website Hollywood Unlocked created a match-up of epic proportions: Michael Jackson’s songs versus Prince’s songs, to see who people thought would win.


The list, composed of 20 songs each, features head-to-head battles such as “The Way You Make Me Feel” vs. “When Doves Cry,” “Human Nature” vs. “The Beautiful Ones,” and “Smooth Criminal” vs. “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” For those interested in doing the bracket on their own, there are boxes to mark off if The King of Pop won the round, The Purple One was victorious, or if it’s a tie.

As far as the IG comments on this match-up goes, Hollywood Unlocked’s followers are split. “RIP to both but Michael got this one,” one user wrote, while another added “PRINCE!!! MJ cannot sing like Prince! He was a great entertainer but cannot out sing Prince!!!” Then, there are those who believe this list didn’t have to happen at all.

“No we’re not gonna do this!! They both won but it’s not a draw,” one wrote, while another heavily agreed-upon comment said that they’re “two icons” in their own lanes. (Editor’s note: Seriously, why was this necessary? The world is on fire.)

The Root staff is already going back and forth with their thoughts on the bracket and the consensus appears to be that while Prince was a better musician overall, MJ was a better pop/mainstream hitmaker. Although, we’ve all concluded that the list could be better as a whole, especially with the omission of songs such as little Michael Jackson’s “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” and Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” among many others.

Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think.

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."


The Thugnificent Pangaean

This a categorical mismatch:

MJ with a stage-panning camera, up on pain killers, with Quincy Jones and a back up dance crew, pretty much conquered the known world of pop and sold out stadiums for weeks at a time.

MJ took the KISS concert formula and grew it 100 times bigger. MJ was for the family-friendlier crowd and was selling international colas.

Prince was the cooler than hell descendant of the funky and very adult Rick James DIY music makers. He took the quartet/quintet formula , focused it on adult theme (Pussy Control; Do Me Baby; and Darlin Nikki), inner struggles, and resonated on a deeply adult, not ready for broadcast radio venue.

Prince took the small band formula as far as it could without a lot of pageantry or dancing, and grow many, many artists along the way.


If the show includes dancing, you got kids watching, and want to share links with high falooting relatives - > MJ wins, probably 7 out of ten times.

If the show is strictly music, little or no dancing and pageantry, and deal with very adult themes - > Prince by a slight 5:4 over MJ..