“Your butt is mine,” sings Michael Jackson in the opening line of his 1987 release “Bad,” and it’s not entirely clear whose butt MJ is claiming ownership of. But the ambiguity was apparently enough for another pop icon — Prince — to back out of appearing in the song and accompanying video.
That’s just one of approximately countless Prince stories floating around since the musician’s death last week, and everyone seems to be on the same page on a few points: there was no one else like him musically, and he was a master of shade.
Those two facts enabled him to have a friendly (or not so friendly) feud with whomever he wanted, even the King of Pop himself.
In a resurfaced interview Prince did with Chris Rock, Rock asked, “There was never any rivalry between you and Mr. Jackson?”
Prince responded, “Not to me, no.”
But when the conversation turns to the part in MJ’s “Bad” he backed out of, Prince said, “The first line of that song is ‘Your butt is mine.’ Now, who is going to sing that to whom? Cause [he] sure ain’t singing that to me, and I sure ain’t singing it to [him].”
Other signs also point to friction between the two artists over the years.
Lyrics in Prince’s “Life ‘O’ The Party” off his 2004 album “Musicology” are thought to be a direct jab at Jackson:
“My voice is getting higher/And I ain’t never had my nose done/That’s the other guy.”
And there are accounts from close to Jackson that Prince often picked on him.
As the story goes, MJ attended a Prince concert in Las Vegas, where Prince approached MJ’s table and played aggressive slap bass right in his face.
Jackson biographer Steve Knopper said in Esquire that the next day, Jackson complained to will.i.am the next day that, ““Prince has always been a meanie,” and, “He’s just a big meanie. He’s always been not nice to me.”
“Nobody really quite knows the full extent of their rivalry, and I think both of those guys had an interest in keeping it somewhat mysterious because they are both mysterious dudes,” Knopper continued to Esquire. “Before I die, I want to know what the full deal was between the two of them.”
Jackson’s youngest son, born in 2002, is named Prince. We don’t even try to unpack that.
On a complete side note, Jackson’s “Bad” video does feature another famous face — a then-rising star Wesley Snipes. It was also directed by Martin Scorsese.
h/t: Daily Beast