"Monster" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson featuring 50 Cent, released on Jackson's first posthumous album Michael. The song was written by Michael Jackson, Eddie Cascio, James Porte, and its rap part was written by Curtis Jackson. Along with "Breaking News" and "Keep Your Head Up", the song was recorded in the Porte/Cascios' basement in 2007. These tracks have been controversial, with Jackson's fans and family members doubting their authenticity. "Monster" had minor chart success and entered the UK Singles chart two weeks after the album's release. Due to the controversy the scheduled single was cancelled.
"Monster" was written by Michael Jackson, Eddie Cascio, James Porte, and its rap part was written by Curtis Jackson. Jackson recorded the songs in 2007 while was living with the Cascio family in New Jersey. Other tracks recorded during that time include "Breaking News" and "Keep Your Head Up", which were also included on Michael. 50 Cent did not record together with Jackson physically, although the two had talked about collaborating on the song. After Jackson's death, he received a call to come into the studio and perform his portion of the track. Once in the studio, the rapper worked with producer Teddy Riley on the song.
On December 10, 2010, the song was officially released on the posthumous album Michael.
"Monster" received mainly negative reviews from music critics. Huw Jones from Slant Magazine said "'Monster' is weighed down by an unnecessary rap by the increasingly unnecessary 50 Cent". Alexis Petridis from The Guardian said the song was "a lumpy attempt to recreate the atmosphere of Thriller's title track". Geg Kot from Chicago Tribune said the song picked up "an unfortunate theme in Jackson's latter-day work as the oppressed media victim."
The authenticity of "Monster" has been questioned. Doubts over whether the vocals were actually by Jackson have been raised, reportedly by Katherine Jackson and Jackson's two eldest children and many of his fans. His brother Randy Jackson posted a series of messages about the album on his Twitter account stating that family members were not allowed at his studio where the album was being completed. According to Randy, when engineer Teddy Riley played him some of the tracks, "I immediately said it wasn't his voice". In a statement, Sony Music Group countered that it had "complete confidence in the results of our extensive research, as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael, that the vocals on the new album are his own". Producer Teddy Riley, Frank DiLeo and Jackson's estate have since defended Sony's claims that the song is authentic. Teddy Riley who worked on the songs "Hollywood Tonight", "Monster" and "Breaking News", claimed that he had to do "more processing to the voice, which is why people were asking about the authenticity of his voice". Riley also claimed that "With the Melodyne we actually move the stuff up which is the reason why some of the vibrato sounds a little off or processed, over-processed. We truly apologize for that happening, but you are still hearing the true Michael Jackson".
Many fans who have cast doubt on the Cascio tracks have suggested that singer Jason Malachi sang the lead vocals of the Cascio tracks, but a statement by the Jackson Estate said that he was not involved in the recording. On January 16, 2011, a statement appeared on Malachi's Facebook page noting he was the vocalist of the songs in question, calling it his "confession". He later claimed on MySpace that his Facebook and official website were hacked. Malachi's manager Thad Nauden later that day told TMZ claiming that "someone created a phony Facebook page in Jason's name. Jason wants everyone to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, he did not sing a single note on the album".
Written by Michael Jackson, Eddie Cascio and James Porte
Rap lyrics by Curtis Jackson
Published by Mijac Music, Jab Me Music, Curtis Jackson 50 Cent Music Publishing (admin by Universal Music Publishing) (ASCAP) /
Produced by Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley and Angelikson
Mixed by Jean-Marie Horvat and Teddy Riley
Programming and finisher by Teddy Riley
Kids’ Scream: Nigel and Naiden Maynard
Recording Engineer: Scott Elgin, Khaliq Glover AKA Khaliq-O-Vision, Stuart Brawley, Quenton Gilkey (Assistant Engineer), Luis Navarro, Zachariah Redding (Assistants Engineer on the Rap) (Recorded at Boom Boom Room), Glen Marchese, Joe Corcoran, Drew Harris
Rap Performed by 50 Cent
Drum Programming: James Porte, Joe Cocoran and Chalmer McDermott