Akon stopped by for an interview on Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning to discuss his future plans, entrepreneurship, and his relationship to some of his biggest collaborators. During the chat, he revealed that he hasn't spoken with Lady Gaga in a number of years, and that he has four new albums with a disparate flavor on the way. At the 12:30 moment of the interview onwards, he detailed his relationship with the late Michael Jackson.
He joked about hanging up on MJ upon getting on the phone with him for the first time and what it was like meeting face-to-face, but he also addressed how he personally felt following the release of HBO's Leaving Neverland documentary. "That's kind of hard to swallow because me knowing him and knowing a lot of the backstories of it... It's crazy how cruel corporations can be," he said at the 15:40 point of the interview when asked about the shift in MJ's public image over the last year.
"Mike was one of the most powerful men in the music business," he continued. From there he explained how he thinks Jackson was taken advantage of himself numerous times throughout his career, with a number of big players in the industry attempting to "push him out." When asked about the "flaw" of him being too close to a number of children, Akon replied, "But it weren't even a flaw, that was all humantiarian and just him having a love for kids period."
He said, "He had a theme park in his backyard that's for children, but it was more so for himself because he never had a childhood himself." Throughout his childhood, MJ was pressured by both the industry and his father Joe Jackson, who was also his manager, to be the biggest pop star in the world. "I don't know if it was abusive," Akon said when the topic of MJ facing so much scrutinity as a child star is brought up. "It was preparation for who he was supposed to become."
As for whether he believes the allegations against MJ, Akon responded at 18:28, "I'm a realist, if Mike was a creep or he was a pedophile or something like that... I'm not gonna sit here and defend him. I must tell you straight up, 'Yo bruh that dude right there, I can't rock with him.'" He continued, "It's no different from R. Kelly. I know R. Kelly but when I found that's what it was, I would tell him to his face, 'Bro, you fucked up for that shit.'"
He did defend MJ, however, believing that too many people knew him "genuinely" for no one to have seen signs he might have been abusive towards children. "On Mike's behalf, these are people that was paid off, one or two people and they parents come back and recount like, you can't even prove none of that stuff and half that stuff you can prove that they was paid off to even say those things," he said.
You can watch the entire interview above, where he dives into stories with Eminem, Quincy Jones, and more.
As for those Eminem portions, which include a breakdown of Em's strict recording schedule, Akon had some laughs about the process but said he ultimately felt that Em's method "makes a lot of sense."