Take the glossed out jheri curls, high-pitched anthems, screeching fans in tears (and a few carried out on a gurney at shows in far away lands), and you got the cult of Michael Jackson. Twenty-five years ago, Thriller became crack for pop-loving 80s babies. Now those babies are grown, and many have went on to have their own successful career
with Jacksons style smeared all over it. In celebration of this weeks reissue of Thriller, VIBE.com looks at our top five favorite Jackson copycats.
Besides starting their careers before they reached Roller-coaster height, O and MJ have always placed special attention on their two-stepping tricks. To make up for callow vocals, Omarion relies heavily on impressive mini-Mike impersonations. However, while he breaks a sweat straining for the attention of an older audience, Michael transitions seamlessly within a fan base ranging from 6 to 60. Note to Omarion — being just a PYT doesn’t always cut it.
4. Chris Brown
Let’s be honest: Chris Brown is Michael Jackson on crack – a red-bulled, back-flipping, screen-cheesin’ Michael Jackson. From music videos to live performances, C. Breezy never fails to throw in a tribute to his idol. For a young’n in the game, it’s a smart move that’s done him well. All that’s left now is crossing the border of obsession to transgression.
Three words: Because of You. The draping harmonies, the tilted fedora, the pelvic thrust, it’s blatantly clear who Ne-Yo’s main influence is. While others stick to pure imitation, Ne-Yo opts to explore the middle ground between himself and Jackson. The results have proven to be effective, separating Ne-Yo from the duplicators. When MJ’s requesting your contribution to his album, you know hours of perfecting Beat It adlibs has truly paid off.
2. Justin Timberlake
Reppin’ the lighter side of MJ fever, Justin’s Future Sex/Love Sounds blessed him with six top twenty hits from a single album, a feat only achieved once by Jackson himself. With sweet soprano drawls and fancy fly footwork soaked with Jackson’s juice, Justin has led the most identical career to that of his inspiration. The former boy-band front man turned international sex god has showed no limits in his like for Mike. If MJ himself hasn’t noticed, Janet certainly has.
As arguably the father of our generation’s pop princes, it’s only right that Usher be deemed the son of King Jackson. With about 40 million albums sold worldwide, Ursh has successfully converted the hype of MJ fame into a grandiose self-made empire. During the Confessions craze of ‘04, some even double-dared to say that Usher had replaced Michael as the greatest entertainer of all time. With a collabo due out later this year, father and son will put history to the test and raise the bar of pop notoriety. Copy that.