Jay-Z chose not to take part in the 2010 remake of “We Are The World” for a reason: The Grammy-winning rapper feels the 1985 charity anthem should remain untouched; he says the remake takes away from its iconic stature and meaning.
“I know everybody is gonna take this wrong. ‘We Are the World,’ I love it, and I understand the point and think it’s great,” Jay-Z told MTV on Saturday at a dinner during NBA All-Star weekend in Dallas. “But I think ‘We Are the World’ is like [Michael Jackson’s] ‘Thriller.’ I don’t ever wanna see it touched.”
“I’m a fan of music. I know the plight and everything that’s going on in Haiti. I applaud the efforts: [Millions have been raised] through text [donations] to Haiti,” he continued. “So I appreciate the efforts and everything, but ‘We Are The World’ is [musically] untouchable like ‘Thriller’ is untouchable. Some things are just untouchable. It was a valiant effort, but for me, it’s gonna be untouchable.”
“We Are The World 25 For Haiti” was released Friday night during the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The song was produced by Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie, and a long list of famed members of the music industry came together for the recording. The group ranged from Barbra Streisand to Kanye West.
Jay-Z ‘s wife, Beyoncé, was also missing from the A-list lineup.
Jay said that he feels a brand-new song would’ve been a better approach for a charity jingle.
“I would have liked that idea better,” he told MTV. “As everyone knows, I have tremendous respect for Quincy Jones. Of course, I think he’s a genius, as everyone else does. [But] I think it’s time for us to make a new [song].”
“I tried to do that with ‘Stranded,’ ” he said of the song he performed with Rihanna, Bono and The Edge from U2 during the Haiti telethon. “I didn’t try to make ‘We Are The World,’ but I tried to make our take on how we felt.”