Akon picks who’s more talented: Michael Jackson or Prince

Themidwestcowboy

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What do you think about this guys? I have a lot to say about this. First of all it irritates me that Michael never gets acknowledged as a songwriter and producer. It’s 2022, why are some people still just referring to him as a singer? Secondly, there seem to be this notion that you are automatically better and more talented if you know how to play instruments. If that was the case then a person that knows how to play more instruments than Prince would by default be more talented than him which is most often not the case. Lastly, I always thought that Chris Brown could have been a big artist, bigger than he is now but comparing him to MJ is just absurd.
 

zinniabooklover

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What do you think about this guys? I have a lot to say about this.
Haven't got time to watch this right now but, going by your comments here, I can tell I'm going to get frustrated.

First of all it irritates me that Michael never gets acknowledged as a songwriter and producer. It’s 2022, why are some people still just referring to him as a singer?
This 1000x

Secondly, there seem to be this notion that you are automatically better and more talented if you know how to play instruments.
I dislike this intensely and I say this as someone who prefers real instruments over electronic stuff any day. It's like the nonsense idea that bc Michael - in common with many other pop / soul / rock musicians - could not read sheet music he wasn't a musician and could not understand music theory. Gah!

If that was the case then a person that knows how to play more instruments than Prince would by default be more talented than him which is most often not the case.
I get SO tired of this whole 'Prince could play 27 instruments' thing. The guy was a good musician. He was a great guitarist. Really great. Good on the piano. Brilliant songwriter. And he was learning all of that stuff, afaik, during his later childhood and his teenage years. Like most musicians do. In the meantime, Michael was a working professional from childhood. He was having hit records before he was a teenager. He was on tour, in the recording studio, he was rehearsing for hours on end, doing interviews, photoshoots, doing endless tv appearances, learning dance routines, touring the world. He was already performing in Senegal in 1974. That wouldn't have been his decision, I know that, but he still had to do the work. And when he wasn't doing all of that he was studying the greats. Watching them perform, watching them on film. Learning constantly but at the highest level.

He was doing all of that and more while his peers were still just learning how to do the basics.
 

SmoothCriminal1995

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Good thread idea mate.

You know what debates like this really annoy me, we can have both. Sure Mike wasn't a musician, but when you hear the complexity of his compositions it's a ridiculous to assume because he couldn't play instruments like Prince, he couldn't create as well as him. I'd argue Mike composed more memorable melodies and lyrics than Prince honestly.

Nobody compares 2 Michael (pardon the Prince pun) he sits alone as a performer, singer and songwriter in my book.

It frustrates me when people compare Chris Brown to Mike, as if Michael wasn't a serious artist, who wrote about more social issues than many "serious artists" ever did. As soon as people argue Mike wasn't an artist like X, I turn off because they clearly only know Michael for Thriller and maybe Off The Wall. Sometimes Michael's subtlety as an artist went against him.

I do love Prince as well though, Sign O The Times is one of my favourite albums ever.

Apologies about the long post, I had a lot more thoughts on this than I realised
 

zinniabooklover

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What do you think about this guys? I have a lot to say about this.
Watched it and, yes, the bit about Prince being more talented really irritated me bc they just galloped through that bit of the conversation. They didn't actually discuss anything but they seemed to be saying, 'yes, Prince is more talented than Michael and we don't even need to discuss this. End of'. I disagree massively as per my previous post.

The bit about Chris Brown I just don't get. Akon has spoken very well about Michael in the past but here he seems to be saying Chris Brown could be as great as Michael if he had a better creative team around him. For sure, the people Michael worked with over the years brought a huge amount to the table. No question. But this doesn't seem any different to people saying that Michael made it big purely bc of Quincy. Which I don't accept. And I don't accept this Chris Brown thing, either.

The first several minutes I did enjoy. But the last couple of minutes or so, just annoying.
 

Nite Line

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Prince is brilliant but MJ is better. Prince is only better at playing instruments.
 

BUMPER SNIPPET

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Imagine you're living your teenage life in the '80s. There's Prince and there's Michael Jackson. You don't need Akon or anyone else to tell you who's more talented. Just pick one. I already have.
 

Hiker

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.... And so did millions of others 😃 Who has the largest ever selling album and 100s of stadiums full of shows. Michael is a full entertainer - dancer, singer, composer, writer, producer. So when comparing Michael for talent with anyone, you need to pick a dimension. As an entertainer he wins hands down!
 

zinniabooklover

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I just don’t get Prince. I’ve tried multiple times, multiple singles, multiple albums, and it all sounds the exact same to me. In my opinion, the only avenue he beats MJ on is musicianship and quantity of music. Everything else, MJ reigns #1.
I'm pretty much the same. I wouldn't go so far as to say it ALL sounds exactly the same and I did recently find 3 more songs that I genuinely like - before it was just SOTT (song) and nothing else. I've also found 3 performances where I really like his guitar work and I ignore most of the song and go straight to the bit I want.

Other than that, nothing has changed. He's a really good artist, imo. But I simply do not see where he's better than Michael. His shows are more visually interesting but he's helped by the fact he's in arenas rather than stadiums. I watched his Coachella thing. I didn't even get to the end. By 8 mins I had my head in my hands, then I bailed. I tried to watch his Superbowl thing. Didn't get very far. I have given Prince more chances than I would give to most people but he just does not speak to me.

He's a better musician than Michael if we are using a very narrow definition of 'musician' as someone who *physically* plays a musical instrument. But the human voice is an instrument and Michael was superbly talented in how he used his voice. So even apart from his skill as a composer and arranger, he qualifies as a musician in my book. So Prince only wins on quantity, for me.
 

PurpleThriller

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I'm pretty much the same. I wouldn't go so far as to say it ALL sounds exactly the same and I did recently find 3 more songs that I genuinely like - before it was just SOTT (song) and nothing else. I've also found 3 performances where I really like his guitar work and I ignore most of the song and go straight to the bit I want.

Other than that, nothing has changed. He's a really good artist, imo. But I simply do not see where he's better than Michael. His shows are more visually interesting but he's helped by the fact he's in arenas rather than stadiums. I watched his Coachella thing. I didn't even get to the end. By 8 mins I had my head in my hands, then I bailed. I tried to watch his Superbowl thing. Didn't get very far. I have given Prince more chances than I would give to most people but he just does not speak to me.

He's a better musician than Michael if we are using a very narrow definition of 'musician' as someone who *physically* plays a musical instrument. But the human voice is an instrument and Michael was superbly talented in how he used his voice. So even apart from his skill as a composer and arranger, he qualifies as a musician in my book. So Prince only wins on quantity, for me.
Prince played stadiums as well tho.
Throughout the 80's and 90's.
But not as much as Michael
 

zinniabooklover

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Prince played stadiums as well tho.
oh sure. I thought he did occasional stadium shows but mostly arenas whereas with Michael it was the other way around. Plus, I do think his shows, on a visual level, were really good (I've only seen a few bits, not loads). The way he staged his shows works really well. So interesting to watch. He uses the space available to him really well. Either he had a great show designer or he had great vision. For me, though, musically it doesn't quite reach me. Not very often, anyway.

Throughout the 80's and 90's.
But not as much as Michael
That's what I thought.
 

zinniabooklover

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I don’t think we have to be defensive about it. Prince simply is a multitalented musician.
I take your point. I didn't intend my own comments to sound defensive but I think they probably do. Which is irritating, lol. Prince did good stuff - it doesn't massively appeal to me but who cares?

That said, I still wish the conversation would be handled differently. Bc it always goes the same way. Now that *does* irritate me!

Other than that talent isn’t really mesurable but success is and both had it in spades.
Agreed.
 

filmandmusic

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A lot of rock fans never realized Prince could play the guitar at that level until they saw him play solos for while my guitar gently weeps and rain rain. Who knows MJ can surprise us as well if we would actually see him work in the studio one day.
 

DuranDuran

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Who has the largest ever selling album and 100s of stadiums full of shows.
I've never understood using sales & popularity for saying somebody has more talent. Going by that criteria, then Drake is more talented than anyone else in the history of the recording business since he has the most Hot 100 hits. Milli Vanilli's debut album sold more than any album by Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, or Little Richard, and Rob & Fab didn't even sing on it.
 

SoCav

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I just don’t get Prince. I’ve tried multiple times, multiple singles, multiple albums, and it all sounds the exact same to me. In my opinion, the only avenue he beats MJ on is musicianship and quantity of music. Everything else, MJ reigns #1.
That part I don't get. Whether you like it or not is of course entirely subjective, but I don't understand how you can say all his music sounds the exact same. His discography is incredibly versatile.
 

mj_frenzy

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I'm pretty much the same. I wouldn't go so far as to say it ALL sounds exactly the same and I did recently find 3 more songs that I genuinely like - before it was just SOTT (song) and nothing else. I've also found 3 performances where I really like his guitar work and I ignore most of the song and go straight to the bit I want.

Other than that, nothing has changed. He's a really good artist, imo. But I simply do not see where he's better than Michael. His shows are more visually interesting but he's helped by the fact he's in arenas rather than stadiums. I watched his Coachella thing. I didn't even get to the end. By 8 mins I had my head in my hands, then I bailed. I tried to watch his Superbowl thing. Didn't get very far. I have given Prince more chances than I would give to most people but he just does not speak to me.

He's a better musician than Michael if we are using a very narrow definition of 'musician' as someone who *physically* plays a musical instrument. But the human voice is an instrument and Michael was superbly talented in how he used his voice. So even apart from his skill as a composer and arranger, he qualifies as a musician in my book. So Prince only wins on quantity, for me.
@zinniabooklover, Prince is a more complete artist than Michael Jackson, and in certain aspects Prince is also better than him.

Prince's music includes the whole gamut of all musical genres (even the jazz genre).

Prince's lyrics are more diverse and more daring.

Prince wrote, arranged, produced, mixed, and played the instruments in nearly all of his songs.

Prince even directed many of his own music videos.

Prince even released one of the greatest musical films of all time (i.e., 'Purple Rain').

His 'Purple Rain' musical film (1984) had an enormous cultural, historical and aesthetical impact, while it also had a very big commercial success.

Whereas, Michael Jackson's 'The Wiz' film (1978) went almost unnoticed.

Or, take for example Michael Jackson's 'Moonwalker' film (1988) which does not even qualify as a professional film.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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@zinniabooklover, Prince is a more complete artist than Michael Jackson, and in certain aspects Prince is also better than him.

Prince's music includes the whole gamut of all musical genres (even the jazz genre).

Prince's lyrics are more diverse and more daring.

Prince wrote, arranged, produced, mixed, and played the instruments in nearly all of his songs.

Prince even directed many of his own music videos.

Prince even released one of the greatest musical films of all time (i.e., 'Purple Rain').

His 'Purple Rain' musical film (1984) had an enormous cultural, historical and aesthetical impact, while it also had a very big commercial success.

Whereas, Michael Jackson's 'The Wiz' film (1978) went almost unnoticed.

Or, take for example Michael Jackson's 'Moonwalker' film (1988) which does not even qualify as a professional film.
Who says Prince lyrics are more diverse and daring? this is not true in my opinion.
Michael literally went against the power structure with songs like They Don’t Care About us, Scream, Tabloid Junkie, Why You Wanna Trip On Me, Heal The World, Money, Earth Song etc. Michaels lyrics were socially conscious, uplifting, empowering, daring and provoking. There was absolutely nobody that was in MJ’s position that dared call out the “big man” like that.

Yes Prince wrote and produced nearly all of his song etc. For that he is immensely talented, no doubt about it, but in my personal opinion it’s not just about the fact that you can do these things but also the quality of what you’re doing. When we compare Princes output to MJ’s, Michael takes the cake any time of the day. Quality > Quantity. I love Prince, but his music has never resonated with me the way Michael music does.

Okay first of all The Wiz did not pass by unnoticed, what are you talking about? MJ was praised for his acting in that movie, but I fail to see your point here? What point are you trying to make? MJ made the greatest Shortfilm of all time with thriller that has surpassed heights any Prince video, (film or music video) could only dream of both in artistic execution and cultural impact.

You talk about Moonwalker not being classified as a professional film but is ‘Graffiti Bridge’ that? Lol, or is ’Under The Cherry Moon’ classified as a “professional movie” ?

You do bring up an excellent point tho and
In many ways this has been my main argument. You say that “Prince even directed many of his music videos”. But just because you could doesn’t mean you should, especially if your videos turns out like the kind of videos Prince released, cheap and extremely silly looking (raspberry beret, all those silly rap music videos with NPG etc) So again it comes down to quality over quantity for me and quality wise MJ triumphs over Prince in almost any category.

This is the consensus that I’ve seen around this topic, The fact that Prince did it all by himself actually outweighs the outcome of what he did. Pay attention to when people talk about Prince and/or compare him to MJ this is always the point that they bring up. I have rarely heard anyone actually talk about the music he put out and their memories of buying his albums or playing his music videos or talking about the song that made them a fan etc. It’s never about the actual work only about the fact that he did it all. Of course there are people who talk about the actual quality of the music but for the most part this is what I have observed.
 
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Nite Line

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I tried to watch his Superbowl thing. Didn't get very far. I have given Prince more chances than I would give to most people but he just does not speak to me.
Prince's superbowl performance is the greatest performance in superbowl history, even better than Michael's performance, in my opinion. I have watched it countless times. It had everything. Great live vocals, great band, great setlist and the rain during the performance of purple rain. It is an iconic performance.
 

Themidwestcowboy

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Prince's superbowl performance is the greatest performance in superbowl history, even better than Michael's performance, in my opinion. I have watched it countless times. It had everything. Great live vocals, great band, great setlist and the rain during the performance of purple rain. It is an iconic performance.
I respect your opinion!

To me MJ’s Superbowl performance is still undefeated. It has everything you just mentioned except for the live vocals and the rain lol. But everything about that performance is perfect. The hysteria, the choreography, the dancing, the songs and as always with MJ it wasn’t just a performance but it had a message of global unity and love on such a big platform so it transcends just the regular “pop performance”. On top of that he was able to deliver a show in broad daylight without extravagant lights and what not. And to think he had no one to model his performance after. He was the first to do that and set a precedence for how a Super Bowl performance should be. He was ahead of the curve and a true trailblazer.
 
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PurpleThriller

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I've never understood using sales & popularity for saying somebody has more talent. Going by that criteria, then Drake is more talented than anyone else in the history of the recording business since he has the most Hot 100 hits. Milli Vanilli's debut album sold more than any album by Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, or Little Richard, and Rob & Fab didn't even sing on it.
Exactly!
I didnt want to say this but you are so right..What does fame have to do with talent?(Both Prince and Jackson were rightfully famous for being talented but I'm saying in general).
 

zinniabooklover

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I tried to watch his Superbowl thing. Didn't get very far. I have given Prince more chances than I would give to most people but he just does not speak to me.
Prince's superbowl performance is the greatest performance in superbowl history,
Hm, so I'm meant to believe. This is precisely why I watched the thing. But I was bored. It just did not work for me. It's great that other people love it, that's fine. But I couldn't find anything in it for me. I didn't get to the end, that's true, but I have already given Prince way more of my time than most other artists get.

On a happier note, I only used to have SOTT (song). Now I have 3 extra songs so that's really nice.
 

zinniabooklover

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@zinniabooklover, Prince is a more complete artist than Michael Jackson, and in certain aspects Prince is also better than him.

Prince's music includes the whole gamut of all musical genres (even the jazz genre).

Prince's lyrics are more diverse and more daring.

Prince wrote, arranged, produced, mixed, and played the instruments in nearly all of his songs.

Prince even directed many of his own music videos.

Prince even released one of the greatest musical films of all time (i.e., 'Purple Rain').

His 'Purple Rain' musical film (1984) had an enormous cultural, historical and aesthetical impact, while it also had a very big commercial success.

Whereas, Michael Jackson's 'The Wiz' film (1978) went almost unnoticed.

Or, take for example Michael Jackson's 'Moonwalker' film (1988) which does not even qualify as a professional film.
None of this is relevant. Michael, as an artist, is endlessly interesting, exciting and fascinating to me. Prince is not.

Other opinions are available. This is mine - Michael is boss. Prince isn't.

P.S. Those of you who love Prince, I am very happy for you!
 

Dilan

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Prince was a much more talented artist than MJ imo. Prince did everything himself. MJ has the biggest selling album of all time but at the end of the day he was following Quincy's vision. Thats why most people prefer OTW, Thriller and Bad compared to all other MJ albums. MJ also needed help with music videos eg hiring John Landis. Prince was able to independently steer his career with his personal vision.
 

Nite Line

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I respect your opinion!

To me MJ’s Superbowl performance is still undefeated. It has everything you just mentioned except for the live vocals and the rain lol. But everything about that performance is perfect. The hysteria, the choreography, the dancing, the songs and as always with MJ it wasn’t just a performance but it had a message of global unity and love on such a big platform so it transcends just the regular “pop performance”. On top of that he was able to deliver a show on broad daylight without extravagant lights and what not. And to think he had no one to model his performance after. He was the first to do that and set a precedence for how a Super Bowl performance should be. He was ahead of the curve and a true trailblazer.
Michael’s performance would have been the best for me, had he not lip synced.
 
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