We will probably never stop hearing Michael Jackson’s music. But after HBO aired the two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, the story of two men who claims that Jackson abused both of them for years when they were kids, we are probably going to see a pattern of subtle withdrawls, of Jackson’s music being taken out of everyday rotation in public places. Since Leaving Neverland aired a little more than a week ago, some radio stations have stopped playing Jackson’s music, and the Simpsons episode that featured his guest voice has been pulled from circulation. And now Drake apparently isn’t doing his Michael Jackson song anymore.
Last year, Drake released the massive blockbuster double-album Scorpion, 2018’s biggest-selling album. Scorpion only featured a few guest vocalists, and one of them was Michael Jackson. The song “Don’t Matter To Me” included unreleased Michael Jackson vocals left over from a 1983 recording session that Jackson did with Paul Anka. The song, which was reportedly slated to become a single before “In My Feelings” took off organically, peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week after Scorpion came out. It’s one of two posthumous Michael Jackson songs that has made the top 10.
Last night, Drake kicked off a UK arena tour at Manchester Arena. As NME points out, Drake did not perform “Don’t Matter To Me” during the show. “Don’t Matter To Me” had been part of the setlist during Drake’s North American tour last year. He’s changed the setlist significantly between the two tours. There’s no guarantee that he removed “Don’t Matter To Me” specifically because of the Leaving Neverland revelations, and there’s no guarantee he won’t start performing it again soon. Still, this is the kind of quiet removal that we can probably expect to see happening with Jackson’s music moving forward.