In mid-August 2013, a new unreleased track originally recorded by Michael Jackson and re-edited to feature Justin Bieber was leaked online. That mysterious recording was Slave to the Rhythm and it spread quickly like an infection, but apparently the Michael Jackson Estate never authorized it. Perhaps they backpedaled when Bieber reportedly leaked the song himself?
Regardless of what happened, Bieber presumably got the boot from being featured on Xscape, leaving Justin Timberlake as the sole artist featured alongside Jackson for a song.
The original Slave to the Rhythm was produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface in 1991, during the Dangerous sessions, and was revised for Xscape by Timbaland and J-Roc. The R&B soap opera about a woman who’s trapped by the rhythms of her life is toughened up with a web of keyboards and drums added to the mix to capture the maddening pace of the lyrics. In a sense, the track echoes MJ’s visual image during the HIStory years with its militant, futuristic quality.
Many unauthorized leaked versions of Slave to the Rhythm have remixed over the years, making this a popular hit for DJs on the nightclub scene.