Michael Jackson’s voice will be heard again in a duet with rapper-producer Akon, as controversy swirls over the authenticity of recordings on his soon to be released album.
The song, “Hold My Hand,” slated for the disc, titled simply, Michael, will be released Monday, Nov. 15. It was first recorded in 2007 and leaked on the Internet in 2008, even though it was still unfinished.
Michael will go on sale on Dec. 14.
Jackson’s estate and Sony records are defending against charges, mainly from Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and his children, Paris and Prince, that some of the album tracks are fake.
The controversy erupted when a tune from the album, “Breaking News,” streamed on Internet this week and came under question.
Jackson’s father Joe has said his son would not have wanted his unfinished material released.
Lawyer Howard Weitzman issued a four-page response addressing concerns about the track. Executors have said more than 100 tracks are awaiting release
Jackson’s long-time vocal director, Dorian Holley, as well as two forensic musicologists who used “objective scientific tests” among others, concluded the voice was Jackson’s, according to the statement.
For ‘Hold My Hand,” the label and executors went so far as to claim they had a hand-written note from the dead singer, suggesting that the song could be used as the first single on his next project.
Akon was working with Jackson on a series of songs before his sudden death in June 2009 from a drug overdose.
“The world was not ready to hear ‘Hold My Hand’ when it leaked a couple years ago. We were devastated about it,” he said.
“But its time has definitely come; now in its final state, it has become an incredible, beautiful, anthemic song,” he said in a statement.
Sony also released more details about 10 tracks on Michael, the King of Pop’s first album of new material from the singer since Invincible in 2001.
Rapper 50 Cent and rocker Lenny Kravitz are featured on two tracks, the label said.