It's Jackson of course. Just becaus the highs are higher and more immediate. It's funny cos obviously you know straightaway the answer is Jackson. There's not a doubt in your mind but when you think about the two it's not actually so straightforward. Prince has stupid amounts of great songs. Probably more than Jackson. So why is it Jackson! It just is. Cos it's Michael Jackson.
Prince was cooler, a better guitarist, sexier, more stylish, but MJ is MJ. I don't think there's any Prince song I think of as highly as I do PYT, Wanna Be Startin' Something, Baby Be Mine, Don’t Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Smooth Criminal etc.
A large part of Princes problem with MJ must have been that MJ was the ultimate insider. A child star in the most successful black owned record label of them all. Royalty. An actual prince. Working with Quincey Jones. In the grand tradition. And Prince was the ultimate Outsider. From the middle of fucking nowhere. Hicksville. Where they don't even have any black people.
Quincy Jones once tried to arrange a collaboration between Prince and Michael Jackson (who Jones liked to call “Smelly”) for Jackson’s Bad album. Jones remembers a meeting gone awry at Jackson’s place in Hayvenhurst. It was definitely not at Prince’s house near Minneapolis, which MJ pronounced “Minnenapolis,” to Prince’s extreme chagrin. Prince brought Michael a strange gift box filled with things like that addressed to “Camille,” which was Prince’s pet name for Michael.
“Michael was scared to death—he thought there was some voodoo in there,” Jones said. “I wanted to take it, because I knew Michael was gonna throw it away.” He did, in fact, end up throwing it away.
At the same gathering, Jones also said that Prince told Janet Jackson to “relax your lips, girl.” Another source of contention in the two icons’ relationship was a joint performance with James Brown in 1983 in L.A., during which Prince embarrassed himself by “nearly tumbl[ing] into the audience trying to pull down an oversize streetlamp prop” while shirtless.