Though many don’t know it, the King of Pop did have a rap phase later in his career. On “Drink Champs,” during the Pharrell Williams episode, N.O.R.E. asked the legendary producer about songs that ended up on Justin Timberlake’s Justified album. Allegedly, they were originally meant for Michael Jackson. Pharrell explained that after he sent the songs to MJ, Jackson called him and said he wanted beats more like what he was giving Noreaga for the track “Superthug.”

As much as MJ seemed to love Hip Hop, the culture loved him back tenfold. There is no shortage of emcees paying homage to the late icon through their lyrics, and REVOLT has compiled the very best Michael Jackson name-drops on wax for you to check out below — in no particular order.

1. Holy Grail by JAY-Z feat. Justin Timberlake: “N**ga, livin’ the life, vanilla wafers in a villa/ Illest n**ga alive, Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

This list kicks off with a quintessential JAY-Z stunt rap. Eating vanilla wafers in a villa is the perfect combo of regularity and luxury. Bringing what many could refer to as a hood snack into a resort is a classic Hov flex.

He then closes the bar by cementing his reign and comparing himself to the King of Pop at the top of his fame. Hov sometimes uses clever wordplay to make his point, and other times, he just gets straight to it. This is an example of the latter.

2. 1Train by ASAP Rocky feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Badass, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Big K.R.I.T.: “Antsy ’cause I’m high like Michael Jackson/ Penny loafers moonwalkin’ on the sun, barefoot, with shades on.”

With these two lines on ASAP Rocky’s “1Train,” wacky Detroit emcee Danny Brown captures the full Michael Jackson aesthetic. He references the alleged drug problems in MJ’s late life, initially comparing the legend’s mindset to his own. Then, he paints a picture of himself doing MJ’s signature dance moves in reaction to uppers.

Brown has since committed to sobriety, but in his early career, he was a poster child for drug rap. His zany delivery blended seamlessly with his more abrasive content.

3. The Race by Tay-K: “B**ch try to rob, we make her dance, Michael Jackson/ We was plottin’, y’all was tryna get the pack in.”

This song was used as evidence in a court of law to eventually help convict the young rapper, who was sentenced to 55 years in prison. It was also the song that gave Tay-K his initial notoriety. Part of what made him go viral was his raw display of reality blended with slick wordplay.

Tay-K’s bar is a reference to MJ’s toe-tapping dance moves. The emcee uses this imagery to portray a woman whose feet he is shooting at for attempting to rob him. It’s a harrowing use of the singer’s name.

4. Best Friend by Young Thug: “Michael Jackson, n**ga, Thugger Jackson moonwalkin’/ The S.L.I.M.E. army tool shoppin’.”

One of Young Thug’s early breakout singles was the ultra dynamic “Best Friend.” Within it, you could hear him mastering the jarring range of his delivery. Though comparing them vocally may be a stretch, Thugga and MJ share a habit of fluctuating melodies.

Thug puts his own moniker in front of MJ’s last name in his bar, playfully taking on Jackson’s dance, and then, in typical Thug fashion, moving right on to a rhyme about his crew shopping for weaponry.

5. BedRock by Lil Wayne: “She got that good-good, she Michael Jackson bad/ I’m attracted to her, or her attractive a**.”

One of the most recognizable MJ bars arrives next on this list. Wayne was not the first or the last to compliment a beautiful woman by referencing MJ’s use of the word “bad.” Yet, the line remains iconic to this day. There is no single that defined the peak of the Young Money era more than “BedRock.” Every major act on the cut had a memorable verse with catchy bars.

6. Toosie Slide by Drake: “I could dance like Michael Jackson/ I could give you thug passion/ It’s a Thriller in the trap where we from.”

Drizzy dropped the epitome of a pandemic TikTok dance song. The track, along with the accompanying visual of him dancing around his mansion, was equal parts mocked and revered.

One thing the song accomplished was giving Drake an outlet to show his reverence for MJ. He also slipped in a reference to Thriller while mentioning the Toronto hoods his friends grew up in. More than anything, this track was just good fun.

7. Ghostface Killers by Offset and 21 Savage feat. Travis Scott: “Diamonds glassy, need some glasses for the flashes, yeah/ Michael Jackson with this fashion, b**ch, I’m dabbin’, yeah.”

Offset literally has a Michael Jackson tattoo on his stomach. You probably have also seen him cosplaying as Jackson on the internet. So, naturally, he earned a spot on this list.

In this bar, he aligns his own fashion sense with Jackson’s. Offset seems particularly inspired by the MJ fits that have the most illuminating presence. As he ventures into a solo career, much like Jackson once did, it makes sense he would want to align himself with the legend’s aura.

8. Nuketown by Ski Mask The Slump God feat. Juice WRLD: “Michael Jackson, one glove, I hit, uh-huh/ Crying in the club with my stick, uh-huh.”

This delivery of an MJ bar is truly one of a kind. The two lines work together to describe a drunken club vibe where Ski Mask The Slump God is dancing in MJ attire and getting emotional.

The lines are delivered like a flex, which makes them feel quite humorous. Why Ski Mask is crying in the club with a gun for protection is unknown, yet the image of him doing so while wearing one shimmering white glove is something you can’t forget.

9. Patiently Waiting by 50 Cent feat. Eminem: “I’ll split ya, leave you lookin’ like the Michael Jackson jackets with all them zippers/ I’m the boss on this boat, you can call me Skipper.”

An impeccably memorable line was delivered here by Queens legend 50 Cent. He takes a more explicit route when comparing Jackson’s classic red-zippered jacket to a bloodstain. While there are other references to the infamous jacket in rap, this may be the most effective.

10. Slow Jamz by Kanye West, Twista and Jamie Foxx: “She got a light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson/ Got a dark-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson.”

This MJ line is so well-known that when the song was played at a party, the DJ would mute this part to let the crowd say it out loud. “Slow Jamz” was an iconic cultural moment at the beginning of Kanye’s solo career. It was only right that he referenced MJ as a sign of the trajectory to come.

11. HOLIDAY by Lil Nas X: “Poppin’ up in movies, ain’t no Nas-y, b**ch, it’s Ashton/ Hee, hee, I’m bad as Michael Jackson.”

On his track “HOLIDAY,” Lil Nas X shows off the full force of his glittery superstardom. This, of course, is the perfect canvas for him to drop a mention of MJ.

This is the only bar on the list that enlists Jackson’s famous “hee hee” ad-lib. As so much of modern Hip Hop includes wild and ranging signature ad-libs, it’s safe to say MJ had a huge influence on the contemporary genre.

12. Devil’s Work by Joyner Lucas: “At least take James Holmes, I ain’t even mad at that/ Just bring back Whitney, and give us Michael Jackson back.”

Throughout this song, Joyner Lucas grapples with God’s decision making. He wonders why some people are taken too early while others — who he feels don’t deserve it — stay alive, specifically asking why God took Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson but let mass shooter James Holmes live. On this track, he calls his faith into question and pleads for an answer to this daunting predicament.

13. Mathematics by Yasiin Bey: “Forty percent of Americans own a cellphone/ So they can hear everythin’ that you say when you ain’t home/ I guess Michael Jackson was right — you are not alone.”

This bar by Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, was ridiculously clever. He delivered a line evoking societal commentary on the state of U.S. civilian surveillance right at the beginning of the cellphone boom. Bey used this topic to name drop MJ and, more importantly, reference his lyrics. This is the only bar on our list that references his track “You Are Not Alone” and does so with a deft hand.

14. Perfect Imperfection by Kevin Gates: “I’m Michael Jackson, I’m reincarnated/ I channel this spirit like Ali, the greatest.”

In this braggadocious bar, Gates seems to be claiming he is actually MJ in the flesh. Obviously, the “Birds Calling” rapper was born before Jackson passed, but here, he suggests his spirit lives on through him.

Gates then doubles down on his lingering aura. Not only is he spirited by MJ but also one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali. It’s pretty safe to say that Gates isn’t lacking in confidence.

15. Karate Chop by Future feat. Lil Wayne: “Blowing money, stay clean/ Michael Jackson, Billie Jean.”

The standout Future single “Karate Chop” set him up perfectly to flaunt his worth. Future reached the peak of swagger among rappers from his era. On this MJ bar, he makes sure to compare his style to that of Jackson’s in one of his most iconic videos. “Billie Jean” is so iconic, in fact, that it was during a live performance of the track that MJ first debuted his moonwalk.

16. Look Alive by Rae Sremmurd: “Hey, I’m a smooth criminal/ Michael Jackson, moonwalkin’ like I’m on a pill or somethin’.”

Rae Sremmurd really blossomed on their second album. They had an array of hits including “Look Alive.” While Slim Jxmmi may be looked at as second to Swae Lee at times, he comes in first when the topic is MJ bars.

There is no energy more iconic than the feeling associated with Jackson’s single “Smooth Criminal.” Jxmmi makes sure to align himself with that aura. He then describes his own moonwalking as if he’s had some illicit enhancement to help.

17. LEFT RIGHT by Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti: “I’m off the bean, moonwalkin’ on my Michael Jackson s**t/ Okay, cool, okay, cool, diamonds dancin’ on my wrist.”

One could say both Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti have superstar energy. Whether you love or hate their music, their sounds have a gravitational pull. Thus, it is no surprise that Carti would name-drop the King of Pop on a track.

Rappers seem to love talking about themselves moonwalking because the legendary move has cemented its place in the history of the culture. Carti cleverly says that not only is he moonwalking but so is his jewelry.