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Back in the day, Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson teamed up for “Whatzupwitu,” a song and accompanying music video that went on to receive critical condemnation. Though two A-listers sang in the clouds, their star power wasn’t enough to save the music video from the 2D art clipping flying around the sky. And, the lyrics and harmony are cheesy, a bit heavy-handed, and ultimately forgettable. Yet, because of the song, Murphy did get to know and work with one of the greatest pop legends of all time. 

Eddie Murphy and Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy |Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

During an interview with the New York Post, Murphy talked about working with Michael Jackson. He explained the kind of guy he was, and also noted how he could turn into the MJ everyone recognized seemingly at the drop of a hat. 

Eddie Murphy asked Michael Jackson to accompany him on the song

During Murphy’s interview with the New York Post, the interviewer noted that critics tend to “sh*t all over “whatzupwitu,”” before commenting that, all these years later, not many people boast footage dancing in the clouds alongside Jackson. Murphy said that getting Jackson to agree to work with him wasn’t very hard. He said:

“I asked, and he did it! I knew Michael since he was 19. The whole Jackson family was really warm to me. I was just hanging out with Jermaine a couple of months ago.”

Murphy | The New York Post

Murphy explained that, when the “Thriller” star sang with him, he was a simple family man, who was unencumbered by the public image he had acquired and the publicity craze that surrounded him later in life. 

Eddie Murphy on the Michael Jackson ‘persona’ 

Murphy told the New York Post:

“Michael wasn’t “Wacko Jacko” when he was with me. He was a real person with his family and kids, but he could turn on the persona of Michael Jackson instantly.” 

Murphy | The New York Post

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Murphy explained that, as soon as the cameras were out, or someone yelled “action,” Jackson immediately transformed. Murphy recalled:

“I remember being three feet away from him on the video for “Remember the Time” [which starred Murphy]. When someone yelled “action” and he started dancing and doing all that s–t, it was like he plugged into a wall.”

Eddie Murphy | The New York Post

While the song was not a success, it seems like the musical collaboration was. Murphy, throughout the video and beforehand, got to know the real Jackson. And, who would ever sacrifice the chance to work with the voice behind “Man in the Mirror?”