The upcoming collaboration between Akon and Michael Jackson, "Hold My Hand," leaked online earlier this month. I won't post the mp3 here because the web sheriff has been busy taking it down, but it's not too hard to locate.
Let me first say that I love Akon. The tone of his voice is so appealing, and everything he touches turns to mainstream gold, including collaborations with everyone from Gwen Stefani to Snoop Dogg. Akon and Michael's voices blend together nicely on this midtempo ballad. It's just a sweet, well-put-together song.
One funny thing about the track is that two men singing "Hold My Hand" to each other creates an unintentional homoerotic subtext, something that has been occurring with surprising regularity in recent months in the R&B world (remember Timbaland repeatedly urging Justin Timberlake, "Get your sexy on!")
Evidently "Hold My Hand" is intended for Akon's next album, not Michael's, so the jury is still out as to when Michael will release his follow-up to 2001's embarrassingly bad Invincible. If "Hold My Hand" is any indication, Michael would be wise to work with Akon on the project.