While Michael Jackson had a close relationship with Sega, appearing in Space Channel 5 and starring in Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, there have long been stories of his involvement in the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack.
Back in 2009, Kotaku reported that the rumor had been confirmed by Jackson’s composer and musical director Brad Buxer, who said Jackson’s uncredited compositions ended up in the final soundtrack.
At the time, Buxer said that if Jackson wasn’t credited, which he isn’t, the reason is that he wasn’t happy with the resulting sound coming out of the console. “At the time, game consoles did not allow an optimal sound reproduction, and Michael found it frustrating. He did not want to be associated with a product that devalued his music...”
However, Ken Horowitz from Sega-16.com threw cold water on the claim, citing his own extensive research.
Then in 2016, the conspiracy surfaced again in a Huffington Post feature.
“I was working with Michael on the ‘Dangerous’ album,” Buxer told The Huffington Post, “and he told me he was going to be doing the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack for Sonic 3. He asked me if I would help him with it.”
Former Sega exec Roger Hector said that Jackson gave Sega a Sonic 3 soundtrack demo, adding, “It was a big secret.” In the same article, Buxer said many samples were made from Jackson’s beatboxing. “Of course there were Michael ‘he-he’s’ and other signature Michaelisms.”
Then, in 1993, Jackson was sued for alleged child molestation. A year later, Sonic 3 was released.
According to The Huffington Post’s feature, Jackson wasn’t happy with how his music sounded, controversy swirled around the molestation allegations, and yet, Jackson’s music apparently ended up in the game.
Now, in another interview (via ResetEra) recently posted on YouTube, Sonic creator Naoto Ohshima confirmed to writer John Szczepaniak that Jackson did send Sega a beatboxing soundtrack demo for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. He said it was “a multitrack recording in which every track was hummed by Michael Jackson.”
“Ultimately, due to various incidents which took place, we were not able to use the Michael Jackson songs,” Ohshima said. “But Sega probably still possesses that phantom Michael Jackson tape!”