5 Steps to Making Michael Jackson's 'Xscape' Album

1. Original Tracks

The tracks on "Xscape" were cut between 1983 and 1999. Jackson would work on 70 or more songs for a record, and finish as many as 40.

2. The Vaults  

Karen Langford pulled recordings from the archives. "We call her 'the archivist,'" says John Branca,  co-executor of the Jackson estate. "With help from John Doelp at  Sony, we reviewed the music and then reviewed it with [Reid]."

3. The Edit

The edit Reid and Doelp edited 24 tracks down to 14, looking for songs Jackson had sung multiple times, which indicated a level of connection worth pursuing.

4. The Remakes

The producers mostly worked from vocal tracks only. "When you heard his vocals, there was a map to follow," says J-Roc, who worked with Timbaland. Deviation didn't fly. "One time we was into hip-hop - like, 'Everything's got to be straight ratchet hood.' It just felt like oil and water."

5. The Pace

Timbaland and J-Roc completed a song a day, which they fine-tuned with Reid. Stargate - which had turned down the first track Reid played for the pair - took closer to a week.