From The Vault: Artists Against AIDS Worldwide – ‘What’s Going On?’

Published: Sunday 11th Aug 2013 by Joe

This week’s From The Vault pick was released in 2001 and is quite literally what “Urban-Pop dreams” are made of. We present you Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On?’ by ensemble cast Artists Against AIDS Worldwide.

The project, which consisted of numerous remixes of the Pop-Culture landmark (each time featuring different vocalists), was helmed in a bid to raise funds for AIDS programs in Africa and other poverty-stricken territories. Though recorded prior the 9/11 tragedy, the track was released in October 2001 and saw 50% of its profit also going to the United Way’s 9/11 fund (with the half going to the AIDS relief effort).

Featuring an All-Star line-up of 2001’s finest acts, two radio versions made the rounds. Both produced by Bono and Jermaine Dupri, they saw acts such as Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, Usher, *N’SYNC, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Nelly, Ja Rule, Jennifer Lopez, Lil Kim, Nas, Wyclef Jean, TLC, Nelly Furtado, Backstreet Boys, Diddy, Gwen Stefani, Mary J.Blige, Eve and Monica to name but a few, trade verses and lines. Marvin’s daughter, Nona Gaye, is also featured aptly singing the “father, father” line.

Without any promotion, the song managed to peak at #27 in the US and an impressive #6 on the UK charts.

The videos, cooked up courtesy of Jake Scott, depict the artists as they remove “labelled” blindfolds from their eyes, symbolizing how society is blinded by prejudice and how we need to open our eyes… which ties in perfectly with the original message of the masterpiece of a track that is ‘What’s Going On?

It’s happenings like this one that make “Pop” (in the broader sense) one of the most exciting genres in mainstream music. In addition to being a tremendous initiative to raise awareness about AIDS and give back to the American Red Cross, it had the huge selling point of featuring all the top artists of that time on a single track – in similar fashion as Bob Geldof‘s Band Aid and Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie‘s USA For Africa – providing the genre’s enthusiasts with a glimpse of what their favorites acts would sound like together, also serving up some odd pairings that, somehow, “work”.

Great track for a great cause!

With this gem being recorded over a decade ago and the industry constantly changing, we’d like to know…

Is your ‘fave’ still relevant?

Bonus: Peep the video for JD’s R&B remix after the jump…

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  1. heavy metal lover 2.0 August 11, 2013

    Tbh their all flops now including Britney.

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  2. Faf August 11, 2013

    Yup all hasbeens now especially kim

    • FAF August 11, 2013

      nothing better to do than use my name without my avatar. f****** sad and a FLOP go have sunday dinner with your family, F***

  3. Chris August 11, 2013

    that was a dumb question, They’re all still around

  4. Yep! August 11, 2013

    Back when there still was enough talent to do Something like this… Now people only care about the often inflated sales and everything under the sun minus actual talent. There was more substance to this song and video than in the last 6 yrs of Pop combined.

    • FAF August 11, 2013

      b****, u acting like they wrote it, this is Marvin Gaye’s popular song 🙄 y’all make me sick with this “Nowadays, music…” yaddayaddayadda b******* on TGJ

  5. Ugh August 11, 2013

    They are all “still around”. The question is if they are still relevant…..nope all of them have fallen off in a sense including every member of Destiny’s Child and every member of Nsync.

    • 2bad2bme August 12, 2013

      how is that statement true when Beyonce performed at the inauguration, and headlined the super bowl/ performed with destiny’s child two weeks later and is on a world tour selling out every arena before her album drops later this year and still hasn’t put out a first single yet all in 2013 alone???

  6. Ugh August 11, 2013

    Also this was a GREAT song. They couldn’t it do today with most of these s***** flops yall stan for including Nicki Minaj…….

    • FAF August 11, 2013

      UGH is right…. which is why it only charted top 30…if NIcki was on it, it would’ve been a top ten 😆

      but thats what they get for having Saw chin aka Krimlin on a record talking about world issues

      she’s the reason we have A***, slores (Rihanna) etc.

      this could NEVER happen today with the llamas half u b****** stan for & miming antics the so-called “90s divas” are now using

      Autotune, TRASH 😆

      • Rosie August 11, 2013

        Ugh @ YOUR trash taste in music. Icki couldn’t even get I’m Out (Of The Charts) top 40 (in fact it’s almost out of the top 100), what makes you think she would make a charity single do so?
        And kii @ the sorry Lana shade. The queen STAYS on your mind.

  7. Traviie Smith August 11, 2013

    Rita whora needs be sued for her truffling ways spreading heroes like its Nutella smh!!!

  8. FAF August 11, 2013

    LOL @ UGH & YEP cosigning eachother.. a same IP address MESS

    and to answer your question, sam they’re all still doing well except Krimlin

    atleast Christina’s making millions yearly & not cutting her face all up, she also has lost her weight & looks great 😀

  9. FAF August 11, 2013

    And Nelly’s last US effort flopped, but her Spanish album was a force & did well in the latin market… Pink is still slaying WW charts 😆 so yup, everyone’s still basically doing their thing except the one b**** who doesn’t write her own lyrics *shrug*

    • jAMILAA August 11, 2013

      kim stay on ya mind all day…n**** u sound mad as hell thou

  10. Daniel Teflon August 11, 2013

    I like all the re-makes of the song because its a WORLDLY SONG!!

  11. Nikko August 11, 2013

    Wow britney and beyonce sound good together…… Duet please 2013!!!!!!!

    • Ugh August 11, 2013

      No lol

  12. Tisha August 11, 2013

    As a child at the time I never realized there were two versions of the song, wow.

    Honestly I think the remix was better, had more soul and heartfelt emotion. Ja Rule’s lines say it so well.

    Amazing to see how much the musical landscape changed and yet nearly all these people are still here respected on some level.

  13. garbaj August 11, 2013

    faf a*** infested ass decided to show up?

  14. Absolved August 11, 2013

    You couldn’t have waited another month or so to pull this out of the vault? Would have been more charming to recollect this closer to the 9/11 anniversary.

  15. Dave August 12, 2013

    Monica & Christina’s VOCALS on this!!!!

    Mary sounded great too

    Usher’s vocals >>>>>>>>>

    The substance and quality >>>>

    Too bad all people care about is their ‘faves’ position on the charts and their popularity, even if their sacrificing keeping fame for generic pop songs.

  16. credits August 12, 2013

    Monica’s vocals were everything. Whenever i think about this song i mostly remember it for her part and that adlib, “what’s going on? heey-ye-yeahh” lol.

    awwee look at lil’ kim when she still had some of the features she was born with….

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