Black Eyed Peas collaborator WILL.I.AM has branded pop superstar Michael Jackson "the smartest dude ever".
WILL.I.AM, who has been working with the THRILLER legend on his comeback album, concedes Jackson gave him an education while in the studio - and insists the star still embraces his black roots.
He says, "He's the smartest dude I ever met. Michael Jackson told me what rock 'n' roll meant. He said, 'Rock 'n' roll means having sex. That's what they used to say in the 1950s.'
"Chillin' with him (Jackson), you have an outlook on what Michael Jackson will be like. He is still real proud of being black."
Will.I.Am also took the opportunity to lavish praise on late soul star James Brown, adding working with two of his heroes helped him to "understand life".
He says, "I met James Brown, had the opportunity to work with him too. You get a couple of great people to help you live your life, to shed light on the earth."