Michael certainly gets credit for his contributions and great singing. Thriller, as well as Michael Jackson's previous efforts, definitely make him a groundbreaking artist who paved the way for other African American performers, especially on MTV. Still, it does not make him a musical genius.
Michael teamed up with Quincy Jones in 1987 for the album Bad, which pretty much describes most of the music on this highly overrated piece. My opinion aside, this album still did amazingly well worldwide, although it didn't live up to the success of Thriller. Around this time, Michael was still a hot pop commodity, but he started becoming a parody of himself: his songs sounded like clichés of older hits; his dancing became repetitive; he started grabbing his crotch constantly and he looked like a white female in the making. Still, his Bad tour proved that he was still an excellent entertainer. Michael Jackson danced up a storm, brought audiences to their feet, and sold out show after show. Still, this wasn’t the work of a “musical genius.” If one wanted to see one, they should have checked out Prince’s Lovesexy tour around the same time.
By the time Dangerous was released, Michael Jackson had become a musical joke, but not enough of one to put a huge red stamp on a long lasting career, which his child molestation allegations eventually did. A musical genius does not need to title himself “King of Pop,” a title Michael told radio stations and MTV they must use in order to have access to his work. A musical genius also does not write and produce sappy songs such as “Heal The World,” a song a first grader could have written.
The HIStory album came out after Michael paid his way out of child molestation allegations. Despite a nazi-like promotional campaign that put the most shameful musical acts to shame, the album didn't live up to expectations in the United States, selling 2.5 million copies to date (but somehow over-shipped by a million and certified 7X platinum) and was considered a major disappointment due to the incredible pre-hype buzz. The album has done much better outside of the USA.