Jackson wrote and produced this song with Teddy Riley, who was one of the chief architects of the New Jack Swing movement in the late '80s and early '90s.
Riley recalled to Musicradar.com: "My biggest memory from that recording was that we used all car sounds as drum sounds and it came out perfectly. I didn't go out into the field and record actual car sounds and take back to the studio – I had a sample CD that was really cool. It wasn't something I'd done before; it was the first time I went for unusual sounds in the place of drums."
Aquil Davidson, a member of New Jack Swing Hip-Hop act Wreckx-N-Effect, wrote the rap lyrics. The other members of Wreckx-N-Effect were Markell Riley, the brother of Teddy Riley and his half brother Brandon Mitchell.
"Islands in the Stream" was originally written by The Bee Gees as an R&B song. It was originally written by the brothers for Marvin Gaye, however it was recorded instead as a duet by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton with the Gibb Brothers also contributing vocals.