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5 reasons Janet Jackson is an R&B legend

Amanda Parris

Janet Jackson is more than Michael Jackson’s sister. She's also more than a 50-year-old new mother, and more than the travesty that has gone down in history as nipplegate.

Listen to Marvin's Room, Sept 1st 2017

Marvin's Room with Amanda Parris on CBC Radio


Janet Jackson is a music legend and she deserves to be recognized as such. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. When the label told her to play it safe, Janet stuck to her vision

Janet fought to make her fourth studio album, the now iconic Rhythm Nation 1814. The label wanted her to stick with the formula of 1986's Control, which was a huge success. But Janet wasn’t interested in formula. She wanted to try something new: a concept album, one that would take a stand on social issues and delve into risky musical styles. Her gamble paid off: it was the best-selling album of 1990.

2. She is a different kind of hit-maker

With a single album (Rhythm Nation 1814), Janet made history several times. It is the only album in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart to have seven singles make it to the top five positions. It is also the only album to produce No. 1 hits in three separate years. The tour for the album is also the most successful debut tour in history.

3. She broke boundaries for women producers

Janet was the first ever woman to receive a Grammy nomination for best producer. Yeah. She did that.

4. She sets trends

From keys on hoop earrings to well-sculpted midriffs and beaded chokers, Janet has set numerous style trends that have sent teenage girls running to the mall. But her musical style has also influenced many. The hynoptic vibe of "That's the Way Love Goes" has been credited with influencing the sound of artists such as Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.

5. She is ever evolving

No album exhibited Janet's artistic evolution more than 1997's The Velvet Rope. Sporting red hair, tattoos and piercings, Janet delved into topics such as depression, queer sexuality, domestic abuse and erotica.

The Marvin's Room Playlist for Sept. 1, 2017

  1. Whitney Houston, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)"
  2. Erykah Badu, "On & On"
  3. SZA, "Supermodel"
  4. Will feat. City Fidelia, "No Rain No Flowers"
  5. Janelle Monae feat. Prince, "Givin’ Em What they Love"
  6. Allan Rayman feat. Jessie Reyez, "Repeat"
  7. Marvin Gaye, "Since I Had You"
  8. Janet Jackson, "I Get Lonely"
  9. Kennedy Rd, "Take Away"
  10. Macy Gray, "Sweet Baby"
  11. Tanika Charles, "Dancing with Your Ghost"
  12. Dante Leon, "Fly Away"