Janet Jackson kept her ‘Rhythm Nation’ album a secret from her label because of its socially conscious message


Janet Jackson’s albums have played a major role in music over the years, including her iconic 1989 album Janet Jackson’s Rhythmic Nation 1814. He was revolutionary at the time for several reasons including his political messages. And while Jackson was passionate about including his ideas in his music, his label initially disagreed.

Janet Jackson | Francois Nel/Getty Images

Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ album had a powerful message

Janet Jackson didn’t really have a choice when it came to her career: she was the youngest child of the famous Jackson family, who rose to prominence through her brothers and their band, The Jackson 5. Child, Jackson performed with his family on their TV show and in their various stage performances.

She launched her solo music career in 1982 – the same year her brother Michael released his hit album Polar. But it wasn’t until 1986 that she broke through with it Control album. Three years later, she changed music forever with her Rhythmic Nation 1814 album.

For years, pop music was meant to be light and fun for the listener, rather than exploring current issues. With rhythm nationJackson wanted to face the most important issues of the day head-on. The album polarized critics as she openly sang about issues including racism, poverty and drug addiction.

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Janet Jackson kept ‘Rhythm Nation’ from her label

Jackson considered doing Rhythmic Nation 1814 in his 2022 docuseries Janet Jackson. She claimed that her music – including rhythm nation – came entirely from her and her heart.

“I love the creative process,” she said proudly. “There are a lot of people who think I just walked into the studio and sing, but I write. I write lyrics, I write melodies.

When did the time come to record his next album after Control, she knew she wanted to incorporate modern topics into her lyrics. His longtime producer and collaborator Jimmy Jam confessed that he didn’t think rhythm nation would fly with his label, A&M Records.

“She talks about race relations; she talks about crime, drugs and lack of education. And it wasn’t the kind of record that was on the pop charts at the time,” he admitted. “rhythm nation was a bit risky. We knew making a socially responsible album was probably not what the record company or anybody else thought we should probably be doing. So we didn’t tell them!

For her part, Jackson knew she wanted to use her voice for good. “There were things in the world that concerned me – things that I wanted to say.”

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The ‘Rhythm Nation’ tour made Janet Jackson a superstar

With a hit album under her belt, Jackson embarked on her Rhythm Nation World Tour in 1990. Since she hadn’t toured to support her Control album, it was his first tour and his first chance to introduce himself to the world.

With over 2 million participants worldwide, the Rhythm Nation World Tour was the biggest debut tour ever by an artist – a record it still holds to this day.

RELATED: Janet Jackson had a terrifying dream the night before her Rhythm Nation record tour


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