From The Vault: Janet Jackson – ‘Rhythm Nation’

Published: Sunday 20th Nov 2016 by Joe

People of the world unite, strength in number we can get it right…

In 1989, Janet Jackson released her fourth album, the socially conscious ‘Rhythm Nation 1814.’ Given recent political events, we thought there was no better time to spotlight the album’s title track as our From The Vault pick.

Released as the LP’s second single, ‘Nation’ was – once again – the result of the work between Jackson and legendary duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. It contains a sample from Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Thank You’. Like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell before her, Jackson used this track to urge the youth to join forces and work together in order to improve their way of life.

A Pop-song-with-a-message, the release caused a colossal storm on a global scale. And although it missed the top of the US charts by one position – peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it still it reached #1 on the Hip-Hop/R&B tally.

Dominic Sena took the directorial helm of the anthem’s Grammy-winning video – which skewed more mini-movie that any of Jackson’s prior or subsequent efforts.

Set in a post-apocalyptic warehouse, it is arguably one of the most iconic dance videos and sequences in Pop Culture. Influenced by brother Michael’s own short film ‘Captain Eo’, the hard-hitting choreography remains a staple and an inspiration for even today’s biggest stars.

Ever the idealist, Janet’s idea behind shooting the video in black and white was so that everybody had the same skin color: grey. A minor detail to some, but the semantics of this reaffirm how well-thought-out the message and execution were.


From the US President-elect, to the BREXIT, to the one year anniversary of the Parisian terrorist attacks, it tends to be complicated to keep a positive outlook on life in such uncertain times.

Songs like ‘Rhythm Nation’ are what the world at large needs at this very moment; songs about hope, love, peace and unity.

Unfortunately, over 25 years after its release, the need for people to unite is stronger than ever. Hopefully 25 years from now we’ll finally be singing another tune.

More than ever, Janet, we salute you!

Your thoughts?

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  1. Cough Cough November 20, 2016

    Can’t nobody do it like Janet. Foreal, foreal.!!! This is so legendary!

  2. Pat November 20, 2016


  3. Kwinzy November 20, 2016

    Iconic af! This was the 80’s ‘Formation.’ Rhythm SLAYtion. Brit & CiCi could NEVER…

    • Black power November 20, 2016

      STOPPPP!!! There is nothing socially conscious or aware about formation… she’s on the addressing her haters and bragging about how she good she fuckks her man…

      Just because she added a few controversial scenes in her video does not bring it up to par with Ryhtem Nation & it’s impact.

    • Sebastian November 20, 2016

      Formation wishes… Rhythm Nation was one of the biggest hits of that year. Formation bombed on the charts.

  4. hotness90 November 20, 2016

    Wow watching that gave me goosebumps.Not many will ever give that level of performance point blank period.

  5. Stephy November 20, 2016

    Perfect song, perfect video, perfect album & perfect era. They don’t create popular masterpieces like this anymore.

  6. AALIYAH Dana carter November 20, 2016

    Legendary video! I may shade Janet but she is one of the most influential female artist of All time only behind Whitney and Madonna. It’s a shame that the Superbowl incident washed out her legacy. My thing is, this is a conscious album about social issues yet most of the singles released were love songs. The only single that was released that dealer with social issues was rhythm nation.

    • Ifusayso… November 20, 2016

      Nope… Black Cat was also released,went to number 1 and was socially conscious. The Knowledge was released as part of the Rythym Nation 1814 short/compilation.

    • hansomegumdrop November 20, 2016

      You shouldn’t be shading her there is she made your favorites

    • hansomegumdrop November 20, 2016

      The super bowl didn’t wash out her legacy cause she was still getting achievements that didn’t stop her and I believe she’s more influential then Madonna and Whitney especially Madonna cause nobody follows her blueprint they all copy Janet

  7. Jj November 20, 2016

    Buying awards like Beyoncé with Janet you earn them with true masterpieces like this one

  8. marta November 20, 2016

    It barely has 10 million views on Youtube. Flop! She has 0 classics and memorable hits. Mariah has that Christmas jingle, Whitney I Will Always Love You, Celine My Heart Will Go On, Madonna Like a Prayer, Janet has nothing.

    • Ifusayso… November 20, 2016

      If madonna has Like A Prayer Janet has Together again but I digress. Out of all the madonna songs that’s the one you choose? Anyways… Janet has Albums, and hole bodies of work.

      • marta November 20, 2016

        Like A Prayer is Madonna’s signature song. Sorry, but Janet was local US star, her music is not known at all in Europe.

    • RoyalKev November 20, 2016

      Lol @ RN not being a classic! It certainly is, if ever I saw one! You’re trying too hard to discredit the woman! RN cemented Janet’s place as a Pop music icon and surely made a splash all over the record books!

      • marta November 20, 2016

        Girl, her recurrent radio plays/catalog sales/streams are null, beyond tragic. Her music is completely forgotten. Most people know her because she is a Michael’s sister, not because of her music.

      • RoyalKev November 20, 2016

        Ok love, you can struggle with your little campaign until your fingers catch cramps from typing! We’ll try to believe that your not bothered by Janet’s success and legendary status! … Ugh! Do I listen to you or the history books? I just don’t know who to go with … O_o

    • hansomegumdrop November 20, 2016

      What about YouTube b**** mind YouTube was created because of Janet she has memorable huts then all your faves sad fan so go flight another article ignorant jackass

    • hansomegumdrop November 20, 2016

      Janet never had to be an attention w**** to gain popularity and mother f***** Janet the only artist to have one song play in different genres of radio but besides that your rhythm nation is better your fav whole discography matter a fact all her albums so find another to check

    • King B November 21, 2016

      I agree with you tbh. I’ve never heard any of her song, unlike the songs you’ve listed. Just add in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, True Colors and You’re Still The One/ From This Moment/Ka Ching

      • cocobutta November 21, 2016

        Did a bish mention youtube. Bish we had a VERY VERY popular music TELEVISION era that got you so much exposure you would sell multi million singles and albums with ease if your craft was on point.

        The struggle is so real now that industry had to use youtube to add to sales counts. Hunny television views never had to do that.
        Premium artist like Janet sold with ease. Control album set the tone to this LEGENDS legacy. The Jackson rebel who did it how SHE wanted.

  9. RoyalKev November 20, 2016

    Truly iconic! This may be Janet’s signature song and it’s certainly one of the most significant songs in Pop culture history. RN has been paid tribute in everything from the film Happy Feet to Glee. I love that Janet’s work really added substance to Pop music!

    • Sebastian November 20, 2016

      well it is the only song people (may) remember from her

      • marta November 20, 2016

        They don’t though.

      • RoyalKev November 20, 2016

        Right! No one remembers any of her 27 BB top 10 hits (although 10 of them reached #1)! We’ll take your word for it … O_o

      • Speak November 20, 2016

        Suicide f.a.g, at least state your b******* with your original account.

  10. marta November 20, 2016

    Even Cyndi Lauper has more classics than Tranet (not that hard since Tranet has 0) with Girls Just wanna Have Fun and True Colours.

    • Ifusayso… November 20, 2016

      Cyndi Lauper?… B**** where

    • hansomegumdrop November 20, 2016

      But where’s Cyndi lauper now her only memorable song is girls just wanna have fun why she stop making music now so shut the f*** up why u here you obsess with Janet cause you here b**** go to the medieval period and find Cyndi lauper and madonna

  11. Music & Blunts November 20, 2016


  12. Mark111 November 20, 2016

    Janet eras were always themed to a message. This was a message to the people, how dare some one compare it to a some talking about their haters, daughters hair, cheating husband nose or what restaurant they take their husband after the do them good. This song was about giving a damn and come together.
    I’m sorry, wait no Im not. Those other ladies that troll brought up albums or eras were never as well done as Janet’s.

  13. hansomegumdrop November 20, 2016

    Janet Jackson Queen of pop 👑 Empress of pop

  14. Music and Me November 20, 2016

    Rhythm Nation the album had more conscious music than the title track. State of the world, the Knowledge, interlude Race, Living in a World.

  15. Mariah Carey November 20, 2016

    We love Janet dahhling! Rhythm Nation is fantastic. It’s almost as good as my socially conscious 1990 (I wasn’t born then, I was in utero dahhhling!) single “There’s Got To Be A Way!” Love you Lambily 😘😘😘

  16. cocobutta November 21, 2016

    Next level this was at the time. Life is always given to a JJ video.
    This is truly ICONIC and helped birth the very few we have nowadays dancer/singers, singer/dancers.
    The message, the black and white, the choreography just brilliant. STANDING OVATION 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏 BRAVO to Legend Janet!! ⚘💜

  17. We Nowqd Redv dimnobut it ash trjoan ivy blobukz Need UK timely Ukuno eremxil November 22, 2016

    That’s amazing people still like the song

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