Janet Jackson

Episode 320: Janet Jackson's 'Rhythm Nation 1814'

Episode 320: Janet Jackson's 'Rhythm Nation 1814'

With Control, Janet Jackson became a household name, but it wasn't until her 1989 album Rhythm Nation 1814 that she ascended to the status of music legend. 

Buttressed by pop hits and jam-packed with hooks set loose from some future utopia, Nation was a not-so-subtle exploration of racism, sexism, love, and social responsibility that sought to elevate our humanity by any means necessary. More importantly, it's an album who's messages sadly may be MORE relevant almost thirty years later.

Join Kevin, Marcus K. Dowling, and Timothy Anne Burnside (National Museum of African American History and Culture) as they consider this landmark achievement in music.


ROCKTOBER 2012: 1986 - Show Me Round Your Fruit Cage

If 1984 and 1985 were the years that the wave of awesome that was the 80’s crested, then 1986 might be mostly remembered as the year the tide of cool began its retreat back into the depths of the murky, musical abyss from whence it came. Mostly.

Oh sure, there were still high points. Some socially important one’s too. The 80’s were a time when segregation was still very much in effect on the radio dial and on MTV, and 1986 in particular was a year in which more artists than ever fought, and won, the battle to bring people together, regardless of their skin color, sex or nationality. The Beastie Boys released their classic debut Licensed To Ill, with its break out mega hit (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!), and in doing so were the first hip-hop act in history to reach #1 on the Billboard Charts. Likewise, RUN-D.M.C. didn’t just blur the boundaries between rap and rock when they recorded “Walk This Way” with 70’s stalwarts Aerosmith; they blew those distinctions up and paved the way for an entirely new genre of music. Paul Simon’s Graceland took afro-pop sounds and caressed them into a folky mold, producing not only one of the biggest hits of his career, but arguably one of the most important albums in history. And Janet Jackson’s Control, with its hit’s “Nasty,” “Control” and “What Have You Done For Me Lately” not only established the gloved ones younger sibling as an important artist in her own right, but her domination of the charts sent a shot across the industry’s male dominated bow saying that women were here NOW, and they were likely about to take over.