“No my first name ain’t baby, it’s Janet. Miss Jackson if you’re nasty”.
That line has become legendary in the twenty-three years since it first was popularized, but a lot of folks forget how surprising it was to hear it coming out of Baby Jackson’s mouth at the time. After releasing two albums of sugary-sweet pop/soul, Janet traveled to Minneapolis to meet up with producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, changing the course of her career forever. Jam & Lewis helped Janet come up with songs that took her far away from the fantasy world she and most of her family seemed to be living in. By adding in some hip-hop attitude and a whole lot of sass, Janet was humanized. “Nasty” remains their greatest work, even if Janet’s Jackee-esque voice is a little funny now. The producers’ keyboard work is inventive, Janet’s vocal is tough as nails, even the video is killer (see if you can spot Paula Abdul in the clip).
Of course, now that Janet herself has turned into a Nasty Girl, I wonder how she feels about this song.