More influential pop queen: Janet Jackson or Madonna? | The Tylt

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More influential pop queen: Janet Jackson or Madonna?

Madonna and Janet Jackson allegedly have been rival pop queens for decades. There were even rumors of a feud in the '90s. If anything, they've thrown shade back and forth. In an interview, Janet was asked about what she thought about going head-to-head with Madonna.

Janet responded:

"It's dance music. I'll say that, which is very similar. I do I put this? I think what I do has class to it. I'll say that."

In a separate interview with MTV, Madonna said she doesn't know why Janet dissed her. But before Madonna's Super Bowl performance in 2012, she took a swipe at Janet (in reference to Nipplegate).

Madonna said:

“I have not mainstreamed and I’m not planning anything naughty. I’m planning something super entertaining. Yep, yep! You don’t have to show nipples to be interesting or and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cutting edge if you do right?”

Regardless of the shade and any alleged feud, both pop queens have had a huge impact on generations of artists and entertainers. Both pop icons are also regarded as sex symbols, gay icons and are among the best-selling artists of all time.

Michael Jackson wasn't the only artist to be considered a visionary. Janet's visually-compelling concepts helped redefine music videos, and inspired both artists and fans across gender and color lines. Madonna remained a pop cultural phenomenon by constantly reinventing herself, spearheading trends and pushing the envelope. So, you tell us, which female artist is the most influential?

But first, check out this clip of shady moments shared between Janet and Madonna.


Janet has inspired many artists across genres due to her addictive crossover tunes, versatility, complex choreography and signature dance moves. After all, she's the Empress of Pop.

Ciara, Beyoncé, and Britney regard Janet as one of their biggest influences. Miss Jackson has inspired Rihanna, Chris Brown, Usher, Pink, Mÿa, Tinashe, Jason Derulo, Kendrick Lamar, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, Cassie, Justin Timberlake, TLC, and Aaliyah. And these are only a few artists who have been influenced by the Empress of Pop.

Kendrick is considered this generation's greatest rapper, while Britney is regarded as the Princess of Pop. But what these artists share in common, regardless of genre, is the influence of Janet Jackson. That's her level of impact on pop music. She's one of the few artists who has crossed over into many musical genres and styles, including hip hop, R&B, soul, new jack swing, hard rock, soft rock, and dance-pop.

While some would argue that Janet's legacy was tainted by Nipplegate, the JanFam is reclaiming the crown and honoring Janet's impact on popular music with the title Empress of Pop.


Madonna is the Queen of Pop. Hence, there are so many Madonna Wannabes. If you thought her 1984 VMA performance was iconic, she later paid homage to it by performing with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at the 2003 VMAs. And we all remember that epic kiss she shared with Britney. Sorry, Xtina.

Madonna literally paved the way for so many female artists, and she's broken down barriers. She's the ultimate symbol of sex, fashion, and controversy in pop music history. Most of her music is about empowering women and LGBTQ people to be free. Just listen to #1 hits "Express Yourself," "Justify My Love" and "Vogue."

It was Madonna's sexual expression that inspired Britney. It was M's mastery of reinvention that motivated Xtina. It was the Queen of Reinvention's sense of style and fashion that influenced Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It was the Queen of Pop's showgirl stage presence that Queen Bey models herself after. And it's Madonna's "give-no-fucks-like attitude" that Bad Gal RiRi now lives by.

Many artists feel empowered to use their art to be controversial, create trends, be innovative and evolve each and every time because of the Queen of Pop. Like she declared, "Bitch, I'm Madonna."


Janet—well Miss Jackson, if you're nasty—is the epitome of a groundbreaking artist. She broke down many barriers for both Black artists and women in music, but alongside Tina Turner and Whitney Houston, she helped pave the way for other Black female entertainers.

Janet made her mega breakthrough in 1986, with her third studio "Control." (Her first two albums "Janet Jackson" and "Dream Street" were only moderately successful.) "Control" is regarded as an iconic conceptual album. It was Janet declaring her independence as young woman and artist, breaking out on her own, away from her father and family.

And she did just that by teaming up with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, with whom she would later collaborate frequently with. The rest is literally history! Her breakthrough LP gave her a string of mega hits, including "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Nasty," "When I Think of You," "Control," "Let's Wait Awhile" and "The Pleasure Principle."

Janet rose to prominence in the mid-'80s, but the best was yet to come. She broke more records with her follow-up albums, including "Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814," "Janet," "The Velvet Rope" and "All for You." 


Madonna earned her honorific titles "Queen of Pop" and "Queen of Reinvention."

Her debut album of the same name was a success, but her sophomore album "Like a Virgin" turned her into a huge pop icon. The album not only featured the #1 hit of the same name but also mega smash hits "Material Girl" and "Into the Groove."

Madonna set trends with her style and actions, and never stayed complacent with where she was as an artist. She continued to push boundaries and set new trends throughout the '80s. Not only that, her music and showgirl-like antics challenged what was considered "acceptable" for how a woman should express her sexuality.

Everyone wanted to be Madonna in the '80s. Hence, her fans are called Wannabes.

Listen to Madonna's mega breakthrough album "Like a Virgin" below via Spotify.


After "What Have You Done for Me Lately" and "Nasty" became pop hits, "When I Think of You" became Janet's first #1 pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Though the former singles are regarded as signature Janet songs, "When I Think of You" became the first of 10 #1 pop hits on the Hot 100. But don't get it twisted. Janet has scored a total of 27 top 10 pop hits on the Hot 100. And she accomplished that by crossing over into many other genres. Janet has scored a wide range of hits on the adult contemporary, R&B/hip-hop songs and dance charts in the last 30 years.

Below are some notable lyrics to "When I Think of You," per Genius.

🎶 It's when I think of you, baby, nothing else seems to matter. It's when I think of you, baby. All I think about is our love. 🎶

Watch the fun music video below. 


Who doesn't remember Madonna taking the stage at the 1984 VMAs and creating one of the most iconic performances ever? She performed her mega #1 hit "Like a Virgin," and her rolling around on stage in a wedding dress was epic, to say the least. That's when the Queen of Pop was born; from that moment on, Madonna ruled popular culture. Hands down.

Below are significant lyrics to "Like a Virgin," also thanks to Genius.

🎶 Like a virgin, touched for the very first time. Like a virgin, hen your heart beats next to mine.🎶

Watch the iconic music video below.


Janet's "Rhythm Nation 1814" broke so many records. The "Rhythm Nation World Tour" is regarded as the highest-grossing debut tour from an artist in the history of music. Plus, she remains the only artist to ever release seven top 5 pop hits on the Hot 100 chart from the same album, including:

"Miss You Much" (peaked at #1)
"Rhythm Nation" (peaked at #2)
"Escapade (peaked at #1)
"Alright (peaked #4)"
"Come Back to Me" (peaked at #2)
"Black Cat" (peaked #1)
"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" (peaked #1)

Listen to Janet's magnum opus, "Rhythm Nation," below.


Below are some notable lyrics to Janet's "Rhythm Nation," one of her most signature hits, per Genius.

🎶 People of the world today. Are we looking for a better way of life. Sing!—We are a part of the rhythm nation. People of the world unite. Strength in numbers we can get it right, one time. We are a part of the rhythm nation.🎶

Watch Janet show off her intricate moves in the groundbreaking music video below. 


Madonna followed up "Like a Virgin" with "True Blue," which also topped the Billboard 200 album chart. She cemented herself as not only a trendy pop star but as a respected artist and entertainer with "True Blue."

Her third LP put her on a pop playing field with Michael Jackson and Prince in the '80s. Not only that but with "True Blue," Madonna took the crown as the most successful female artist of the '80s. "True Blue" is regarded as one of Madonna's best albums, if not arguably her magnum opus. The album features an array of hits on the Hot 100, including:

"Live to Tell" (peaked at #1)"Papa Don't Preach" (peaked at #1)"True Blue" (peaked at #3)"Open Your Heart" (peaked at #1)La Isla Bonita (peaked at #4)

Listen to the legendary album below.


Below are some significant lyrics to "Papa Don't Preach," one of Madonna's controversial smash hits, per Genius.

🎶 Papa don't preach. I'm in trouble deep. Papa don't preach. I've been losing sleep. But I made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby. Ooh, I'm gonna keep my baby, mmm.🎶

Watch the iconic music video below.


#TeamJanet because no other artist has inspired so many entertainers across genres, gender, and racial lines like the Empress of Pop.


#TeamMadonna because no one else has ever topped the Queen of Pop and Queen of Reinvention.

More influential pop queen: Janet Jackson or Madonna?
A festive crown for the winner