In what became a race to the top among pop icons, Janet Jackson bested Madonna to claim her ninth No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Doesn’t Really Matter” on Aug. 26, 2000, and, with the chart-topper, became the first artist with Hot 100 No. 1s in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. (Madonna would join the club just weeks later, when her single “Music” knocked Jackson from the top spot.)
“Matter” was released from the soundtrack to Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, co-starring Jackson and Eddie Murphy. Then 34, the youngest of the musically talented Jackson children had wrapped the 1990s at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Top Artist of the Decade chart, behind only Mariah Carey. Between “Matter” and the following year’s seven-week Hot 100 No. 1 “All for You,” Jackson looked prime to expand her chart conquests into the new millennium.
That momentum, however, came to a screeching halt on Feb. 1, 2004 when, during a halftime performance at Super Bowl XXXVIII, Justin Timberlake tore open Jackson’s costume, exposing one of her breasts to 140 million TV viewers. The infamous “wardrobe malfunction” led to a media firestorm and FCC investigation and Jackson’s career suffered heavily in the immediate years. Positive results started in 2006 with the top 25 Hot 100 hit with “Call on Me,” with Nelly, and she bettered that in 2008 with “Feedback” (No. 19), though she has yet to touch the top 10 again. On the Billboard 200 albums chart, though, she did collect two more No. 1s with Discipline (2008) and Unbreakable (2015).
Most recently, Jackson gave birth to her first child, Eissa Al Mana, in 2017, and released a four-episode, self-titled documentary earlier this year. The singer has revealed plans for a forthcoming album, Black Diamond, but it has yet to receive an official announcement or release date. “It’s so funny because I see the fans asking, ‘When are we going to get Black Diamond?’ ‘Will you please release?’,” she told ESSENCE for its July/August 2022 cover. “There will be music at some point. Exactly when? I can’t say just yet, but there will be. I love it too much not to do it. This is all I know. There’s so much that I want to do — but my number one job is being a mama.”