The Great Debate: Beyoncé vs. Janet Jackson

Beyonce vs Janet JacksonIt’s customary for music-loving individuals to debate which songs, albums, and artists they consider the best, especially when comparing one artist head-to-head with another. Opinions are openly expressed, facts are justifiably revisited. It makes for a great, educational, and often aggressive but fun conversation. is going to start one right now!

Artist: Beyoncé
Debut: 1997
Albums: Dangerously In Love (2003), B’Day (2006), I Am…Sasha Fierce (2008), 4 (2011), Beyonce (2013)
Singles: “Crazy In Love,” “Check On It,” “Irreplaceable,” “Single Ladies,” “Halo,” “7/11”
#1s (Singles, Albums): 19


Artist: Janet Jackson
Debut: 1973
Albums: 11 total albums including Control (1986), janet (1993), The Velvet Rope (1997), Damita Jo (2004), 20 Y.O. (2006), Unbreakable (2015)
Singles: “Young Love,” “The Pleasure Principle,” “Escapade,” “If,” “Runaway,” “All For You,” “Doesn’t Really Matter,” “Call On Me,” “No Sleeep”
#1s (Singles, Albums): 20

Extraordinary. Polarizing. Captivating. These are three of many adjectives used to describe both Beyoncé and Janet Jackson.

As the little sister of the world famous group The Jacksons and with constant comparisons to “The King of Pop” Michael Jackson, Janet worked tirelessly to forge her own legacy as a recording artist. For her efforts she emerged triumphant from their shadow as one of the world’s true entertainment icons. Often teamed with production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, their longtime relationship led to some of the greatest songs of all time, topping Billboard’s pop and R&B charts several times over in four different decades. When performing live, Janet creates an unforgettable spectacle.

We were introduced to Beyoncé as the leading voice of quartet-turned-trio Destiny’s Child, a breakout group who hit the scene and never looked back. During their meteoric rise as Billboard darlings, it was always assumed Beyoncé had solo success in her future. Once on her own her star went supernova. Dominating pop and R&B, a new generation clung to everything she released. A trendy artist with traditional soul fundamentals, Beyoncé quickly became a world-renowned spectacle, a fiery performer, drawing comparisons to Tina Turner.

To those who felt Beyoncé didn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Tina, she proved again and again just how inaccurate they were. Janet did the same with comparisons to Michael. Both women are worth discussing without being compared to Tina or MJ at all, but what about to one another? Their stats and reputations make for a compelling argument of who is better.

Let The Great Debate begin! Tweet your choices to us @SoulTrain, using #TheGreatDebate!

—Mr. Joe Walker

Mr. Joe Walker is an urban and pop culture enthusiast. Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion”, the biographer, author, entertainment and celebrity journalist, and columnist is currently a senior writer for, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and writer of weekly classic hip-hop reviews for Concrete Magazine’s Also co-creator of, Walker’s acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. He is also working on a book project with Liquid Arts & Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker, connect with him on Facebook, and also visit his blog


  1. Angus says:

    Janet. Hands down. do the research you’ll see. And if you lived long enough to see them both start out. Again! Janet! No comparison.

  2. Linda from Guam says:

    Most definitely Janet…No comparison ..Love and it will always be Janet Jackson…

  3. MARK.AMP says:

    This comparison is UNFAIR to both Artists.
    Both are good, but JANET ‘s been in the game and set as a BLUEPRINT for new and upcoming artists.
    Just look at how girls dressed such as TLC, Aaliyah, Salt N Pepa etc before and after the JANET (1993) album was released.
    All of a sudden girls started wearing baby tees and showing their bare abs in their music videos.
    You think Beyonce is the first one to sport the long BLONDE textured hair?
    Again, look at JANET back in 1993.
    The name JANET is also synonymous with DANCE.
    Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera hired Janet’s choreographer for their tours and videos such as Oops… I did it again and Come on Over.
    Whatever these girls are doing, JANET did it already.
    Wherever these girls are going, JANET’s already been.

  4. DraMatiQue says:

    Come on now…there would be no Beyonce if it wasn’t for Janet….nuff said…this debate is retarded…clearly JANET all day!!!!! BeYawnCe’ cannot compare creatively..yes she can sing vocally better and i guess she is considered great in her own right…but JANET is an ICON…a LEGEND!!!! She now has six classic albums including ” Unbreakable “…which truthfully knocked ” All For You” …another pop classic out her own top five list. BeYawnCe has two extremely good albums…the first one and the last one she secretly dropped online….the three in the middle forget about….lol….No one will ever compare to Janet Jackson period.!!!!

  5. Sonya Carter says:

    There is absolutely no Comparison, Hands down Janet all the way……A TRUE ICON AT HER BEST…..I LOVE ME SUM JANET!!!!!

  6. Shaunie says:

    There’s no debate. Both are great! However, one is the teacher and the other is the student. One is legend the other will become legend. One came thru an era of strong competition, Whitney, Madonna & Mariah (even her own brother) and the other came thru an era of not having any competition.

  7. Sandy Shore says:

    Would like to see them both put on a world tour together!

  8. Janet Jackson says:

    Janet hands down she is truly talent and amazing. She can sing and dance and keep her clothes on. BEYONCE is beautiful with limited talent she sale sex and she is vulgar and needs to keep her clothes on she started all this twirling poor example for our young girl. She better than that but she rank with the no talent vulgar Nikki Minja we need to clean up our act.

  9. B Lamont says:

    Soul Train just creating more BS for no reason. There’s NO reason whatsoever to compare these two ladies. Beyoncé is part of the Rhythm Nation Janet created. She’s not Janet’s contemporary. It’s like comparing Janet to Diana Ross and no one has ever done that so why is it necessary to do that with Janet and Beyoncé?

  10. Rico A Saxtin says:

    No Debate Janet steals the award Hand’s Down!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Joan A Brown says:

    In my humble opinion, both women are extraordinary artists. I don’t see either as being “better” than the other, although I do think Beyoncé has a unique quality and strength to her voice. Ms. Jackson on the other hand should be recognized for not only her talents, but also for the decades of experience and staying power in the entertainment business, all the while, up against the stiffest of compition; her own brother. Who has Beyoncé had to compete with to get to where she is and still be at the top of the charts? Nobody can beat her! Kudos to them both!

  12. romy says:

    this is such a divisive post……ugh…’s 2016, are we STILL pitting black women against each other??

  13. Vince says:

    No need, they are both great women…leave it at that

  14. Vincent Bernard says:

    OMG!!!! OH MY GOD!! WHY IS THIS EVEN A DEBATE!!! How can you compare and icon who has been in the game since 6 to a singer who is still making her bones? I dont understand!!

    THere is no comparison, debate or competition.

  15. Mahogany says:

    I love Beyoncé but Janet steals the award

  16. shanell says:

    With all do respect you cannot compare Beyoncé to Janet Jackson. Janet Jackson was dominating way before Beyoncé was ever thought of and helped paved the way for many of them that’s out now.

  17. Doreen says:

    Janet all the way! She has longevity, multiple talents, awards, fans and diversity! You could say the same for B, but Janet reinvents herself. She moves with the times. B, all she does is dance like she want’s it all the time. Janet sprinkles her sexuality here and there and it’s just the right amount that keeps you interested to see what she’ll come up with next. B, is a one trick pony.

    Janet is an ICON, thank you very much!

  18. Alfred Allen says:

    Sorry no debate here! You can’t compare the student to the teacher!

  19. James says:

    Where are you getting those #1 stats from? Janet Jackson has over 30 #1 singles alone on various Billboard charts.

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