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Janet Jackson Praises Kanye West, SZA, J. Cole In ‘Billboard’ Cover Story

Janet Jackson praised a handful of musicians, both seasoned and green, in her latest cover story for Billboard magazine. The legendary artist, who will be honored with the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday (May 20), spoke on her positive relationships with collaborators, and acknowledged a few musicians who she believes are doing important work.

Ms. Jackson gave a shout out to Missy Elliott, who appeared on the 2001 album All For You and 2008’s Discipline. “[Missy Elliott is] an incredible artist who has been there for me as a loyal friend and strong sista, did a fabulous remix on “Son of a Gun” from All for You, leading to our video together. That was big fun,” she explains. “We got together again on “The I” from [2008’s] Discipline, when I was working with Rodney Jerkins and Jermaine Dupri.”

Janet also praised rapper and producer Kanye West, and recalled their collaboration from the 2004 LP, Damita Jo.

“I also loved collaborating with [Kanye] on “My Baby,'” she said. “This was 2004, College Dropout time, when the world was just recognizing his talent.”

Jackson also lists a few newer artists who are dominating the charts and creating their own lanes.

Daniel Caesar is proving that romantic R&B is alive and well,” she said when asked about younger artists who “impress her the most. “Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are proving that brilliantly original storytelling is one of hip-hop’s great gifts to world culture. SZA is proving that young women still possess extraordinary vocal skills and style.”

“I also have a special place in my heart for Bruno Mars,” she continued. “Bruno was really the first music my son responded to. During and after his birth, I comforted myself with Brazilian jazz, music that always relaxes me. Then when the baby began crawling, Bruno was breaking out big and on the radio all the time. That delighted both of us. Bruno is a throwback to the days when the greatest artists could do it all: write, sing, dance, produce.”

Elsewhere in the sit-down interview, the 52-year-old performance icon discusses being a mother, where she gets inspiration for her upcoming material, and more. Read the entire interview on Billboard.com.

Janet Jackson goes deep on her early challenges, upcoming music & the joy of motherhood. | 📸: @millermobley

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