The hit Neptunes beat rejected by Janet Jackson
(Credit: Frank Schwichtenberg)

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The hit Neptunes beat rejected by Janet Jackson

The Neptunes have worked with many artists in hip-hop and R’n’B and have been around since the late-1990s. Comprised of the renowned Pharrell Williams and the lesser-known Chad Hugo, the dynamic duo rose out of a small Virginia town and caught the attention of Teddy Riley with their unique sonic.

However, although the production duo were making beats for the best artists, including Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, and Justin Timberlake, not everyone wanted their music, and some even rejected their art. In an interview with Noreaga and DJ EFN for Drink Champs, Pharrell once revealed that many of his early instrumentals were produced for Michael Jackson. However, one of The Neptunes’ iconic beats was made for Michael’s sister Janet. 

Although Williams and Hugo never officially worked with Michael, the production duo got Janet Jackson in the studio during the recording process of her 2000 project, All For You. While in the studio with her, Williams presented the pop star with a track he had produced and written. In fact, the ‘All For You’ vocalist even recorded to the instrumental. 

Several female superstars impacted the R’n’B scene at the turn of the millennium. From Aaliyah and Ashanti to Beyonce and Kelis. However, when Williams realised that Janet Jackson had trashed their collaboration, the golden instrumental went to a young Britney Spears.

The song they recorded together was Spears’ iconic hit ‘I’m a Slave 4 U.’ In a conversation with Noreaga on the Drink Champs podcast, Williams expounded on the scenario, explaining, “The queen, Janet Jackson, our sis, we made ‘Slave 4 U,’ and she actually recorded it, but she just didn’t use it.” 

He continued, And when she didn’t use it, we gave it to Britney Spears. So I’ve been blessed with a lot of that, where artists did not feel like something was for them, but it made sense for someone else.” What hurt Willimas even more is that it wasn’t the first time Janet had put them in the studio. The ’80s singer had called upon the duo for her Velvet Rope album, though their creation never made the final tracklist.

‘Slave 4 U’ was released as the lead single for Spears’ 2001 album Britney and was a success for the singer, who was attempting to make headway in the urban music market. You can listen to the track in the video below.