Like many of Janet Jackson's hits, she wrote this song with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and also produced the track with the duo. It was the first single released under her record-breaking $32 million contract with Virgin Records, the largest recording deal in history until Janet's brother Michael signed a whopping $50 million deal with Epic not long after.
It may sound like men are chanting the title lyrics on this song, but Jimmy Jam insists it's all Janet. He electronically manipulated her vocals to give them a masculine sound.
James Brown demanded approval of the lyrics before he would allow Janet to sample his hit "Papa Don't Take No Mess" because he was angry at rap groups for splicing his songs with foul language. He didn't raise any fuss over Janet's sweet and seductive lyrics, though, and swiftly gave his permission.
Also sampled on the track are "Impeach The President" by The Honey Drippers, "If It Don't Turn You on (You Oughta Leave It Alone)" by B.T. Express (1974) and "Georgy Porgy" by Toto.
By 1993, only sharp-eyed fans of In Living Color would recognize a fresh-off-the-block Jennifer Lopez as a Fly Girl dancer on the sketch-comedy show and, even then, they probably didn't know her name. That year, Lopez also made a cameo appearance in this music video as a backing dancer and even got to speak some dialogue.
She cites Janet's video for "The Pleasure Principle" as inspiring her to get into the music business. "I was a little girl trying to do every single move that she was doing," Lopez said in a tribute to Janet.
This song earned Janet Jackson a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (Toni Braxton won for "Another Sad Love Song").