Bobby Brown Was Trying to Give Fans Advice in ‘My Prerogative’

New jack swing was a popular genre of music in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” was one of the most famous songs from that genre. During an interview, Brown discussed how the song related to his personal and professional life. In addition, he said he wanted fans to internalize the message of “My Prerogative.”

Bobby Brown wearing a cross necklace
Bobby Brown around the time he released “My Prerogative” | Rita Barros/Getty Images

The origin of Bobby Brown’s ‘My Prerogative’

During an interview with The Undefeated, Brown discussed the musical direction he took in the 1980s. He wanted to work with producer Teddy Riley. Riley is known for working on songs for Michael Jackson, Blackstreet, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, and many other artists.

Riley was excited to collaborate with Brown. Brown and Riley went to a small apartment to work together. With help from musician Aaron Hall, they crafted Brown’s signature hit “My Prerogative.”

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The lesson Bobby Brown expressed through the song

Brown said “My Prerogative” was a response to those who criticized his personal life. “It’s my prerogative that I had a baby at 17,” Brown said. “It’s my prerogative that I got married at 23.”

Brown also said “My Prerogative” reflected his career as a musician. “Or it’s my prerogative that I do what I do, that I get on stage every night and bust my a** just to entertain people,” he added. “It’s my prerogative. This is what I want to do. So I do it.”

Brown opined “My Prerogative” has a universal appeal. “And that’s for everybody to feel,” he said. “It’s your prerogative. Whatever you’re going to do, you’re going to do it anyway.

“So don’t be ashamed of who you are, or what you are, or what you’re going to do,” he continued. “Just be you. As long as you be you, nobody can take that away from you.”

RELATED: How Bobby Brown Inspired Whitney Houston’s New Sound With ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’

The way the world reacted to ‘My Prerogative’

“My Prerogative” became a massive hit. The song spent 24 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It was on top of the chart for one week and became Brown’s only No. 1 single as a lead artist. Its parent album, Don’t Be Cruel, hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for six weeks. It spent a total of 97 weeks on the chart.

“My Prerogative” was popular in the United Kingdom too. According to The Official Charts Company, the song peaked at No. 6 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 18 weeks. Meanwhile, Don’t Be Cruel hit No. 3 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 41 weeks. None of Brown’s other albums charted higher there.

Britney Spears covered “My Prerogative” for her album Greatest Hits: My Prerogative. The cover retains some of the new jack swing elements of the original. “My Prerogative” was a big hit with an interesting message.

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