In March 2011, Hudson released her second album I Remember Me. As with her self-titled debut, Hudson worked with a bunch of different producers and songwriters on the project, resulting into a "feel good album". Upon release, it debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 165,000 copies, and was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipping over 500,000 copies in the US. While not as successful as previous releases, lead single "Where You At" became a top ten hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, though subsequent singles failed to chart or sell noticeably. After a short musical hitaus, in which she co-starred in the films The Three Stooges (2012), The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (2013), and Black Nativity (2013), Hudson returned to music recording in mid-2013. Heading for a different direction, Hudson consulted new producers to work with her on her third album: "It's different expressions of me as an artist, a girl, a music lover. Earlier in my career I was just a soloist singing other people's songs. Now I really want to be an artist. I want to lift the people up, have fun, create a moment. I have my own visions that I want to bring to life." On the developing process of her third album she elaborated in November 2013: “I’ve been working with Pharrell Williams quite a bit on my album, and Timbaland as well. This whole project this time around is extremely different and every session felt like a party, like we was getting our jam on.”
The album received a score of 71 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On behalf of Billboard, Elias Leight foreseeing, "the spare templates she uses here, which are heavy on rhythm and relatively empty otherwise, give her plenty of space to flex her powerful voice." Writing for AllMusic, Andy Kellman forecasting Hudson to be "in full-on diva mode" even though she "occasionally sounds disconnected from the material, but the singer, as powerful as ever, still leaves her indelible mark on everything".
JHUD debuted at number 10 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart, selling 24,000 copies in its first week of release. It marked Hudson's lowest sales and chart debut for a studio set. Previously, her 2011 album, I Remember Me, tallied her smallest start with 165,000 copies." In addition, JHUD debuted at number two on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart, becoming her third consecutive album to do so. Commenting on the album's chart performance, Paul Grein from Yahoo! Music felt that its opening sales were "a disappointment, considering that her first two albums, [..] both debuted at number two." He found that "the main problem is that the singles from this album haven’t done as well as the singles from Hudson’s previous albums [...] None of the first three singles from the new album has cracked the top 20 on the R&B chart."