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Mary J. Blige

When her debut album, What's the 411?, hit the street in 1992, critics and fans alike were floored by its powerful combination of modern R&B with an edgy rap sound that glanced off of the pain and grit of Mary J. Blige's Yonkers, New York childhood. Called alternately the new Chaka Khan or new Aretha Franklin, Blige had little in common stylistically with either of those artists, but like them, she helped adorn soul music with new textures and flavors that inspired a whole generation of musicians. With her blonde hair, self-preserving slouch, and combat boots, Blige was street-tough and beautiful all at once, and the record company execs who profited off of her early releases did little to dispel the bad-girl image that she earned as she stumbled through the dizzying first days of her career. As she exorcised her personal demons and softened her style to include sleek designer clothes, she remained a hero to thousands of girls growing up in the same kinds of rough places she came from. Blige reinvented her career again and again by shedding the bad habits and bad influences that kept her down; by the time her fourth album, Mary, was released in 1999, she had matured into an expressive singer able to put the full power of her voice behind her music, while still reflecting a strong urban style. With her fifth album, No More Drama, it wasn't just Blige's style that shone through the structures set up for her by songwriters and producers, it was her own vision -- spiritual, emotional, personal, and full of wisdom, it reflected an artist who was comfortable with who she was and how far she had come.

Born in the Bronx on January 11, 1971, Blige spent the first few years of her life in Savannah, Georgia before moving with her mother and older sister to the Schlobam housing projects in Yonkers, New York. Her rough life there produced more than a few scars, physical and otherwise, and Blige dropped out of high school during her junior year, instead spending time doing her friends' hair in her mother's apartment and hanging out. When she was at a local mall in White Plains, New York, she recorded herself singing Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" into a karaoke machine. The resulting tape was passed by Blige's stepfather to Uptown Records CEO Andre Harrell. Harrell was impressed with Blige's voice and signed her to sing backup for local acts like Father MC. In 1991, however, Sean "Puffy" Combs took Blige under his wing and began working with her on What's the 411?, her debut album. Combs had a heavy hand in What's the 411?, along with producers Dave Hall, Mark Morales, and Mark Rooney, and the stylish touches that they added to Blige's unique vocal style created a stunning album that bridged the gap between R&B and rap in a way that no female singer had before. Uptown tried to capitalize on the success of What's the 411? by issuing a remixed version of it a year later, but it was only a modest success creatively and commercially.

Her 1995 follow-up, My Life, again featured Combs' handiwork, and if it stepped back stylistically from its urban roots by featuring less of a rap sound, it made up for it with its subject matter. My Life was full of ghetto pathos and Blige's own personal pain shone through like a beacon. Her rocky relationship with fellow Uptown artist K-Ci Hailey likely contributed to the raw emotions on the album. The period following the recording of My Life was also a difficult time professionally for Blige, as she severed her ties with Combs and Uptown, hired Suge Knight as a financial advisor, and signed with MCA.

Released in 1997, Share My World marked the beginning of Blige's creative partnerships with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The album was another hit for Blige and debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. Critics soured somewhat on its more conventional soul sound, but Blige's fans seemed undaunted. By the time her next studio album, Mary, came out in 1999, the fullness and elegance of her new sound seemed more developed, as Blige exuded a classic soul style aided by material from Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Stevie Wonder, and Lauryn Hill. Mary made it obvious that the ghetto fabulous style and more confrontational aspects of her music were gone, while the emotive power still remained.

That power also helped carry the more modern-sounding 2001 release No More Drama, a deeply personal album that remained a collective effort musically yet reflected more of Blige's songwriting than any of her previous efforts. The Mary J. Blige on No More Drama seemed miles away from the flashy kid on What's the 411?, yet it was still possible to see the path through her music that produced an older, wiser, but still expressive artist. In 2003 she was reunited with P. Diddy, who produced the majority of that year's patchy Love and Life album. The Breakthrough followed two years later and was a tremendous success, spawning a handful of major singles. By the December 2006 release of Reflections (A Retrospective), The Breakthrough's lead single, "Be Without You," had spent nearly a year on the R&B chart, while the album's fifth single, "Take Me as I Am," had been on the same chart for over four months.

A year later Blige came out with her eighth studio album, Growing Pains. It was her third consecutive studio album to top both the Billboard 200 and the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. While on tour with Robin Thicke during 2008, Blige began working on Stronger with Each Tear, which was released near the end of the following year and came one spot short of topping the Billboard 200. My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1), previewed through the Eric Hudson-produced single "25/8," followed in 2011 with appearances from Beyoncé, Drake, Rick Ross, and Busta Rhymes. Like her previous nine studio albums, it reached gold status. (Her first eight surpassed gold to reach either platinum or multi-platinum status.) Her first holiday album, A Mary Christmas, was released in 2013. ~ Stacia Proefrock, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: 25/8 (Single)

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Track List: Just Fine (Remixes)

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Track List: Rainy Dayz (Single)

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Track List: Someone To Love Me (Naked) (Radio Single)

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Track List: Stronger (Radio Single)

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Track List: The One (Radio Single)

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Track List: Work That

Comments

Love it yes this is my jam .... Mary killed it ...Beyonce ....wow ..... I'm glad she did this ....lessons men ...listen at lyrics .....
Me too
I love mary j blige
Straight up: The remix of this jam is the bomb! I had it a few years back and played it to death! Mary has become one classy lady! Respected for her work and her commitment to causes.
I love u Mary j oblige your famous in my life
Hey u been rubnin 4yrs im still here doin me wit a happy life.@
This is an artist that has come a long, long way since first coming into the music scene. She was hardcore ghetto at the start and I didn't care for her then. Now, she has really turned herself into a very classy and much more professional lady. You go MJB!!!
I like this track with Kelly and MJ at the peek of their careers this was a slept on collaboratio n . . . Kelly is a great song writer and artist!! MJ!! Sexy voice
edalexx
Hmmm, guess who orders their OG Gourmet Black Coffee from: simplymarvel o u s c o f f e e . m y o r g a n o g o l d . c o m Get yours now and have a cup of coffee with the stars at 11:30PM. Enjoy!
I LOVE Mary J. Blige! The Realest!
Mary is not only a good singer but a really down to earth person. Met her in NYC and she was with her mom. two of the nicest people.
Classic
janelle923
Yes Mary keep ur hatersbeneat h u ¡
Thank u
dinjam0303
Heard this song a long time ago,but I LUV IT!! FOLLOW ME IF U LUV MARY!!!
CAUSE I CAN'T SLEEP WITHOUT YA BABY! !!!
����
Ok
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
Erasure
A little respect
MARY J I always on point!! who's looking for a job? I'm hiring Independent Business Owners Now!! 18 and older of course lol email me for my cell number :) let's chat! zajdel.madis o n 1 2 @ g m a i l . c o m Oh and duhh follow me :)
Don't always think there talking about a relationship with a man either..
Love it
MARY MARY MARY ♥♡♥♡........
This that jam
I love Mary j
i love my mr. wrong
Mary is going on tour with R Kelly this summer, can't wait !!!
Mary j. Bilge she is my everything :)
My Life........ . . . . . . . . . . . . :He will give you a peace of mind and you will see the sunshine, you'll get to free your mind and things will turn out fine........ . . . . . . . . . Look in my life and see what I see. -Mary J
karohubbs
Kiss your left hand say your crushes name 3x close your hand say a school day post this on 15 different songs and your crush will ask you out on that day.
hi; can i said.. you now that you did' me wrong ... u kown you got it Twisted so what are oyu goting to do.
I love me some Mary
Don't read this because it actually works.you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life.tomorro w will be thr best day of your life.however if you don't post you will die in two days. now you started reading this so don't stop.this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes.when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
This my song
Powerful song by the queen of RNB and SOUL, don't make music like this anymore . True vocals no bullshit.
I love this song!! I feel like this!!!
shut up and get your life!!
shut.the front door mary j blige
Oh my how did or does that work
Don't read this because it actually works.you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life.tomorro w will be thr best day of your life.however if you don't post you will die in two days. now you started reading this so don't stop.this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes.when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
Happy Valentine's Day and follow me
Ok love it work it moma
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