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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 exorcized 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.

Early in 2014, she linked with Disclosure for an alternate version of the U.K. dance-production duo's single "F for You." A few months later, Blige -- supported by extensive assistance from the-Dream and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, as well as a few other associates -- provided the soundtrack to the comedy Think Like a Man Too. It entered the Billboard Top 200 at number 30 and also reached the Top Ten on Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. Released on Epic, rather than on her home label, it didn't receive the typical level of promotion for a Blige album and, as a result, sold significantly less than her prior releases. Inspired by Disclosure and other genre-blurring singer/songwriters and producers who were emerging from the U.K., she recorded her 13th album in London that summer with the likes of Sam Smith, Naughty Boy, and Emeli Sandé, as well as Disclosure once more. The London Sessions, her first album for Capitol, was released that November. ~ Stacia Proefrock
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The London Sessions

1. Therapy

2. Doubt

3. Not Loving You

4. When You're Gone

5. Right Now

6. My Loving

7. Long Hard Look

8. Whole Damn Year

9. Nobody But You

10. Pick Me Up

11. Follow

12. Worth My Time

x

Track List: Think Like A Man Too (Music From And Inspired By The Film)

1. A Night To Remember

2. Vegas Nights (Feat. The-Dream)

3. Moment Of Love

4. See That Boy Again (Feat. Pharrell Williams)

5. Wonderful

6. Kiss And Make Up

7. Cargo

8. Suitcase

9. I Want You

10. Self Love

11. Power Back

12. All Fun And Games

13. Better

14. Propose

x

Track List: My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1)

1. Intro

5. Ain't Nobody

6. 25/8

7. Don't Mind

8. No Condition

12. Irreversible

13. Empty Prayers

14. Need Someone

15. The Living Proof

16. Miss Me With That

x

Track List: Growing Pains

1. Work That

3. Just Fine

4. Feel Like A Woman

5. Stay Down

6. Hurt Again

8. Till The Morning

9. Roses

10. Fade Away

11. What Love Is

12. Work In Progress (Growing Pains)

13. Talk To Me

14. If You Love Me?

15. Smoke

16. Come To Me (Peace)

x

Track List: Reflections: A Retrospective

1. Reflections (I Remember)

2. We Ride (I See The Future)

3. You Know

5. No More Drama

6. Family Affair

7. Real Love

8. No One Will Do

9. Be Without You

10. I'm Goin' Down

12. Not Gon' Cry

13. My Life '06

14. Be Happy

x

Track List: Be Without You [Single]

2. Show Love

3. Be Without You [Moto Blanco Vocal Mix]

x

Track List: Love & Life

1. Love & Life Intro (feat. Jay Z & P. Diddy)

2. Don't Go

3. When We

4. Not Today (feat. Eve)

6. Ooh!

7. Let Me Be The 1 (feat. 50 Cent)

8. Love @ 1st Sight (feat. Method Man)

9. Willing & Waiting

10. Free (Interlude)

11. Friends

12. Press On

13. Feel Like Makin Love

14. It's A Wrap

15. Message In Our Music (Interlude)

16. All My Love

17. Special Part Of Me

18. Ultimate Relationship (A.M.)

x

Track List: Dance For Me

1. No More Drama [Thunderpuss Remix]

2. Family Affair [Spanish Fly Remix]

3. Everything [Curtis & Moore Remix]

4. Rainy Dayz [Thunderpuss Remix]

5. He Think I Don't Know [HQ2 Club Mix]

6. Your Child [Junior Vasquez Remix]

7. Never Been [Al B. Rich 2 Step Groove Remix]

8. Dance For Me [G-Club Remix]

9. Give Me You [Extended Nino Radio Mix]

10. Let No Man Put Asunder [Remix]

x

Track List: No More Drama

1. Love

2. Family Affair

4. Crazy Games

5. PMS

6. No More Drama

8. Destiny

10. Beautiful Day

11. Dance For Me

12. Flying Away

13. Never Been

15. In The Meantime

17. Testimony

x

Track List: Mary

1. All That I Can Say

2. Sexy

3. Deep Inside

4. Beautiful Ones

5. I'm In Love

6. Time Ago

7. Memories

8. Don't Waste Your Time

9. Not Lookin'

10. Your Child

11. No Happy Holidays

12. The Love I Never Had

13. Give Me You

14. Let No Man Put Asunder

x

Track List: The Tour (Live)

1. Intro (Live)

2. Real Love (Live)

3. You Remind Me (Live)

4. Reminisce (Live)

5. Sweet Thing (Live)

6. Mary Jane (All Night Long) (Live)

7. Love No Limit (Live)

8. Summer Madness (Live)

9. My Life (Live)

10. You Gotta Believe (Live)

11. Slow Down (Live)

12. Mary's Joint (Live)

13. I'm The Only Woman (Live)

14. Share My World (Live)

15. I'm Goin' Down (Live)

16. Thank You Lord (Live)

17. I Can Love You (Live)

18. Keep Your Head (Live)

19. Everything (Live)

20. Seven Days (Live)

21. Nott Gon' Cry (Live)

22. Missing You (Live)

23. Day Dreaming (Live)

24. Misty Blue (Live)

x

Track List: Share My World

1. Intro

2. I Can Love You

3. Love Is All We Need

4. Round And Round

5. Share My World (Interlude)

6. Share My World

7. Seven Days

8. It's On

9. Thank You Lord (Interlude)

10. Missing You

11. Everything

12. Keep Your Head

13. Can't Get You Off My Mind

14. Get To Know You Better

15. Searching

16. Our Love

17. Not Gon' Cry

x

Track List: My Life

1. Intro

3. You Bring Me Joy

4. Marvin Interlude

5. I'm The Only Woman

6. K. Murray Interlude

7. My Life

8. You Gotta Believe

9. I Never Wanna Live Without You

10. I'm Goin' Down

11. My Life Interlude

12. Be With You

13. Mary's Joint

14. Don't Go

15. I Love You

16. No One Else

17. Be Happy

x

Track List: What's The 411?

1. Leave A Message

2. Reminisce

3. Real Love

4. You Remind Me

5. Intro Talk (Feat. Busta Rhymes)

6. Sweet Thing

7. Love No Limit

8. I Don't Want To Do Anything (Feat. K-Ci Hailey)

9. Slow Down

10. My Love

11. Changes I've Been Going Through

12. What's The 411? (Feat. Grand Puba)

x

Track List: What's The 411? (Remix)

1. Leave A Message

2. You Don't Have To Worry

3. My Love

4. Real Love (Remix)

5. What's The 411?

6. Reminisce

7. Mary & Andre

8. Sweet Thing

9. Love No Limit

10. You Remind Me

11. Changes I've Been Going Through

12. I Don't Want To Do Anything

x

Track List: 25/8 (Single)

1. 25/8

x

Track List: American Skin (41 Shots) (Single)

x

Track List: I Am (Radio Single)

1. I Am

x

Track List: Mr. Wrong (Single)

x

Track List: My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1) (Deluxe Version)

1. Intro

2. Feel Inside (Feat. Nas)

3. Midnight Drive (Feat. Brook Lynn)

4. Next Level (Feat. Busta Rhymes)

5. Ain't Nobody

6. 25/8

7. Don't Mind

8. No Condition

9. Mr. Wrong (Feat. Drake)

10. Why (Feat. Rick Ross)

11. Love A Woman (Feat. Beyonce)

12. Irreversible

13. Empty Prayers

14. Need Someone

15. The Living Proof

16. Miss Me With That

17. Someone To Love Me (Naked) (Feat. Diddy & Lil Wayne)

18. Get It Right (Feat. Taraji P. Henson)

19. You Want This

20. This Love Is For You

21. One Life

x

Track List: Not Loving You (Single)

3. Not Loving You

x

Track List: Rainy Dayz (Single)

7. Rainy Dayz

x

Track List: Right Now (Single)

5. Right Now

x

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

x

Track List: Stronger (Radio Single)

1. Stronger

x

Track List: Stronger Witheach Tear

1. Tonight

3. Said And Done

5. I Feel Good

6. I Am

7. Each Tear

8. I Love U (Yes I Du)

10. Kitchen

11. In The Morning

12. Color

x

Track List: The Breakthrough

1. No One Will Do

4. Be Without You

5. Gonna Breakthrough (Feat. Brook)

6. Good Woman Down

7. Take Me As I Am

8. Baggage

9. Can't Hide From Luv (Feat. Jay-Z)

11. Can't Get Enough

12. Ain't Really Love

13. I Found My Everything (Feat. Raphael Saadiq)

14. Father In You

15. Alone (Feat. Dave Young)

16. One (Feat. U2)

x

Track List: The One (Radio Single)

x

Track List: Therapy (Single)

1. Therapy

x

Track List: Thick Of It (Single)

1. Thick Of It (Feat. David D. Brown & Jazmine Sullivan)

x

Track List: When You're Gone (Single)

4. When You're Gone

x

Track List: Whole Damn Year (Single)

1. Whole Damn Year

x

Track List: Work That

1. Work That

x

Track List: World’s Gone Crazy ("The View" Theme Song: Season 20) (Single)

1. World's Gone Crazy ("The View" Theme Song: Season 20)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
meshiamommy
I love ur music i grew up off it u will always be the best n my eyes
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You are a true reflection of a strong & insp
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you will always be my girl
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mrjazzme
I love MJB especially this song
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I love this song
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I love MJB!!
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julie.colema n 2 4
❤️❤️❤️❤️
Report as inappropriate
Love the song "I can love you"❤❤
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IM GOIN' DOWN ....
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THE GOVERNMENT STOLE YOUR MONEY ALL YEAR, GET IT BACK!

ACCRUALWORLD A C C O U N T I N G . C O M
Report as inappropriate
Mary J Blige is still in the game. Better than ever. Not type cast but, truly R&B. Sounds so good to me.
Report as inappropriate
Damn , I miss Mary . She need to come back with the good heart break music lol she's really good at that .
Report as inappropriate
My ex-husband did this to me just like the movie now he a crack head and homeless God is good money ruined him especially if it's not earned
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Love Mary J. Blige
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maria0411.mm
True
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Dis my shot love her she no just wen I had enough bs she throw me tat perfect song
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Mary J., God has blessed you throughout it all. May you be blessed. Your talented voice is inspiring.
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I love this song��������
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im lucky i get to enjoy her here in charlotte on dec
3
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Just saw her in concert Saturday night. She re-confirmed why I've been a MJB fan for over 20 years!
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Brought back good times
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Be strong! You are a great woman. Keep looking up.
Report as inappropriate
rhashenesalo n
Too bad at Lary parkers I saw hater
Report as inappropriate
rhashenesalo n
I know! That was all I ever saw a person
Report as inappropriate
zynakobie
Bye your ignoring me, I'm done with this
Report as inappropriate
Mr. Wrong I know
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I love you p.s I saw your concert
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I love yo jams gurll❤️❤️❤️❤
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Mr.Wrong��
Report as inappropriate
My song here,Love this song
Report as inappropriate
1:kiss your left hand
2:day your crushes name
3: close your hand
4:say your name
5:pick a school day
6:post this on 5 other songs
Your crush will ask you out
(You have 2hrs to complete)
Report as inappropriate
job_stefania
Mary is the forever R&B Diva ( good way Diva:) )
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No, I'm not gonna cry...love her as a strong role model!
Report as inappropriate
shortydewop8
Me and Mary have been through a journey together. I love her
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I love Mary new song In the thick of it♡♡♡☆☆☆
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This was hot still is
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You have a lot of features like bustm rimsy
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MJBlige
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maria0411.mm
NC state
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Love Mary J. Blige
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I have every song she has ever made. AWESOME LADY!!!!!
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Mary J.....is my girl!!! Been loving you since your 411 album.
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Love her music and transformati o n throughout the years....ver y proud of Mary and what God has orchestrated in her life
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Heyyou...
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You Go MJB Continue to make beautiful music.
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Real Love ❤
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I Love Mary, She will always be number 1 with me !!!
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MJB is still amazing! I love this video....Ang e l a Basset in Waiting to Exhale....un f o r g e t t a b l e ! !
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I love Mary went she first came out. And i still do !!!!!!!!!!!!
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