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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

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Track List: 25/8 (Single)

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Track List: Growing Pains

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Track List: Just Fine (Remixes)

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Track List: Not Loving You (Single)

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Track List: Rainy Dayz (Single)

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Track List: Right Now (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: Therapy (Single)

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Track List: When You're Gone (Single)

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Track List: Whole Damn Year (Single)

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Track List: Work That

Comments

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tatyanamille r 6 3
I love all of you mj . Ur a blessing from God .a true healer. Life's therapy
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One of my top 5s
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updikeiol514
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I past through this life just working not thinking about love wasn't interested to I meant you,real woman big heart,meant people not bad people just could connect spiritually with nice still couldn't find nobody I tell life dreams,secre t s to you.
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Was not a big fan of Mary J Blige until my sister bought me this cd My Life for my birthday, borrowed it and never returned it. LOL
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alderipu396
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you). ❤️❤️❤️❤️
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biglish25
Classic! One of my top 5 mjb songs!!!!!
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vkamcshan
Love her!!! She is amazing and that voice is crazy soothing!!!
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This my jam
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All That I Can Say Mary J. Love u!
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SHARE MY WORLD BABY LOVE ...,8-24-201 5 @ 4:30am Wishing you were here with me. ❤ me some you!!!
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I ❤ me some MARY J, my ex looks like Mary.
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shireioh419
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you). ❤️❤️❤️❤️
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Listening to "Seven Days"
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You have that my heart give you,me okay
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Sweetheart you was my everything only you know everything about me and I love you
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I got me A wrong but he so right !!!
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I had mr wrong before
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esmeralda.me j i a 6 1
Me & Mr. Wrong get along so good even though he breaks my heart so bad.
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Never to get hurt again thats my theme song
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Music between you and me was never play until I meant you still a unwritten title of great love prepare of complete harmony on the wind.
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shireioh419
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you). ❤️❤️❤️
Report as inappropriate
shireioh419
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you). ❤️❤️❤️
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Gnnny love youpool
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Mary j is tha shiznit.!!!! !

All of her songs are REAL! !!

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Bad
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Oh, girl, you know I'm going to buy both of those albums from 2014. No doubt.
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Be Without You: AHHHHHH YES MY MARY J.. I LOVE MARY J. BLIGE. THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE BROUGHT ME THROUGH SO MUCH AND ONLY SHE KNOWS ABOUT HOW MUCH SHE HAS BROUGHT ME THROUGH. I saw her through some stuff too. THIS IS ONE MY SOUL DIVA'S AND I HAVE ABOUT 10 OF THOSE. BUT I LOVE MISS MARY J. :-) I haven't heard from her in so long. OMG. How are you girl? I hope you're doing ok today MaryJ.
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Mary keep up the good work love you!
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greenmusic20 1 3
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you).
Report as inappropriate
greenmusic20 1 3
Guys, if you have some free time check out ATOCE.COM this is an easy way to make around $400 per week and it's pretty easy to get started. Hope this helps (Share this method if it works for you).
Report as inappropriate
Are you listening to these lyrics? ??? This $hit is Deep!!!!!
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I love this s**t it's my jam :-) :-) :-)
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I love her music
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My Jam!
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Know one baby,remembe r first time saw you being silly with kid's talking about them,you show a great love for them.
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Mary has been the Bomb for a long time
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Love this song such a popular song
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Iove it
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Love this song ��
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♥this jam
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thank you mary j for everything that you have done in the music industry 23 years and I wish you another twenty three
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lala.813
MARY J. TOUCHES YOUR HEART &SOUL..
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She speaks the truth for real, it never goes away or gets better or any less if anything it gets stronger!!! this coming from a woman who royally fricked up almost 8 years now. (y)
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Crying everyday, dont know what to do or say....if you looked into my life
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You fo sho are made out of awesome sauce!
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Say iPhone 5 times
Pick a color
Post this on other songs
Look under your pillow
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I'm going down
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Deep! "Gotta face reality there be anymore us!"
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I'll try to wait on you my dear my loves sincere. My oldies 92-97
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