By overcoming personal hardships, there is no limit to what you can achieve. Mary J Blige is living proof of this. She has gone through depression, drug and substance abuse, infidelity and has had to overcome all this to be regarded as the Queen of Soul and Hip Hop. Mary J Blige’s career began back in 1991 after Uptown Records signed her. She is credited to have introduced the mix of R&B and Hip-hop into the mainstream culture after releasing her 1992 debut album, What’s the 411? In December 1993, she released another studio album, What’s the 411? Remix was the first album by a singer to have a hip-hop rapper in each of its songs. In 1994, Mary J Blige followed up with another album, My Life which is featured as one of the greatest albums of all time in Rolling Stone’s list and Times’ list. Over the course of her career, Mary J Blige has won numerous accolades, including the World Music Awards, nine Grammy Awards, and Billboard ranked her as the most successful female R&B/Hip-hop artist of the last 25 years. Mary J Blige has made a successful transition to the film industry, although her music has left an indelible mark in R&B music. In her honor, we take a look at 10 of the best Mary J Blige songs.
10. Take Me As I Am
This song samples Lonnie Liston Smith’s 1979 song, “Garden of Peace,” and therefore, he was credited as a writer of the song. “Take Me As I Am” is the seventh track from her 2005 album, The Breakthrough. The initial piano sounds in this song are excellent, and Mary J Blige’s vocals and high pitch towards the end of the song are incredible.
9. Love Is All We Need ft Nas
We can’t help but appreciate how Mary J Blige and Nas killed it in this track more than twenty years ago. In the song, Mary J Blige proved to the world that she had matured and she deserved to be in the conversation of the best female R&B artists. Nas puts the icing on the cake with his magnificent rap skills in the four-minute and sixteen-second song.
8. We Ride
This song celebrated Mary J blige’s happiness in her newfound husband and manager, Kendu Isaacs. Mary J Blige’s powerfully soulful vocals throughout the song and the calm voice towards the end of the song are pretty amazing. The song peaked at position 38 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hiphop Songs and is one of my personal favorite Mary J Blige songs ever.
7. I Can Love You ft Lil Kim
“I Can Love You” is one of the most catchy Mary J Blige songs. The song contains additional vocals from Lil Kim, LaTonya Blige-DaCosta, and the video is shot in a house and a forest. The beats of the track are magical, and Lil Kim’s verse is iconic. The track peaked at position 2 in the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hiphop Songs and 28 in the US Billboard Hot 100.
6. Real Love
This song was written and produced by Cory Rooney and Mark Morales, who thought Mary J Blige was the best female singer to deliver the message about the pain that females from the hood go through. The song was released in 1992 and peaked at position 35 on the Billboard Top 40 chart.
5. No More Drama
This song touches your soul and is almost like a gospel song. If you listen keenly to how Mary J Blige performs in this song, you will realize that very few other singers can deliver it the way she does since it takes more than a good voice to deliver such a song. If you want a song that will speak to you when you are stressed or feeling down, you need to listen to this jam.
4. Be Happy
Mary J Blige’s music is therapy to the ears of many of her fans. What I love most about this song is the fact that you can feel the pain in Mary’s voice, but you can also feel the power and conviction in the way she sings. The song contains a sample from Curtis Mayfield’s 1979 song, “You’re So Good To Me,” and was released as the lead single for her 1994 album, My Life. The song peaked at position 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became her fifth single to reach the top 10 Billboard Hot R&B /Hip-Hop Songs.
3. Mr. Wrong ft. Drake
In this song, Mary J Blige sings about how she is always attracted to the wrong guy even though her family warns her against it. The track features Toronto rapper Drake whose verse in the song is impressive and compliments Mary J Blige’s emotional verses excellently.
2. Family Affair
Billboard magazine listed “Family Affair” at position 79 in their Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs list. The jam, which was an idea by Dr. Dre and his pals, was later heard by Mary J Blige, who created the lyrics and melodies before she recorded the song. The song contains one of the hardest Dr. Dre beats, and Mary J Blige’s performance is top-notch.
1. Be Without You
Mary J Blige is truly the Queen of Soul and Hip-hop, and this song is evidence of her lyrical and vocal talent. “Be Without You” is arguably Mary J Blige’s most successful single to date. The track was certified double-platinum by the RIAA in 2007 and was ranked by Billboard as the most successful R&B/Hip-hop song of all time. The track is one of the most powerful and emotional R&B songs ever. The high notes towards the end of the song still give me chills to this day.