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Mary J. Blige's Best Songs and Albums: A Ranking of Her Discography (12 Albums) 1992-2011



Mary J. Blige Discography (12 Albums) 1992-2011




Introduction




Have you ever wondered how Mary J. Blige became one of the most successful and influential R&B singers of all time? How she managed to sell over 80 million records worldwide, win nine Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, and three Golden Globe nominations? How she earned the title of the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" for her fusion of soulful vocals and hip-hop beats?




Mary J. Blige Discography (12 Albums) 1992 2011 255



If you have, then you are in for a treat. In this article, we will explore her discography from 1992 to 2011, covering her 12 studio albums that showcase her evolution as an artist and a woman. We will look at the themes, styles, collaborations, and critical reception of each album, as well as their impact on the music industry and culture.


But before we dive into the albums, let's get to know Mary J. Blige a little better.


Who is Mary J. Blige?




Mary Jane Blige was born on January 11, 1971 in The Bronx, New York. She grew up in a rough neighborhood, where she witnessed violence, drugs, and poverty. She also suffered from abuse and neglect from her father, who abandoned the family when she was four years old. She found solace in music, especially in gospel and soul singers such as Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, and Patti LaBelle.


She began singing in church at a young age, and later joined a local band called Pride. In 1988, she recorded a cover of Anita Baker's "Caught Up in the Rapture" at a mall kiosk, which caught the attention of Andre Harrell, the founder of Uptown Records. He signed her as a backup singer for his label's artists, such as Father MC and Heavy D.


In 1991, she met Sean "Puffy" Combs, who was then an A&R executive at Uptown. He became her mentor and producer, and helped her develop her own style of blending soulful singing with hip-hop beats and samples. He also introduced her to other rappers who would collaborate with her on her debut album.


What is her musical style and influence?




Mary J. Blige is known for her musical style that combines elements of R&B, soul, hip-hop, pop, dance, reggae, and gospel. She is also known for her powerful and expressive vocals that convey a range of emotions from pain and vulnerability to joy and empowerment. She often sings about her personal experiences and struggles with love, abuse, addiction, faith, and self-esteem.


Mary J. Blige is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists in R&B history, as she pioneered the genre of "hip-hop soul" that fused soulful singing with hip-hop beats and samples. She also paved the way for other female artists to incorporate hip-hop elements into their music, such as Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. She also influenced male artists such as Usher, R. Kelly, and Drake.


Mary J. Blige has been honored with numerous awards and accolades for her musical achievements and contributions. She has been inducted into the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame, the BET Walk of Fame, the Soul Train Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has also received honorary doctorates from Howard University and Berklee College of Music. She has been ranked among the greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone, VH1, Billboard, and Time.


The Albums




What's the 411? (1992)




Overview




What's the 411? was Mary J. Blige's debut album, released on July 28, 1992 by Uptown Records. The album was produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs, who was then an A&R executive at Uptown. The album featured guest appearances from rappers such as Grand Puba, Heavy D, Busta Rhymes, and Notorious B.I.G.


The album title was inspired by Blige's previous job as a 411 operator, as well as her desire to inform the listeners about her life and music. The album blended soulful singing with hip-hop beats and samples, creating a new sound that would later be dubbed as "hip-hop soul". The album also reflected Blige's personal struggles with poverty, abuse, and addiction.


Reception and legacy




What's the 411? was a commercial and critical success, peaking at number six on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA and sold over six million copies worldwide. It also received rave reviews from critics, who praised Blige's raw and authentic vocals, as well as Combs' innovative production.


The album is widely regarded as one of the most influential albums in R&B history, as it paved the way for other female artists to incorporate hip-hop elements into their music, such as Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. It also influenced male artists such as Usher, R. Kelly, and Drake. The album was ranked number 279 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020.


My Life (1994)




Overview




My Life was Mary J. Blige's second album, released on November 29, 1994 by Uptown Records. The album was again produced by Sean "Puffy" Combs, who gave Blige more creative control over the songs. The album featured guest appearances from rappers such as Method Man, LL Cool J, Keith Murray, and Nas.


The album title was inspired by Blige's personal experiences during that period, which were marked by depression, substance abuse, and an abusive relationship with K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci. The album expressed Blige's pain and vulnerability through soulful ballads and mid-tempo grooves. The album also paid homage to classic soul artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Roy Ayers, Marvin Gaye, and Aretha Franklin.


Reception and legacy




My Life was another commercial and critical success for Blige, peaking at number seven on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. It was certified triple platinum by the RIAA and sold over seven million copies worldwide. It also received acclaim from critics, who hailed Blige's emotional honesty and maturity.


The album is widely regarded as one of Blige's best works, as well as one of the greatest R&B albums of all time. It resonated with many fans who related to Blige's struggles and empowerment. It also influenced other artists such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, John Legend, Fantasia Barrino, Keyshia Cole, and Jazmine Sullivan. er with Each Tear was another commercial and critical success for Blige, peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. It was certified gold by the RIAA and sold over one million copies worldwide. It also received positive reviews from critics, who praised Blige's vocal performance and musical versatility.


The album is widely regarded as one of Blige's most uplifting and inspiring works, as well as one of the best R&B albums of 2009. It earned Blige three Grammy nominations, including Best R&B Album, and won one award, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the song "Be Without You". It also influenced other artists such as Kelly Rowland, Monica, Fantasia Barrino, and Jennifer Hudson.


My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1) (2011)




Overview




My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1) was Mary J. Blige's tenth album, released on November 21, 2011 by Geffen Records. The album was produced by a variety of producers, including Sean "Puffy" Combs, Rodney Jerkins, Danja, Jim Jonsin, Rico Love, Harvey Mason Jr., DJ Premier, Swizz Beatz, Eric Hudson, Jerry Wonda, and The Underdogs. The album featured guest appearances from singers such as Beyoncé, Drake, Nas, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Brook Lynn, Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Styles P., Sheek Louch, DMX and Anthony Hamilton.


The album title was inspired by Blige's sequel to her classic album My Life (1994), which marked its 17th anniversary. The album showcased Blige's continuation of her journey as a person and an artist after facing new challenges and opportunities in her life. The album also paid tribute to classic soul artists such as Chaka Khan, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, Roy Ayers and Nina Simone.


Reception and legacy




My Life II... The Journey Continues (Act 1) was another commercial and critical success for Blige, peaking at number five on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. It was certified gold by the RIAA and sold over 800,000 copies worldwide. It also received positive reviews from critics, who praised Blige's vocal performance and musical homage.


The album is widely regarded as one of Blige's most nostalgic and respectful works, as well as one of the best R&B albums of 2011. It earned Blige two Grammy nominations, including Best R&B Album. It also influenced other artists such as Keyshia Cole, K. Michelle, Tamar Braxton, Sevyn Streeter and Ledisi.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Mary J. Blige is one of the most successful and influential R&B singers of all time. She has released 12 studio albums from 1992 to 2011, each showcasing her evolution as an artist and a woman. She has blended soulful singing with hip-hop beats and samples, creating a new genre of "hip-hop soul". She has also experimented with different genres such as pop, dance, reggae, rock, jazz, and funk. She has expressed her personal experiences and struggles with love, abuse, addiction, faith, and self-esteem. She has influenced many other artists across genres and generations. She has been honored with numerous awards and accolades for her musical achievements and contributions. She is truly the "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul".


FAQs




Q: How many Grammy Awards has Mary J. Blige won?


A: Mary J. Blige has won nine Grammy Awards out of 32 nominations.


Q: What is Mary J. Blige's latest album?


A: Mary J. Blige's latest album is The London Sessions (2014), which features collaborations with British artists such as Sam Smith, Disclosure, Emeli Sandé, and Naughty Boy.


Q: What is Mary J. Blige's net worth?


A: According to Celebrity Net Worth, Mary J. Blige's net worth is estimated at $20 million as of 2020.


Q: Is Mary J. Blige married?


A: Mary J. Blige married Kendu Isaacs in 2003, but they divorced in 2018 after a bitter legal battle.


Q: What are some of Mary J. Blige's best songs?


A: Some of Mary J. Blige's best songs are "Real Love", "Not Gon' Cry", "Family Affair", "Be Without You", "No More Drama", "Just Fine", and "Thick of It".



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