New York soul-rap diva
Mary J. Blige, an authentic product of the ghetto's tough life,
popularized the fusion of soul and rap that had been developing since
Bobby Brown's massive success of 1988.
Both her manifestos,
What's the 411? (1992) and
My Life (1995), were crafted by producer Sean "Puffy" Combs.
She became more of an interpreter of soul and pop material starting with
Share My World (1997), despite the fact that it was produced this time
by the inventors of new jack swing, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis,
and continuing with the slick but bland Mary (1999).
She tried to show a more mature side with No More Drama (2001)
and Love And Life (2003)
but, like most divas, her persona is not terribly interesting.
The music is old-fashioned soul music, elegant and lush, but, ultimately,
derivative and repetitive.
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