Mary J. Blige’s “My Life”

Released: November 29, 1994

Genre: R&B • hip hop soul

Label: Uptown • MCA

Producer: Sean “Puffy” Combs • Chucky Thompson • Nashiem Myrick • Dalvin DeGrate • Herb Middleton • Prince Charles Alexander • Poke

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sophomore albums are touchy with musicians. It’ll either be successful or they’ll go through the sophomore slump. In Mary J. Blige’s case, it cemented her status as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. My Life was released November 29, 1994 and to this DAY, it is truly one of the best albums ever released. PERIOD.

I was two years old when she dropped this glorious album. I remember my mom blasting this album like no one’s business. You see, my mom is a HUGE Mary J. Blige fan. My dad is as well (in his head, Mary is my stepmother LMFAOOO). 🤣🤦🏾‍♂️ So it’s only right that the love they have for her passed down to me.

Mary was 23 when “My Life” was released. 23. She co-wrote a good chunk of the album, so this was her most introspective & personal album at the time. We caught our first glimpse of Mary during her triple platinum selling debut album “What’s The 411?”

What’s the 411 gave us an indication that Mary was a force to be reckoned with, & immediately gained the title “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” by belting out her distinctive vocals over flawless hip-hop influenced beats.

My Life showcases the complexities & raw emotions of a black woman in a tumultuous relationship. My Life has Mary’s boyfriend at the time (K-Ci from the legendary group Jodeci) written all over it. Topics on “My Life” range from clinical depression, melancholy, loneliness, Blige’s personal battles with drugs and alcohol & abusive relationships.

We address Mary J. Blige as “Mary.” We’re on a first name basis with Mary because her music is the soundtrack of our lives. We relate to her 100% when it comes to her music. Through her music, she tells us that she grew up and experienced the things we’ve done been through and that’s what makes her so lovable and respected. 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

My Life went to #7 on the Billboard 200 charts, & #1 on the Billboard R&B charts, and has sold over 3 million copies. The album also was certified triple platinum by the RIAA a year after its release speaks VOLUMES to how sis did that damn thang. 💁🏾‍♂️

Intro


Written by Mary J. Blige

Mary Jane (All Night Long)


Written by Mary J. Blige • Rick James

Come into my bedroom honey, what I got will make you spend money! Allllll night long! Mary kicks off the album with the magical Mary Jane (All Night Long). Sampling “All Night Long” by the Mary Jane Girls, “Mary Jane” by Rick James & Close The Door by Teddy Pendergrass, “All Night Long” gives us a sensual Mary showing her man how much she lovesssss him. 😉

You Bring Me Joy


Written by Mary J. Blige • Joel “Jo-Jo” Hailey

You Bring Me Joy is my songgggg! It contains a sample of Barry White’s “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me,” & lyrically showcases how the love of her man makes her satisfied and and how she wouldn’t know what she would do if he was not in her life. The song was released as the third single from the album, peaking in the top 40 on the R&B charts and number 1 on the Dance charts as well.

Marvin Interlude


Written by Mary J. Blige

I’m The Only Woman


Written by Mary J. Blige

I’m The Only Woman is one of my favorite songs from Mary, and rightfully so! Lyrically, I’m The Only Woman is a song where the singer is letting her man know that she’s literally the only woman that he needs..& if you can’t see that, I’m rolling out.

The song samples Curtis Mayfield’s “Give Me Your Love” from the Superfly soundtrack.

K. Murray Interlude


Written by Keith Murray

My Life


Written by Mary J. Blige ∙ Arlene DelValle

The title track is important to Mary’s catalog. If we can take a look into Mary’s life & witnessed the things she’s gone through…we can resonate a lot more with the artist. Mary had a tumultuous upbringing, & suffered in a horrible relationship as well.

However, we listen as Mary tells us that we’re all going through our personal trails and tribulations..but we must believe that we will overcome them. My Life samples Roy Ayers’ 1976 hit “Everybody Loves the Sunshine.”

You Gotta Believe


Written by Mary J. Blige ∙Faith Evans ∙Big Bub ∙K-Ci Hailey

You Gotta Believe is a tale that the man has to trust that his woman will not hurt him whatsoever. 🙌🏾🙌🏾

I Never Wanna Live Without You


Written by Mary J. Blige ∙Big Bub ∙Faith Evans

I Never Wanna Live Without You is a SONG! Everything about it is a classic Mary record: from the production, to the lyricism and THEEEE FAITH EVANS is in the background tearing it up! Like it’s literally one of the best songs I’ve ever heard in my life. Period.

I’m Going Down


Written by Norman Whitfield

Back in July of 2019, I had the pleasure to see Mary live on her tour with Nas. The “My Life 25” segment of the concert was my favorite cause mamas came THROUGH. When it came time for Mary to sing “I’m Goin’ Down,” she didn’t have to pick up the mic..cause the whole arena sang the song for her. That’s a HUGE testament to Mary & her legacy. It’s simply untouchable.

Anyway, her cover of Rose Royce’s 1976 hit “I’m Going Down” became her own signature song! What makes Mary’s version so special is how you hear the pain & despair in her voice. You feel every lyric 100%. I mean that’s what artists do. 🙌🏾🙌🏾 I’m Going Down was a top twenty hit for Mary, peaking at number thirteen on the R&B charts and peaked at number twenty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as well.

My Life Interlude


Written by Mary J. Blige ∙ Big Bub

Be With You


Written by Mary J. Blige

Be With You is one of my favorite Mary songs of all time. We’ve all been there when we want that special someone to see that we love & want to be in their presence. The man is basically rejecting Mary & she can’t see why he would want such a thing. I know I can relate. 🥴

Mary’s Joint


Written by Mary J. Blige ∙ Sean “Puffy” Combs

Mary’s Joint is the story of my life. You can’t let go of the one you’re in love with, & you’re pleading with that person..like why can’t we work it out? You said that our love will last forever? What is hurting both of us that we have to part? That’s the ultimate vibe I get from this record. The song was sampled by Drake for his Weston Road Flows record from his 2016 album Views.

Don’t Go


Written by Mary J. Blige ∙Big Bub ∙Faith Evans

..Mary is pleading for her love to not leave. He has her heart 100%, & he MUST STAY 🗣Don’t Go is a whole bop! Sampled by Goodbye Love by label mates Guy, & Stay With Me by DeBarge, Don’t Go is my favorite to belt out.

I Love You


Written by Mary J. Blige ∙Sean “Puffy” Combs

When I was young, I loved when my mom would play “I Love You.” I Love You is a tale that all former lovers have from their sizzled romance is the good times, but the love is still there. This song samples Isaac Hayes’ “Ike’s Mood.”

No One Else


Written by K-Ci Hailey

There is no competition!

No One Else is another quality gem from the album. Sampling Free At Last by Al Green & La Di Da Di by Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh, No One Else tells the tale of Mary saying no matter how much I try to stay away from you or what you do to hurt me..no one else will compare to you. You are number one in my book!

Be Happy

Written by Mary J. Blige • Arlene DelValle

How can I love somebody else..if I can’t love myself enough to know when it’s time. time to let go…

SING MARY! Be Happy is one of Mary’s most memorable songs, & is essential to the soundtrack of our lives. Sampling Curtis Mayfield’s “You’re So a Good to Me,” Be Happy was a song Mary wrote to heal herself.

In a way I can see this song being a practice of self care. In an interview on MTV jams, Mary stated this about the concept of “Be Happy:”

If you don’t set yourself up to just be happy, period, every day, keep your head up, you’re gonna always be sad. And I had to realize that I have to be happy, you know. So, that song was sort of like a healing process for me. That was something I wrote to heal me.

With the “My Life” album, Mary touched so many lives with her music & gave her the confirmation that she wasn’t alone. My Life was the best selling R&B album of 1994 & number 1 on the R&B charts for eight weeks.

We love & appreciate Mary for telling her stories and giving a lot of us hope and inspiration to keep it pushing. My Life has saved my life, speaking that I’ve gone through depression and heartbreak as well. Mary will always REIGN SUPREME. The blueprint. The QUEEN OF HIP-HOP SOUL. Hell, the Queen of R&B. -MJ

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