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My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1) [Deluxe Version]

Mary J. Blige

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iTunes Review

Hard to believe Mary J.’s classic sophomore album, My Life, came out in 1994, changing the game and establishing her as one of R&B's most talented and enduring voices. My Life II...The Journey Continues is her 10th studio album and finds her in top form, working with producers like Tricky Stewart, Rico Love, and Jim Jonsin. As always, she sings about the ups and downs of life and love with equal parts strength and sensitivity, as only Mary can. She collaborates with iconic New York emcees Nas (the Wu-Tang–sampling "Feel Inside") and Busta Rhymes ("Next Level"), as well as new-school heartthrob Drake on "Mr. Wrong" and Dirty South mainstay Rick Ross on "Why." Beyoncé joins the party on the 808-propelled duet "Love a Woman," and Mary's rapping alter ego Brook Lynn does her thing on "Midnight Drive." An exceptional and complete album, it's further evidence that even after two decades in the game, MJB remains one of the best who's ever done it. Other crucial tracks include the single "25/8," the Chaka Khan cover "Ain't Nobody," and her theme song from the movie The Help, "Living Proof."

Customer Reviews

17 Years Later...

For those of you who think Mary J. Blige is overrated, think again. For every album she’s EVER released, she’s always put her heart and soul into them. She doesn’t care about how much money she can get from the records. All she really wants is to make a difference in this world and inspire many people to become better human beings.

This album REALLY demonstrates Mary’s growth and maturity. Every song has a good meaning to it: love, joy, pain, desire, and strength. I love every track on the album. I don’t care about that lame stereotype people put out there that males need to listen to male musicians and females need to listen to female musicians. If I think a singer/rapper is good enough for my ears, I’m going to listen to them.

And Mary J. Blige passes the test! Here’s my review of her songs on this album:

1. Intro:
Mary is always humble and respectful. For her to include P. Diddy [Puff] on this track, just as he was on the 1994’s My Life album, shows how Mary remains loyal to the music industry and where she has come from. Puff helped her music career from the beginning and she’s grateful for it!

2. Feel Inside (feat. Nas):
I love this song. The beat has the current hip-hop flare to it. I can hear this song being played in any club right now. Mary sings with her past ex-boyfriend Nas. For them to come together, YEARS later, and blend their talents together is awesome! I originally heard this song with Nicki Minaj, but this version is better!

3. Midnight Drive (feat. Brook Lynn):
This song captures Mary’s ‘sick’ ability to play with rhymes. She has such attitude and arrogant confidence in her voice as her alter ego, Brook Lynn, takes you into the gist of what the song is trying to say.

4. Next Level (feat. Busta Rhymes):
Since Mary originally collaborated with Busta Rhymes on the “What’s the 411?” album, it was interesting for her to bring him back into the studio for this album. As Mary said in an interview, “He took the song ‘Next Level’ TO the next level.” This beat is fire with that crazy instrument sound looped in the background (I’m not too sure what it is, but I like it).

5. Ain’t Nobody:
Mary is awesome in her lyrical ability. Her voice is strong, unique, and mature as she does a remake for Chaka Khan’s hit song. Since Chaka was one of her greatest musical influences, you know this has to be an interesting song to listen to.

6. 25/8:
We’ve all heard this song on the radio before. It has a beat to it that’s not too fast or too slow. It’s meaningful and really makes you think about what you would do with an extra hour in your day, and an extra day in your week.

7. Don’t Mind:
*****This is my favorite track on this album. Because of the uniqueness of the bass in this song, it reminds me of the track “Feel Like a Woman” on her 8th album—Growing Pains. This is a really touchy, lovey-dovey song.

8. No Condition:
This song kind of has a sad feeling to it, but at the same time it can be positive. Mary talks about how her faith in her man has slowly begun to die, so she’s going to make it a mission to love him. The beat starts out a little interesting; making you think you won’t like it. But after 1 minute and 30 seconds, the REAL beat and instruments kick in. I didn’t like this song at first too much, but now I love it.

9. Mr. Wrong (feat. Drake):
I like this song too. Drake killed the beginning verse. When Mary assembles her voice to the rest of the song, she does it so intricately; with her strong highs and soft lows. Wow…

10. Why (feat. Rick Ross)
This song has a really nice beat that could go back to the 90s, and the natural bass in it adds to this effect. I’m not a huge fan of Rick Ross, but he does a great job with his rhymes.

11. Love a Woman (feat. Beyoncé)
Mary J. Blige and Beyoncé both have really strong voices and know how to use them well. This song is definitely not what some people thought it would be like (Mary and B hollering all over the place). It was perfect! These two women played off each other’s notes and followed in sync with one another. You can tell that this beat was put together with some thought.

12. Irreversible
I love the beat to this song. The words are as good as usual, but the beat draws me in so much as well as the instruments and piano keys. Her voice is so strong, clear, and pure.

13. Empty Prayers
This song is like the track “Smoke” from Mary’s 8th album—Growing Pains. It is so personal and heart felt. Mary is begging God to have the man she adores to love her back.

14. Need Someone
This song may sound country, but it’s not about the music. It’s about the words. I love this song because it’s real, and it’s true. Mary J. Blige ALWAYS has something meaningful to say.

15. The Living Proof
I heard this song after the movie “The Help.” It made me want to cry even more when I heard it. Mary’s voice is much stronger than it was 17 years ago. She has the experience to sing this song right here.

16. Miss Me with That
Although this song doesn’t go along with where Mary is in HER relationship, it could stand for the new mindset she has formed for her ‘love’ standards. She will no longer take any abuse or lies from the people she loves. This is another sign of her growth in her love for herself over the years.

17. Someone to Love Me (Naked) [feat. Diddy & Lil Wayne]
I love the bass in this song. This was originally Diddy’s song, but I like how she re-worked it. It actually reflects on Mary’s past issue on looking for someone to love her. She never loved herself the way she needed to, so she looked for it in others. But she’s come a long way from that now.

18. Get It Right (feat. Taraji P. Henson)
I DIDN’T KNOW Taraji P. Henson COULD RAP! SHE’S ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD!!! Wow. And this beat is insane. I’m pretty sure this beat is a remake from another artist. It has such an old school sound to it. I LOVE IT!

Yesss! Mary is back!

I love the joint with Beyoncé. Love you, Mary! ❤

Mary J Blige Fan!

Mary, Mary, Mary! You are so extraordinary! This album is beast, as always! your vocals are nuclear! Your songs have great messages! Thanx for the album!

P.S. "Ain't Nobody" is the best dance song ever!!

Biography

Born: January 11, 1971 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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....
Full Bio

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