A couple weeks ago, NYC’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel was the spot for where a small group of journalists huddled for a private listening session of Mary J Blige’s latest endeavor, My Life II, the sequel to 1994 sophomore release of the same title.
Early in the morning, a group consisting of no more than 10 journalists gathered around hoping to be captivated by the Queen of R&B’s newest masterpiece. Before engaging in the listening, Mary’s manager gave a formal introduction in regards to the album, and how it all came together. He reiterated that the sequencing and tempo were key attributes into molding the album together, considering he and Mary knew that she would have the daunting task of trying to recapture the same magic from an album so early in her career.
After his brief spiel, he left the journalists among themselves to listen, and engulf in Mary’s 0newest passage. The intro to the album is one too familiar, as Mary is found conversing with the man who ignited her career, P. Diddy. With both realizing the challenge ahead, in regards to Mary toppling her previous works, both came to the conclusion that this album had to be the one to remind fans of not only vintage Mary, but the Mary that we all came to love and adore over the years.
With jams such as “Feel Inside” featuring Nas, and “Midnight Drive” featuring her alter-ego Brook Lynn, it was evident that the Mary was still able to tap and channel into her throwback swagger, as she brought back the edgy swagger that has conquered the up-tempo tracks in past efforts… with her powerful voice.
Mary would even bring along new friends on her magical journey such as Beyonce for her duet in “Loving a Woman”, and utilizing Rick Ross’ velvety flow for “Why.”
After hearing the album segue from the up-tempo having fun Mary, to the slow and more serious side of Mary, it’s apparent that Mary delved into her past, and was able to still remain present with who she is now, as she successful made a cohesive follow-up to its 1994 predecessor.
Listen for yourself on November 21, when My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1) finally hits stores.