Back in July I wrote a post about the importance of the live return of D’Angelo and now Boston is on the cusp of witnessing it. But let me take this opportunity to speak a little about the other headliner on this bill, the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige. Perhaps, the most important woman currently representing the Diva’s of Soul (young female singers, you betta’ recognize!), what Blige has accomplished throughout her 20 year music career is nothing short of incredible. And let’s not forget, she held it down with Jay-Z back in ’08 on the Heart of the City tour, side by side, King & Queen made it the most successful R&B/Hip-Hop tour of all time (also The-Dream opened that show!). Who can remember the first time they heard “Real Love” off of her triple platinum debut album, What’s the 411? Here was this awesome vocalist, killing it over some of the best beats that 1992 could produce, featuring two from a young Sean “Puffy” Combs. The album, went to number 1 on the Hip Hop/R&B charts and got her two Soul Train Music Awards.
Blige has had an awesome career, working with so many incredible artists such as R. Kelly, Nas, Jay-Z, Aretha Franklin, U2, Elton John and the list keeps going. She’s released 10 albums and eight have gone platinum most of them 3 times, that’s some quality right there. Her follow up, 1994’s My Life was a staple in any guys CD collection who wanted to impress a girl, that and Boyz II Men. The super sultry hit, “I’m Going Down”, blends Sly & The Family Stone funk with classic Motown soul and makes me want to get up and scream ‘Hallelujah!’. Her 2001 record No More Drama, became one of her most popular records with the single “Family Affair”, where Blige takes you to church in the outro. And speaking of spiritual references, Blige is the only artist who has one Grammy’s in Pop, Rap, Gospel and R&B. Damn.
Mary J. Blige is a pioneer for females not just in the music industry but, in business as well. Her perfume, called “My Life” broke the Home Shopping Network’s sales records and proceeds were donated to her charity, the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now. Now she is set to share the stage with possibly one of the best male neo-soul vocalists, D’Angelo. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they come out and perform with each other. Mary J. is promoting her latest album My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1). And you know you can get seats to The Liberation Tour right here!