R&B has been around for years and has evolved into something greater than what most expected. With each and every decade we are introduced to a new wave and a redefined definition of the sound. From the 60’s to 80’s R&B, to today’s current R&B sound; they have all displayed something different and unique. However, the R&B of the 90’s is arguably one of, if not the best decade of R&B music. It introduced us to a sound referred as “hip hop soul,” “bedroom music,” and a slew of male and female groups. It made some legends, while other legends in the making remained atop of their game. Here are 50 of the best R&B albums the 90’s had to offer the world.
Anyone up for 90’s R&B and chill?
*Top 40 in no particular order
- Donell Jones– Where I Wanna Be: In the 90’s LaFace Records had music artist putting out good music left and right. One LaFace artist who closed out the 90’s with a bang was singer/songwriter Donell Jones. Dropping the follow up to his debut My Heart, Where I Wanna Be plateaued him to success. Although the title track may have been a fan favorite, his leading single “U Know What’s Up” featuring TLC’s member Left Eye is his biggest hit to date. It placed in the top 10 on the Billboard charts. The album produced two other hit singles “This Luv” being one of them.
- Babyface– For the Cool In You: When the 90’s approached the singer and songwriter dropped his third album For the Cool in You. The album featured three of his biggest hits “Never Keeping Secrets,” “And Our Feelings,” and “When Can I See You.” The LP went 3x platinum and is also snagged a Grammy Award.
- Total– Total: You can’t be a Bad Boy without a bad girl; so Puffy introduced us to his bad girls named Total. Wrapped in everything that the label exuded. Kima Keisha & Pam represented for the bad girls of the world. Their self-titled debit album spawned three singles “Kissing You,” “No One Else,” and “Can’t You See.” The project went platinum, proving behind every bad boy is a bad girl.”
- Prince & the New Power Generation– Diamonds and Pearls: In 1991 the man full of music dropped his 13th album following his album Graffiti Bridge the previous year. The project featured the album’s title song that reached number 3 on the charts, but it’s song “Cream” reached number 1 and has become a staple in his live shows. Other tracks include “Get Off,” and “Insatiable.” This LP was also the first time Prince’s backing band New Power Generation was listed as co-bill.
- Groove Theory– Groove Theory: 1995 introduced us to the duo known as Groove Theory that consisted of singers and songwriter Amel Larrieux and Bryce Wilson. The two co-wrote the bulk of the debut album that featured its hit “Tell Me, (#5)” and a cover of the Isley Brothers “Hello It’s Me.” Sadly, Larrieux would exit the group to pursue a solo career, and the original pair would never record together again.
- Johnny Gill– Johnny Gill: After experiencing prior lukewarm solo projects, Johnny was ready to flex with his third LP. Plus it didn’t help that the other members of New Edition were embarking on solo careers at the time. His Motown debut produced two top ten singles before reaching double platinum status. The LP also received two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, and the Babyface penned hit “My My My.” Although that song may be a fan favorite, the Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis track “Rub You the Right Way” was a bigger hit.
- Usher– My Way: Teen heartthrob Usher Raymond achieved immediate success with his debut album. However, it was his second album with heavy production from Jermaine Dupri that plunged Usher into superstardom with three platinum selling singles. “Nice & Slow,” “You Make Me Wanna,” and the albums title “My Way” all have become classic Usher songs. It earned him a Grammy nomination, plus has sold over seven million units worldwide.
- Monica– Miss Thang: At the tender age of 13 Monica debuted with a powerhouse voice beyond her years and an attitude to match. Aside from the album’s two covers “Tell Me If You Still Care,” and “Let’s Straighten It Out,” Miss Thang provided material that made Monica stand out from other teen singers at the time. It was supported by four singles and went triple platinum.
- SWV– It’s About Time: Originally named T.L.C. (Taj, LeeLee, & Coko) these three girls from NYC burst onto the music scene with hit single after hit single. Their top ten hit “I’m So Into You” was followed by their platinum number 1 single “Weak.” The ballad was written by Brian Alexander Morgan, (wrote majority of the album) who wrote the song about his feelings towards singer Chante Moore. It has become the trio’s signature song. They also found success with the remix of their song “Right Here/Human Nature” mix that samples Michael Jacksons “Human Nature.”
- Zhane– Pronounced Jah Nay: Kay Gee of the Hip-Hop group Naughty by Nature introduced the duo Zhane’ to the world. The ladies released a debut album on Motown in 1994. The leading single “Hey Mr. DJ” would become their biggest hit, but the group also had popular singles “Groove Thang,” “Vibe,” and their notable ballad “Sending My Love.”
- Brian McKnight– Anytime: In 1997 Brian dropped his third LP titled Anytime. Sticking to the script of his mellow love songs; Mcknight threw a curve ball to his fans with the Puffy produced “You Should Be Mine,” featuring Bad Boy artist Mase. The track ended up becoming his biggest hit in four years. The title track was also a big hit, along with “The Only One for Me.” Both earned Grammy nominations. Anytime is Brian’s highest peaking album on the R&B charts.
- Sade– Love Deluxe: If there’s any artist who’s in their own lane its Sade. Proving her mystic music powers, she provided a body of work that can find it’s own genre with Love Deluxe. Selling 4 million records worldwide with supported singles “No Ordinary Love,” “Cherish the Day,” and the beautiful “Kiss of Life.” A seven-year hiatus would follow the success of the album.
- 112– Room 112: Bad Boy’s quartet returned ready to prove they’re men. Leading Room 112 with label-mate Mase on board for the single “Love Me” fans got more than what they bargained for. The album showcased a color of songs from “Crazy Over You,” to the Diane Warren penned “Your Letter.” To the bedroom classic “Anywhere” and directly after the mid-tempo “Love You Like I Did.” Both written by member Daron Jones, who lent his writing talents to a vast part of the LP.
- Tony Toni Tone– Sons of Soul: The Southern California trio returned three years later with their sophomore album Sons of Soul, the follow up to their debut hit album The Revival. Sons of Soul would live up to its hype and deliver more hits for the group. The album’s second single “Anniversary” became their most popular song, and earned them two Grammy nominations. Other songs off the album are “If I Had No Loot,” and “Lay Your Head on My Pillow.”
- Stevie Wonder– Jungle Fever: After his success with The Woman in Red soundtrack, Stevie lent his talents to movie maker Spike Lee for his film School Daze. Although he only did one song for the movie, it wouldn’t stop Spike from reaching out again. No stranger to making music for movies Wonder wrote all new original (except one song) music for the Spike Lee joint Jungle Fever. The soundtrack would also serve as Wonder’s first body of work in the new decade. Receiving mixed reviews wouldn’t stop devoted fans from loving the music. Aside from the title track, fans adored “Make Sure You’re Sure” and the very sentimental “These Three Words.”
- Blackstreet– Another Level: After lead singer Dave Hollister departed the group to embark on a solo career, and Levi Little went on to do whatever; Teddy Riley rebooted the group with new members Eric Williams and Mark Middleton. Another Level serves as the group’s second album that owns their biggest hit to date “No Diggity.” The Dr. Dre assisted song also became a number one hit, and the LP sold 4 million copies. All of the album’s nineteen tracks are produced by Riley, and include “Never Gonna Let You Go,” and “Money Can’t (Buy Me Love.”) And who can forget Taja’s adorable interlude following “I Wanna Be You Man.”
- Mint Condition– Definition of a Band: Third times always a charm and the band Mint Condition proved it with the album Definition of a Band. The project is home of one of their most popular hits “What Kind A Man Would I Be.” The LP is the group’s most successful album to date. “You Don’t Have To Hurt No More” and “Let Me Be The One” would also receive the single treatment.
- Aaliyah– One in a Million: Abandoning R. Kelly who earned her a great deal of success. Aaliyah teamed up with newcomers Missy Elliott and Timbaland the second time around. The partnership became milestone in all their careers. One in a Million introduced a new sound and a courageous move from the teen singer. Although the album did reach double platinum status within a year, sadly, it produced six singles to do so. Showing the strength and importance of working an album you believe in. Currently One in a Million has sold over ten million units worldwide.
- Janet Jackson– The Velvet Rope: Ms. Jackson’s second album in the 90’s (beside Design of a Decade) is the acclaimed The Velvet Rope. Rocking fiery red hair on its cover, Janet was indeed a new creature on her sixth studio album. The album was the inspiration and turning point of her suffering from depression, physical abuse and body image. The album’s concept represents limited access to an individuals need to feel special, and a metaphor for emotional boundaries. She released six singles including the best-selling single worldwide “Together Again.” When she resigned her contract with Virgin records for $80 million, it made her the world’s highest paid musical act for the second time.
- Xscape– Off the Hook: Re-emerging with a mature and sexier style after ditching their tomboy image of the first album; the ladies had material to accompany their new look. Its leading single “Feels So Good” was groovy and sensual, while their second single a cover by The Jones Girls “Who Can I Run To” received massive success and became the girls biggest hit. The album also released the single “Do You Want To,” before reaching platinum status.
- Tevin Campbell– I’m Ready: When you’re the protégé of legends such as Quincy Jones and Prince, you have no choice but to put out good albums. Tevin’s second LP I’m Ready had songs picked from the best of the best. Its leading single and his biggest single “Can We Talk” was written by Babyface, as is the album’s title track. Prince also gave Campbell four songs for the project that happened to earn three Grammy nominations. “Don’t Say Goodbye Girl” and “Always in My Heart” also charted among the album’s six singles. Tevin was only 16 years old when he recorded the album.
- Ginuwine– Bachelor: After Timbaland and Missy Elliott found success with their one of a kind sound, they went to bat once more with Ginuwine. A young male singer; who like others are influenced by Michael Jackson. Dancing and the ability to sing was the recipe for The Bachelor. However, the album provided strippers across the world with the anthem “Pony.” Though others singles such, as “Lonely Daze,” and “I’ll Do Anything/I’m Sorry” would become popular for the singer as well. And let’s not forget his cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” that was also single worthy. Regardless, “Pony” will remain his biggest hit and is played every night in some strip club across the globe.
- Michael Jackson– Dangerous: In 1991 M.J. returned with his eighth studio album titled Dangerous. With its fitting title, being it was the first time Michael hadn’t worked with his longtime producer Quincy Jones since his career started. M.J. teamed up with New Jack Swing founder Teddy Riley who produced the majority of the album as Jackson wrote the material. The album’s songs were more R&B and New Jack Swing, than his signature pop sound. Dangerous released nine singles, which four are top ten, and a number one single, all while selling a total of 35 million records worldwide.
- Destiny’s Child– The Writings on the Wall: Houston Texas provided the 90’s with the girl group known as Destiny’s Child. After finding mild success with their debut album, Columbia Records called in the heavy-hitters for round two. Missy Elliott, Kandi Buruss, and Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins all contributed material to the album. Four songs received the single treatment and among the hits “Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Say My Name. The Writing’s on the Wall went eight times platinum and earned the group six Grammy nominations before the group eventually removed two members.
- En Vogue– Funky Divas: After proving they’re Born to Sing divas, the ladies of En Vogue quickly returned with their second album Funky Divas. Its leading single “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” was an instant hit out the gate. The group’s third single “Free Your Mind” would also become a hit for them as well, along with their cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Giving Him Something He Can Feel.” The album is still is the ladies biggest selling album. Funky Divas reached triple platinum status before its fourth single arrived. The second edition of the album also contains “Whatta Man” with female rap group Salt-N-Pepa, and “Runaway Love.”
- Boyz 2 Men– II: The Philly quartet known as Boyz 2 Men were riding the wave of the hit single “End of the Road.” Too bad the leading number-one single of the sophomore album “I’ll Make Love to You” penned by Babyface would become more successful spending 14 weeks on top of the charts. “On Bended Knee” would also reach number-one status out of the album’s five singles. II spent five weeks at number one on the charts and was the third best-selling album of 1995.
- Brandy– Never Say Never: Teen sensation Brandy was soring high on the success of her debut album. Teaming up with music producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins the nineteen year old presented a more mature sound the second time around. It was lead by her Grammy Award winning duet with fellow teen singer Monica “The Boy is Mine.” The album would become her biggest selling album with 16 million records worldwide, and sold out world tour. Never Say Never is listed in the Top 100 Best-selling albums in the U.S.
- Keith Sweat– Keith Sweat: After a pretty good successful career, Mr. Sweat self-titled his fifth album in 1996. The album went quadruple platinum with help from its chart-topping platinum singles “Twisted,” and “Nobody.” The album served as a re-introduction to Keith and has become his most successful album to date. The album often has occasionally found itself reentering the Billboard 200, with its most current reentrance being the week of February 19. 2011.
- Dru Hill– Enter the Dru: The leading single “How Deep Is Your Love” graced the Rush Hour soundtrack, setting up the release of the groups double platinum album. Following would be the Babyface written song “These Are the Times,” and a So So Def remix for “You Are Everything.” Sadly, member Woody would exit the group in height of the album’s success, prompting Sisqo to embark on a solo career. The group would later find themselves on a hiatus later. Enter the Dru will remain as the group’s best work with fan praised tracks “Beauty,” “One Good Reason,” and “Angel.”
- Next– Rated Next: The Minnesota trio debut album received some negative reviews for its overly sexual content, but the fans didn’t mind it at all. Leading single “Butta Love” garnered a mild buzz, before their second “Too Close” came and ushered the gentlemen into stardom, while becoming a platinum single. Rated Next would reach double platinum status by its third gold selling single “I Still Love You.”
- Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack: There’s no denying that in the 90’s Babyface was the go to man for a hit ballad. Lending his writing skills to author Terry McMillian, who turned her popular book into a movie starring Whitney Houston. The soundtrack couldn’t be nothing less than stellar. Houston provided the movie’s theme “Exhale (Shoop, Shoop).” However, what made the soundtrack classic and different in its unique way was the fact that only R&B female artist were featured on it. Young, new, and legends filled the motion picture soundtrack with never-forgetting music. Along with going 7 times platinum, it also spawned five hits in the top ten, and won a Grammy out of its eleven nominations. “Waiting to Exhale” set the record as the first film soundtrack to produce three simultaneous top ten hits in history of Billboard charts.
- Mary J. Blige– What’s the 411?: Newcomer Mary J. Blige stormed onto the music scene with a brand new music sound and style to match. With help from pal Puff Daddy, the two introduced the sound “hip-hop soul” to the world. Singing soulful songs over traditional hip-hop beats was the recipe for the success of Mary and What’s the 411? Critics praised her bravery for blending the hip-hop genre with soul music. It would become a blueprint many would follow. In addition, it earned her the title “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.”
- Guy– The Future: In 1990 when Teddy Riley and the group Guy returned to the music world with their second album, it’ll never be the same. Introducing a new music sound called “New Jack Swing,” the group had revolutionized a new musical sound for the future. The LP contained the hit song “Let’s Chill,” and also the single “Teddy’s Jam2,” and their cover of The Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love.” Too bad that the group disbanded, while Damion and Aaron began their solo careers, as Teddy took his created sound and formed the group Blackstreet.
- R.Kelly– R. Kelly: Third times a charm! After great fame and success with 12 Play and becoming a force in the R&B world Kells dropped his third album R.Kelly. The album’s material was more of a coming to age sound, and less sexual as his previous albums. From it’s intro “The Sermon” to the album’s closing track “Trade in My Life” provided a more introspective sound from the R&B titan. The album provided singles “You Remind Me of Something,” “I Can’t Sleep Baby (If I),” and its most popular “Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)” that formed a friendship with legendary Ron Isley and introduced Isley’s famed character Mr Big’s. The songs video presented R. as a storyteller of R&B. He even proved he could provide remixes for his tracks as well.
- Faith Evans– Faith: After providing background vocals for Mary J. Blige and Usher, Faith was ready to show the world what she was working with. Signing with Puffy’s Bad Boy Records, she prepared her debut album. The sound was a similar sound to the one Puffy created with Blige, however, Evans wrote every song on her debut with producer Chucky Thompson. The album received positive reviews and four beloved singles. “Come Over” was originally an interlude she turned into a full song. “You Used to Love Me” was originally music for label mates Total, but Faith wrote her own song to it. Faith Evans is a classic R&B debut, full of rich tones, boldness and jazz elements.
- Maxwell– Urban Hang Suite: After being shelved for a year due to label issues, singer Maxwell would release his debut album Urban Hang Suite. Critics celebrated the album for standing outside of what mainstream R&B music was at the time. The album was soul, jazz, funk and more. It’s another album that receives credit for ushering and shaping the “neo-soul” movement. Its track “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder) would help the album gain massive attention, and turn Maxwell into a sex symbol. And you could probably hear that song played at any and ever cookout.
- Jodeci– Diary of a Mad Band: Taking it one notch up for the second album, Jodeci returned with more to offer. With member Devante in the driving seat the albums formula would be the same as their debut, but transcending new heights. Diary… would still incorporate R&B with New Jack Swing. However, throw a heavy dose of sex and soul into the music. The album received top-charting hits “Feenin,” What About Us,” and the leading single “Cry for You.”
- Mariah Carey– Butterfly: The real emancipation of MiMi took place on the Butterfly album. The top-selling female of all time had just divorced from her manager and husband Tommy Motolla, and was ready to take full control of her music career. Butterfly displays Carey tapping more into the R&B and Hip-Hop sounds with the material. Referring to Butterfly as her “magnum opus” she says it was the turning point in her life and career. Contributing to her newfound sound was Trackmasters, Puffy, and Missy Elliott. Despite going 5 times platinum, and its commercial success, Butterfly did not win any awards of its three Grammy nominations. Still it produced two number-one single of the five released, and a bunch of acclaimed tracks.
- D’Angelo– Brown Sugar: Gospel, jazz, blues, and R&B all wrapped up and you have Brown Sugar, the debut album from D’Angelo, and its title track expressing his love for the herbal. Paying homage to Smokey Robinson with his cover of the quiet storm song “Crusin,” as he boasts, brags, and claims his woman with “Lady.” Brown Sugar is yet another album from the late 90’s that contributed to the neo-soul music movement.
- Luther Vandross– Songs: After acclaimed success in the 80’s and even more success in the 90’s Luther dropped Songs in 1994. A batch of cover songs from some of his favorite artist. Showcasing that he can convincingly sing anything placed in front of him, Vandross tackled some big songs, but nothing too big for a man with his vocal talent. When you take beloved songs from Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Burt Bacharach, and make it a hit again, that requires talent. Although a bulk of his work has always been material previously recorded by other artist, Songs is a gem, by the chosen covers.
TOP 10 in ORDER!
- Toni Braxton– Toni Braxton: capitalizing on the success of the soundtrack for the film Boomerang. Babyface placed Toni’s debut album on the fast track and released it a year later. The LP spawned five singles, earned her three Grammy Awards, and made her a bona-fide star. The Japan version is titled Love Affair after a song featured on the album. To date Toni Braxton has sold fifteen million copies worldwide.
- Erykah Badu– Baduizm: As the 90’s were drawing to a close Baduizm was a breath of fresh air with a refreshing sound. Critics praised this girl from Texas for her “artistic vision” she displayed with her debut project. Aside from debuting at #2 on the Billboard charts. Baduizm went 3x platinum, won a Grammy for Best R&B Album, and its commercial success helped usher in the neo-soul movement that begun to take place. The LP is known as a landmark for popularizing the neo-soul genre.
- Bel Biv DeVoe– Poison: And then there were three! New Edition’s remaining members picked up the pieces and created “BBD.” Three months into the decade they dropped Poison, and by the fifth month of the year they were certified platinum. They shaped and polarized an entire genre with their debut album. Their sound will be a catalyst for generations of music. It’s where R&B meets, Hip-Hop, meets New Jack Swing, meet “BBD,” a sound revolution. The gentlemen opened doors for music to push buttons and open envelops. The title track “Poison” will remain as the number one song of the 90’s on any and every list, because their music was “hip-hop smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop feel, appeal to it.”
- R. Kelly– 12 Play: Dropping the dead weight known as Public Announcement: Kells returned with a vengeance that would crown him the king of R&B. Some argue 12 Play was his sophomore album, while others say it was his debut. One thing for sure, it cuffed his fan base of ladies. The album’s material is sexually infused from start to finish, except for his remake of “Sadie” dedicated to his mother, and his “intermission” which adds comic relief to the project. The LP is the first of his trilogy, TP-2 (2000) and TP-3: Reloaded (2005.) However, none of them will be more prominent than the original 12 Play. “One, we’ll go to my room of fun…”
- Mariah Carey– Unplugged: Although this project is only an EP, it was a major force. After she found chart-topping success with her two previous albums, unplugged was put together to help silence naysayers who criticized her for not touring and unsubstantial television performances. Carey proved them all wrong. The raves caused a higher demand of continuous re-runs of the program, causing a release, and earning Carey her sixth number one single with her cover of the Jackson’s “I’ll Be There.” Her unplugged still is the most successful, selling ten million copies worldwide. The EP was also accompanied with a VHS titled MTV Unplugged+3.
- Whitney Houston– The Bodyguard sdtk.: With three praised and platinum selling albums under her belt, Whitney Houston was ready to take on the big screen. Making her acting debut in The Bodyguard Houston also lent her vocals to its soundtrack. The albums first half features songs performed by Whitney, while its second half has various artists. Whitney struck gold with this film, but more so with the soundtrack that went 17x platinum, and became the first album verified to have sold more than a million copies in a weeks period. Along the way it nabbed the Grammy for Album of the Year, making it the best-selling soundtrack of all time. The LP’s success is due to Houston’s vocal performance of the Dolly Parton remake “I Will Always Love You.” To date The Bodyguard has sold over 45 million units worldwide.
4. Janet Jackson– janet.: On May 18th 1993 Ms. Jackson dropped her 5th studio album two days after her 27th birthday. The album was centered on a bubbling bidding war with record labels. Jackson eventually signed with Virgin records for a 40 million dollar contract making her then the highest paid musical act worldwide. (Not too shabby for Mike’s little sister.) Teaming up with her producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Janet co-produced and co-wrote every song on the album. janet.’s leading single “That’s the Way Love Goes” became the projects biggest single spending eight weeks on the charts at number one, as well as being one of the six singles to chart in the top ten. Its ballad “Again” went double platinum and was written for the John Singleton film Poetic Justice, in which she starred in earned a Golden Globe nomination as well as a Grammy. The album has sold over 20 million copies worldwide, debuted at number one, with the largest first week sales in history for a female artist.
- TLC– Crazy Sexy Cool: There couldn’t have been any other title more fitting for the music trio than the title of their second album Crazy Sexy Cool. With an intro that defined the women to a “T” the ladies of TLC were heading towards stardom. Heavy hitter producers such as Puff Daddy, Babyface, Jermaine Dupri, and Dallas Austin all came together for the group’s album. Making a more coming of age album opposed to the material on their debut Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, Crazy Sexy Cool instantly received commercial success and spent over two years on the Billboard charts. Despite the negative media attention band mate Lise “Left-Eye” Lopez was garnering, TLC went on to win countless awards for Crazy Sexy Cool. Becoming the first female group to achieve diamond status (10 million units,) The Best-selling album by a girl group, and becoming the top selling female group of all time, all this from three girls who made it fun to be Crazy Sexy and Cool. Although they faced financial issues, the LP still sold over 23 million copies worldwide.
- Lauryn Hill– Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: When your other band mates are making solo albums, I guess you’re left with no choice but to make one yourself. Who knew it would become a masterpiece? After becoming pregnant and parting ways with The Fugees Lauryn presented the world with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. An album that would remain R&B at the core, but easily tread into hip-hop without notice. While providing array of sounds from every direction made the album unique in it’s own right. Meant to be a neo-soul album, the sound toys with a heavy reggae influences among many other styles. Named after a book title by Carter G. Woodson, Hill talked about love from many aspects. In 1998 Hill’s first-week sales broke records for a female artist at the time. Miseducation… catapulted Hill into superstar status in a blink. It made her the first female artist to earn ten Grammy nominations, and in one night at the 41st Grammy Awards, winning five of the ten. The LP would sell over nineteen million copies worldwide, and later be regarded by critics as one of the greatest albums of the 1990’s, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time.
- Mary J. Blige– My Life: Instead of cracking under the sophomore jinx pressure, MJB created a classic. Taking her signature created sound to new heights, as she embraced her newly given title as “The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.” Blige did what she knew best, sung about struggle, heartache and pain over blues infused hip-hop beats. Teaming up with Puffy, the pair recorded what would be Mary’s breakout album and solidify her as R&B royalty. My Life held the number one spot on the R&B Hip-Hop Albums chart for eight weeks. To date the album still resonates with Blige’s fans for its rawness and blunt lyrical content. Songs such as “Be Happy,” the Rose Royce remake “I’m Going Down,” and title track “My Life” remain staples in Mary’s live shows. In 2011 she released its sequel My Life II…The Journey Continues, which became the best-selling R&B album of 2012.
Brian Anthony @brianthony