INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Mary J. Blige performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California.

Mary J. Blige’s sound implements hip-hop, soul, R&B, and gospel in a unique way. A trailblazer in the ’90s and ’00s, she’s known as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. With a career spanning nearly three decades, she has won nine Grammy awards (nominated for 37), won an Emmy, and has been nominated for two Oscars.

A recurring theme in Mary’s music is being very vulnerable and expressing pain from toxic romantic relationships. More recently, she sings about how to turn those negative feelings into positive ones. Her Grammy-nominated 14th studio album Good Morning Gorgeous was released in 2022. She spoke to Good Morning America at the time about what the phrase means to her.

“It’s a positive affirmation I had to speak over myself when I was in a really dark situation,” she explained.

“Be Without You,” “No More Drama” and “Real Love” are just some of her anthems about navigating relationships and finding a way to move on. She even got to perform her greatest hits in 2022 on the world’s biggest stage. At the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, she performed alongside Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent.

Mary J. Blige: Beyond The Music

In recent years, Mary has successfully delved into acting. She plays Monet in Power Book II: Ghost which was created by fellow hip-hop artist 50 Cent. The Bronx native even plays alongside her “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” partner Method Man in the series. The Grammy winner won two Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the NAACP Awards in 2021 and 2022.

In 2018, she was nominated for two Oscars for her work in Mudbound. Being nominated twice in the same year was a feat that had not been done by an African American entertainer prior to her. She also became the first person to be nominated for an Oscar in an acting and music category in the same year.

The Bronx native has been using her music to uplift her fans for decades. She created the Strength Of A Woman festival as a way to highlight women in the music industry. Mary began the festival in 2022. Whether it’s music, television, or building a lasting legacy, Mary continuously proves why she will always be the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.

Take a look below at 10 of Mary J. Blige’s best songs ranked:

  • 10 . "Good Morning Gorgeous" - Mary J. Blige 'Good Morning Gorgeous' (2022)

    “Good Morning Gorgeous” is the title track from Mary’s 2022 album. The track conceptualizes the self-love that has been absent from Mary’s music over the years. “Good Morning Gorgeous” is not just a song but an affirmation and testimony to Mary reaching an important realization in her craft and life. It peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, and Record Of The Year at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards. The album was nominated for Best R&B Album and Album Of The Year.

  • 9. "Everything" - Mary J. Blige 'Share My World' (1997)

    “Everything” was the third single from Mary’s Share My World. The track has a prominent sample of “You Are Everything” by the Stylistics as well as an excerpt from James Brown’s “The Payback.” Mary brings her soulful gift into the song, praising a lover who makes her life easier each day. “You take me away from the pain and you bring me paradise/And when I have cloudy days you brought sunshine in my life,” she sings. The Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced track peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100.

  • 8. "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" - Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige 'Tical' (1994)

    When you think of hip-hop love songs, this is one of the best. “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” is found on Method Man’s 1994 debut solo album Tical. It has an interpolation of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By,” which was released in 1968. “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” Mary earned her first Grammy win. A remix of the song was produced by Diddy and contains a sample from Notorious B.I.G.’s “Me & My Bitch.”

  • 7. "I Can Love You" - Mary J. Blige ft. Lil' Kim 'Share My World' (1996)

    Mary and Lil’ Kim complimented one another so well in “I Can Love You.” The track served as the second single on Share My World. It features a sample from Lil’ Kim’s “Queen Bitch,” from the rapper’s 1996 debut album Hard Core. The singer and rapper explain on the track how they are better for a man than the woman he is currently with. The record peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. Share My World was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.

  • 6. "Just Fine" - Mary J. Blige 'Growing Pains' (2007)

    “Just Fine” was letting the world know that despite all obstacles thrown at the singer, she was doing alright. The song is the lead single from Mary’s 2007 album Growing Pains. It topped the US Billboard Dance Chart and peaked at No. 22 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The track was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards.

  • 5. "No More Drama" - Mary J. Blige 'No More Drama' (2001)

    “No Drama” is the title track for Mary’s fifth studio album. The title of the album and song is exactly what Mary wanted to do in her personal life after vowing to abstain from drugs and alcohol. The song samples “Nadia’s Theme,” which is the infamous intro from the soap opera Young & The Restless. The Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced track was the second single on the album, peaking at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. No More Drama won Best R&B Album at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards.

  • 4. "Real Love," - Mary J. Blige 'What's The 411?' (1992)

    “Real Love” is one of Mary J. Blige’s best known songs. The song is from her 1992 debut album What’s The 411? and served as the second single on the project. It also gave Mary her first top-10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. The song set the tone for a successful career for the songstress and a narrative she’s kept throughout her music, searching for real love.

  • 3. "Family Affair" - Mary J. Blige 'Family Affair' (2001)

    “Family Affair” is the title track for her 2001 album. The song gave the Bronx native her first Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper. The singer followed up with the success of the song with a remix featuring rappers Jadakiss and Fabolous. The track brings out a different energy from the soulful singer as she shows how she can bring her talent to a uptempo, keep her artistic style and just let her hair down.The song was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards.

  • 2. "My Life" - Mary J. Blige 'My Life' (1994)

    “My Life” is the title track on Mary’s sophomore album. Mary goes to her gospel roots as she soulfully sings, “If you looked at my life/And see what I see” in the chorus. Mary sings the chorus over the jazzy Roy Ayers’ 1976 hit “Everybody Loves The Sunshine.” The album was nominated for Best R&B Album at the nomination 38th Annual Grammy Awards.

  • 1. "Be Without You" - Mary J. Blige 'The Breakthrough' (2005)

    In conversation about songs that you can feel the emotion behind, “Be Without You” is at the top of the list. You can hear how much Mary is in agony over a man she loves and she cannot as the title plainly reads be without him despite him being deceitful. The music video has Terrence Howard star as Mary’s boyfriend. It peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and “Be Without You” won Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards. The Breakthrough won Best R&B Album. It also was nominated for Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year.

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