Mary J. Blige Biography: Top Songs, Albums, Net Worth
Anybody who has heard music in over the last several years has heard of Mary J. Blige. An American songwriter and singer, she actually began her career by being a backup vocalist for the musician Father MC back in the early 1990’s. Having an extremely successful career, Mary has sold over an astonishing 50 million records, and even better, over 75 million records around the world.
She has released a total of 13 studio albums, having eight of them achieve multi-platinum status worldwide. Having been dubbed the Queen of Hip Hop Soul and the Queen of R&B, she is also credited as the very first artists to ever release a studio album of any kind where there was singing on top of hip hop beats. Because oft his, Mary J. has been credited with the creation of the genre of music, hip hop soul. Hip hop soul is special because it fuses together different elements from the various genres of music. These genres of music include R&B, gospel, and soul. So essentially, Mary J. was the very first person to use gospel vocals on a hip hop beat.
One of the things that helped to elevate Mary’s career, was the fact that she single handedly changed the face of modern day R&B.
In 1999, Rolling Stone even gave her very first album, titled ‘What’s the 411?’ that she recorded in 1992, as a ‘genre-creating album.’ As if that weren’t an honor within itself, she has also released a discography that consists of a whopping 14 top 10 albums on the Billboard 200, two remix albums, two live albums, and even over eighty of her top hitting singles, 20 of which are with other featured artists.
Mary J. Blige’s music has been so inspirational that she was even named the most successful hip hop/R&B singer of all time in the past 25 years by Billboard Magazine in 2009. Billboard magazine would then go on to rank her song, ‘Be Without You’, which was released in 2006, as the #1 most successful hip hop and R&B song in the history of music in March of 2017. They did so, as the song would remain on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart for a never before seen 75 straight weeks. What makes the song even more impressive is that of those 75 weeks ranked in the charts, 15 of them were in the number 1 spot.
Then, in 2011, VH1 bestowed the honor of ranking Mary J. Blige as the 80th greatest music artist of all time. A huge honor considering that there have ever only been 79 other people in the history of music to get the same honor. As if that weren’t enough, she was also ranked at number 100 on the greatest list of musicians of all time, the ‘100 Greatest Singers of All Time’ list by the Rolling Stone magazine. To top it off, VH1 also ranked Mary J. as the number nine musician in their ‘100 Greatest Woman in Music’ list back in 2012.
Having started her musical career in 1992, Mary J. Blige released her debut album, What’s the 411?, which ended up going multi-platinum with her record label at the time, Uptown Records and MCA. This album would go on to give Mary her first taste of the Billboard 200, as her album was listed as a top ten album. To Mary’s success, every single one of the albums that she has released have also hit the top ten on this particular chart.
Some of Mary’s most popular songs include the hits ‘Family Affair’, ‘Not Gon’ Cry’, ‘Be Without You’, and ‘Real Love’. She has had exactly four Billboard Hot 100 singles to be ranked in the top ten, and a total of sixteen singles to land on the top forty charts within the United States alone. On the Billboard Top 100, she has had over 30 singles in the top 100 songs, which makes Mary J. one of the absolute best R&B artists in the history of R&B, including not just album sales and hit singles, but in performances as well.
Mary J. Blige’s Top Songs
With so many hits that have topped the charts, it’s hard to pinpoint the songs that have shaped Mary J. Blige’s career. That is exactly why this is a list of her top singles of all time. These are the songs that have dominated the charts, are loved by all of her fans, and are just plain amazing. You are going to more than likely recognize most of these hits.
I’m Going Down
Being a remake of the classic Rose Royce song, ‘I’m Going Down’, this was probably Mary’s most popular cover that she ever recorded. Coming from her highly acclaimed album that was released in 1994, My Life, this particular song has been one of the most popular ones of Mary’s entire career.
Be Without You
Nominated as one of the absolute best singles in the early 2000’s, the hit ‘Be Without You’ was yet another R&B heartbreaking single that Mary J. put out. Landing itself at the number one spot for a total of 15 weeks, this song set a new record at the top spot on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. And yes, that 15-week record still stands as the longest time a single has been in the number one spot.
I Can Love You Better
Partnering with Lil Kim on this one, Mary J. Blige was able to form a unbreakable sisterhood with the rapper that would go on to make this song a huge hit. Being one of the best songs that Mary released in the 1990’s, this song proves that Mary was a versatile musician as she was able to combine the street sassiness with the smoothness of the R&B genre. If you have not heard this song, you need to do yourself a favor and check it out right now.
No More Drama
One of Mary’s most classic hits, No More Drama was produced by one of the best production team of all time, Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam. In fact, the title was actually an ode to Mary freeing her spirit and mind, and is one of her most popular songs in the 2000s.
I Don’t Wanna Do Anything Else
This single is great because there is so much emotion behind it. In fact, some even say that you can hear all of the pained passion in these heartfelt vocals from Mary J. and her boyfriend at the time, K-Ci Hailey who was part of the group Jodeci. Unfortunately, while both of these musicians were big stars on the Uptown Records label, they also had a very famous dysfunctional relationship in the early years of the 1990s as well.
Becoming one of Mary J.’s most dance friendly singles, her hit ‘Just Fine’ was an uptempo powerhouse that became a huge success. This is mainly in part to the fact that Mary had adopted a more upbeat perspective in the early 2000s, doing so many years after all of her heart braking songs.
Everyday It Rains
Potentially Mary J.’s most underrated songs of all time, this is one of the songs that she released that never lived up to the potential that it showed. While many will argue that this should have been another one of her number one hits, it unfortunately wasn’t. The song, originally released in 1995, was for the soundtrack to the popular hip-hop documentary released in 1995, The Show.
You Bring Me Joy
Being one of the many standouts on Mary’s 1994 album, ‘My Life’, this track featured one of the best Barry White samples with tons of love lyrics that just won’t quit. Oh, and did we mention that it was one of the best singles on her album that was one of her best chart topping albums?
Dominating the charts in the early 2000s, this is one party anthem that would elevate Mary’s career, as well as become one of her most famous songs ever. In fact, it would go on to dominate the number one spot during the entire summer of 2001. Oddly enough, this particular song was actually produced by one of the most notorious music producers of all time, Dr. Dre.
You Remind Me
Being her very first debut single, the hit You Remind Me first appeared on the soundtrack to the very underrated rom-com that was released in 1992, Strictly Business. However, this particular song would eventually become the very first song that the future Queen of Hip Hop Soul would have that landed itself in the top 40.
Being featured on her third studio album, Share My World, which was released in 1997, was Mary J.’s way of introducing us to her new ‘grown up and sexy’ vibe. Plus, it always helps you make a hit when you have the likes of George Benson playing a guitar solo.
Another hit single off her debut album, Reminisce is simply a throwback to the love that Mary felt at the time.
Not Gon’ Cry
Being one of Mary’s most popular heartbreak anthems, you could not turn on the radio without hearing this song back in the early to mid-1990s. In fact, this song was such a huge love anthem that it even ended up landing itself on the soundtrack to the hit move, Waiting to Exhale back in 1995.
Being the first song that would make Mary J. Blige a household name, this 1992 hit showcased her amazing voice, as well as her heartfelt lyrics. Luckily for Mary, after this song was released, the writing was on the wall and the rest is history.
Being the absolute first single off of Mary J.’s second studio album, it set the tone for what was to come. This album really allowed Mary to dive deeper into the R&B genre of music. While being one of her most popular singles, it was also an indicator that she was just getting started in the hip-hop and R&B genres of music.
Another hit single from her super popular debut album, What’s the 411?, this remake of the classic hit by Rufus and Chaka Kahn ended up showcasing Mary’s ability to do soul music as one of the best.
While these are only some of the top singles that Mary J. Blige has released, there are many more that have not made this list. With so many to choose from, it would take about forever to list all of her successful songs.
Mary J. Blige Net Worth
But with all of the hit singles that Mary has released, you must be wondering what this top superstar is really worth. Between all of her hit singles, performances and everything else that she has done, Mary J. has amassed a net worth of over $20 million. But would you expect anything less from the queen of Hip Hop and R&B?
Unfortunately for Mary J., however, she has run into a bunch of financial trouble during the span of her career. Back in May of 2013, Mary would apparently owe the IRS a whopping $3.4 million. On top of that, she would owe New Jersey over $900,000. To top if off, there would also be a lawsuit against the queen of R&B in the amount of $2.2 million, which was supposedly from a bank loan that was never paid back. While she was able to pay off the $900,000 that she owed to the state of New Jersey, her IRS bill would increase to the tune of $3.4 million. So she would do what anybody in trouble with the IRS would do, that being to buy a $13 million house in New Jersey.
While Mary J. Blige has had a career that only a superstar in the music industry would be able to imagine, she has also gotten herself into much financial trouble. But with a net worth of over $20 million, you can be safe to say that she is not worried about any of that financial stuff.