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Mary J. Blige

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Bronx, New York, United States (1992 – present)

Mary Jane Blige (born January 11, 1971 in The Bronx, New York, United States but grew up in Yonkers, New York) is a Grammy award winning singer, rapper, model and actress. She released her debut album, What’s The 411?, in 1992 to critical acclaim, and has since released eight more chart topping albums. The 25/8 Songfacts reports that the first single from My Life II: The Journey was released for digital download on September 1, 2011. Blige performed “25/8” for the first time live at Good Morning America the following day.

When her debut album, What’s the 411?, hit the street in 1992, critics and fans alike were mesmerized by its powerful combination of her modern R&B rendition of the classic soul aesthetic; also mixed with an edgy rap sound that glanced off of the pain and grit of Mary J. Blige’s childhood. Called alternately the new Chaka Khan or new Aretha Franklin, Blige had little in common stylistically with either of those artists, but like them, she helped adorn soul music with new textures and flavors that inspired a whole generation of musicians. She would quickly be crowned “the Queen of Hip Hop-Soul”; leaving Aretha the title “Queen of Soul”. Blige’s title reflecting both her powerful soul vocals, and added Hip Hop flavor.

With her blonde hair, self-preserving slouch, and combat boots, Blige was street-tough and beautiful all at once, and the record company execs who profited off of her early releases did little to dispel the bad-girl image that she earned as she stumbled through the dizzying first days of her career.

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