Mary J. Blige is one of the titans of R&B and is often credited with sparking the revival of modern American soul music and giving it an infusion of contemporary hip-hop and rhythm and blues. As the tough, but glamorous, first lady of American soul, Blige has been an inspiration to a generation of young artists.
Blige's first breakthrough success came with 1992's What's the 411?, her debut album which would reach No. 6 on the Billboard pop charts. Singles like "You Remind Me" and "Real Love" helped establish the diva as one of the biggest up and coming recording artists in the R&B scene.
Mary J. Blige also made a name for herself as a crossover artist, working with a variety of artists from different genres. In 1995, she paired with Wu Tang Clan's Method Man to record a smash-hit single "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need To Get By," which would go on to win a Grammy Award.
In 1997, Blige released her third album, Share My World, which peaked at No. 2 on the pop charts and featured a slew of R&B hits like "Not Gon' Cry" and "It's On." After her next two albums, No More Drama and Mary, the songstress had a chart-topping smash with 2005's The Breakthrough. The album would feature various hits like "Be Without You," "Enough Cryin'" and a collaboration with U2 called "One." The Breakthrough would go on to net Blige three Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song ("Be Without You") and Best R&B Album.
After the release of Growing Pains in 2007, the album shot to the top of the pop charts and dominated the airwaves with the hit, "Just Fine." Blige's career also received a noticeable boost in 2008 when she went on tour with Jay-Z, which turned out to be one of the highest-grossing hip-hop tours of the year. In 2009, Stronger with Each Tear debuted at No. 2 on the pop charts and further established Blige's enduring popularity in hip-hop and R&B circles.
Over the course of her hugely successful career, Mary J. Blige has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry and enjoyed stunning commercial success. With the release of 2011's My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1), the diva shows no signs of relinquishing her title as the modern day queen of R&B anytime soon.