Mary J. Blige
There’s a reason Mary J. Blige is known as the Queen of Hip Hop Soul; she’s been telling the 411 on most of our lives since the day she first stepped onto the scene in 1992. From “Real Love” to “Be Happy” and “I’m Going Down,” Mary was everything other R&B artists at the time weren’t—raw, honest, and open about the heartache and pain she was going through. “Not Gone Cry” against the backdrop of “Waiting to Exhale” put Mary on an entirely different pedestal and she became the symbol of the scorned, liberated woman, and fans could relate to her so much that she was almost like a girlfriend or older sister.
Even when Mary stepped out in 2001 and declared “No More Drama,” women rejoiced in her newfound happiness because we felt like we went through the struggle and grew up with her. Now, with the release of her 10th studio album, Mary is still loyal to the sound and the pain that paved the way for her success, with young girls waving their hands to “Mr. Wrong” the way women in the 90s appreciated “Love is All We Need.”