Home Read Classic Album Review: Mary J. Blige | Love & Life

Classic Album Review: Mary J. Blige | Love & Life

The queen of hip-hop soul accentuates the positive on her sixth studio album.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


When Mary J. Blige vowed to have No More Drama into her life, she wasn’t kidding.

On her sixth studio album Love And Life, the queen of hip-hop soul remains firmly committed to the positivity she embraced on her last album. If you’re looking for tales of bee-yotches, blunts, banging and bling-bling, look elsewhere — on these 18 cuts, Mary keeps it real mature, urging her fans to stick to their dreams, nagging her men to grow up, falling in love at first sight and thanking the man above for all her blessings.

Of course, it isn’t like Mary has taken a vow of poverty or anything. As always, Blige travels first-class all the way on Love And Life. For producers, she has none other than Sean (P. Diddy) Combs and Dr. Dre, who anchor these tracks with solidly whumping beats but don’t clutter them up with too many instruments, creating tastefully understated environments that give Blige plenty of room to work. The guest list includes the ubiquitous Jay-Z, old pal Eve, Wu Tanger Method Man and even 50 Cent to show that Mary is still street (you’d think 50 Cent would seem to supply more than enough drama for Mary).

Truth is though, even without all the high-power pals, Love And Life would be worthwhile, if only for the husky power of Blige’s voice, her controlled flow and — best of all — her histrionic-free delivery. Ultimately, it’s the lack of that brand of phoney drama that truly endears you to Blige.