Sean “Puffy” Combs didn’t have a final strategy for My Life yet. He had gone through many records and the only song that stuck was Poke and Tone’s “Be Happy.” Uptown Records was in disarray—in fact, Puff had been fired from the label—but Mary J. Blige’s follow-up to What’s the 411? couldn’t fall through the cracks. Washington DC producer Chucky Thompson, who Puff picked up to help start a shell of an idea called Bad Boy, had a vision. He wanted to make Mary a legitimate R&B force by showing off her vocals and sharpening her writing chops. He wanted to kill the noise of her vocal shortcomings. He would rip samples from Roy Aires, Curtis Mayfield and Barry White and add instrumentation over them. All Mary had to do was write.
MJB, stuck in an abusive relationship with Jodeci’s K-Ci Hailey, had plenty of pain to fuel her pen. She had the ammo to create the bible for women with broken hearts. The classic album, My Life, didn’t have the marketing dollars that TLC’s Crazy Sexy Cooldid but word of mouth was all the push it neded. The album went on to sell 3 million copies. Twenty years later Hitman Chucky Thompson, who produced all but one record, remembers creating the album that many consider to be the benchmark of Mary J. Blige’s career.
Vixens, thought you knew everything about the queen of hip hop and R&B? Lies you tell. Head over to VIBE and check out 5 facts you didn’t know about Mary J. Blige’s My Life.
Photo Credit: via VIBE