Mary J. Blige and Diddy have one of Hip-Hop and R&B’s most dynamic friendships to-date. As Blige graced the most recent cover of PEOPLE, the longtime peers mutually reflected on their shared history and heartwarming bond.
“Mary J. Blige is one of the greatest storytellers in R&B history,” the Bad Boy mogul, 53, explained. “She created a lane for women around the world to speak their truth to power, so nobody deserves this success more than her.”
When speaking on the rapper-producer, the former First Lady of Uptown Records admitted that not only was Diddy a teacher of sorts, but was also her biggest cheerleader. “Puff was a huge inspiration for me,” Blige, 52, reflected. “He wanted all of this for me more than I wanted it myself.”
The two artists first connected in the early ’90s when Blige was plucked from Yonkers and became Uptown Records’ youngest and first female signee at age 18 under the direction of Andre Harrell—Diddy’s mentor.
Not only did the LOVE Records founder consider Blige to be his “sister and best friend,” he also declared, “she will forever be a pioneer and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, who remains an unstoppable force that can accomplish anything she sets her mind to.”
The My Life songbird recalled once being afraid of success and ambition—a fear that Diddy couldn’t relate to—but him balancing her out in those areas led her to become the Emmy and Grammy-winning superstar she is today.
Watch her full introspective breakdown below.