“Be Without You” | 'The Breakthrough' (2005)
This was truly a “breakthrough” record for Mary. Released in September 2005, “Be Without You” proved to be one of Mary’s biggest singles. The record spent 15 consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts and was the longest-running on those same charts, spending an astounding 75 weeks on the charts. Fans of Mary’s career were happy to see her in love and enjoying married life at the time, after enduring such a tumultuous relationship in the ‘90s. This song, written by Blige, hitmaker Bryan-Michael Cox, Johnta Austin and Jason Perry, showcased that love for everyone to see.
“I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” Method Man feat. Mary J. Blige | 'Tical' (1995)
First things first, Method Man is forever fine. Now that the obvious has been stated, one of the great hip-hop and R&B collabs must be acknowledged. Technically, this is Method Man’s song, but it deserves to be mentioned as one of Mary’s top songs as well. Who can ever forget duo sitting on the New York roof bobbing their heads to the beat on the gritty video? This classic went on to win the duo a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and soared to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Share My World” | 'Share My World' (1997)
This was never released as an official single but “Share My World” from Mary’s third album by the same name deserves its things. Flowers must be given to this classic Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins produced track. For five minutes and seven seconds, Mary so effortlessly sings and glides with the sultry beat with lyrics filled with promises, affirmations and requests for one’s significant other. She even appeared on The Jamie Foxx Show as a guest as the two performed this song as the duo we never knew we needed.
“I Can Love You” feat. Lil’ Kim | 'Share My World' (1997)
We would all love to work with our friends, and Mary did just that when she enlisted the help of her girl Lil’ Kim to provide a hot 16 while telling the men in their lives that they could love them better than their current situation. A messy bop! It was clearly a family and friend affair, with Mary’s sister LaTonya even sharing in the writing credits along with Blige, Lil’ Kim and Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. When you put the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul and the Queen Bee together, you’re bound to get a hit.
“Family Affair” | 'No More Drama' (2001)
Some folks may not necessarily rock with this song, but the fact remains that this is one of Mary’s most successful songs. Produced by Dr. Dre, “Family Affair” combines a funky mix of R&B and hip-hop as well as some interesting vocabulary with listeners being told about a “dancery” where “holleration” and “hateration” would not be tolerated. If that wasn’t enough, we also had a healthy dose of the auntie moves we so richly deserve and love from the queen.