Mary Jane Blige (born January 11, 1971) grew up in the projects of Yonkers, New York. A random decision to record a cover of “Caught Up in the Rapture” by Anita Baker in a pop-up recording booth at a mall led MJB to getting signed by Uptown Entertainment. After providing background vocals on Father MC’s hit single “I’ll Do 4 U” in 1990, a young intern at Uptown named Sean “Puffy” Combs ended up executive producing Mary’s 1992 debut album What’s The 411?. Fusing hip-hop beats with Mary’s soulful voice earned her the nickname “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul”.
She followed up her debut with a string of critically acclaimed albums, including 1994’s My Life and 1997’s Share My World, as well as hit singles such as “Not Gon' Cry,” “Family Affair,” “Be Without You,” and “Just Fine.”
She also collaborated with rappers on a number of tracks, including Jay-Z’s “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” Ghostface Killah’s “All That I Got is You,” Wyclef’s “911,” Common’s “Come Close,” and Method Man’s “I’ll Be There for You/All I Need to Get By,” which was a platinum hit and won the two of them a Grammy Award in 1996 for Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group.
MJB has become one of this generation’s most successful R&B artists, selling millions of albums worldwide and winning numerous awards. She has amassed an impressive 9 Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Album for The Breakthrough and Best R&B Song for “Be Without You” in 2007. She also branched out into acting, an avenue where she has also won awards for her performance in the 2017 film Mudbound.
On February 13, 2022, Mary performed during Dr. Dre’s historic Super Bowl LVI halftime show in Inglewood, California, along with Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent and Eminem—two days after the release of her album Good Morning Gorgeous. The Super Bowl performance would later land all the artists an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Variety Special category.