Mary J. Blige

What's the 411?

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Mary J. Blige's debut album, What's the 411?, was a revolution in disguise. Like her new jack predecessors, Blige combined RB with hip-hop, but unlike Guy and Bobby Brown, her music was more seductive and sly. More importantly, she sounds grittier and more real than most new jack swingers or female RB vocalists. Blige can slip between singing and rapping with ease, which is partially the reason why What's the 411? is so successful. It doesn't hurt that her collaborators, from Grand Puba to Sean "Puffy" Combs, help construct backing tracks that are both melodic, relentlessly funky, and sexy. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi