The Mary J Blige, Chill collaboration
Kevin Chill Heard | 12/24/2013, 11:55 a.m. | Updated on 12/24/2013, 12:10 p.m.
MJB asks Chill, ‘What’s the 411 son?’
By KEVIN CHILL HEARD
Mary J. Blige was born to the world as Mary Jane Blige, and is one of the most honored and adored R&B singers of our day. Known for pouring her soul out on records, her multitude of loyal fans has linked her with providing the soundtrack to their lives. They’ve even gone so far as to breaking down Mary J. Blige eras of music into “sad Mary” and “happy Mary” sections.
Ten albums in, Blige has racked up numerous awards, including nine Grammy awards, and she is the “collab” of choice for hip-hop royalty, performing duets with everyone from Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill and Biggie, to Common, Ghostface Killah and Lil Kim. But it was her collaboration with Wu Tang member Method Man on the Marvin and Tammy remake “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By” that set the standard for the modern-day hip-hop R&B “collabo.”
Her second LP, “My Life” (1994) has been hailed by many as one of the greatest albums of all-time.
Born in the Bronx and raised in Yonkers, NY, MJB is one of NYC’s biggest and most loved stars. Catching up with “MJB” on the West coast, Chill was able to collab for an interview session with the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” about her life, her music, including her new Christmas album “A Mary Christmas” and her latest acting gig as an angel named Platinum Fro, in the film “Black Nativity.”
The Mary J. Blige and Chill hook-up was almost 20 years in the making.
As Queen Mary entered the room, I tried to persuade the other writers to stand in her presence. They laughed. I stood. Mary entered and smiled. She looked very youthful and not much older than she did when we first saw her in the 1992 “Real Love” video, jumping around in her baseball jersey and rockin’ army boots. And while she has long traded in her hip-hop gear for the top couture fashions of New York and Paris, she was still MJB.
It’s cold in here,” exclaimed Mary, adding, “are you guys cold?” To which I looked for somebody who could assist her, a publicist, a make-up artist, a rep from the studio, a maid… somebody!
After we gladly got the room regulated to a toasty 76 degrees, Mary was warm and cheerful.
With the Christmas spirit approaching, she was more than happy to talk about her holiday CD,
“A Mary Christmas.”
“It’s so special,” she beamed. “It’s not your regular Christmas album, it’s Mary. So when you think of me [this is what the album is]. I did a lot of different things, but I also did a lot of Mary stuff. So if you’re a fan of Mary you are gonna love the Christmas songs.”
I had always wondered if and when I finally scored a MJB interview, would she refer to herself in third person as I had often heard her do before – and she did not disappoint. Yes, this was the real Mary!