Since 1992, Mary J. Blige has influenced many artists and fans with her style, realness, and music. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul released hit singles that made us laugh, cry, dance, fall in love, keep the faith, handle heartbreak, and recognize inner strength. The 9X Grammy award winner is truly a notable figure in the entertainment industry.
Outside of her solo hits, Mary is also known for her collaborations with other singers and rappers. Her voice blends well in any musical genre, which shows her versatility as a vocalist. She has made over 150 appearances on soundtracks and with other artists. Mary is the only artist to receive Grammys in R&B, Rap, Pop, and Gospel from her solo records and guest appearances.
In honor of MJB’s upcoming appearance on FOX’s new hit TV series, Empire, this Wednesday (Mar. 11), we are spotlighting 20 of her best collaborations.
In the upcoming episode of Empire, Mary plays a woman, who Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) knew from his past that temporarily returns into his life. In a flashback scene, they sing the duet, “Shake Down,” which originally appears on Blige’s 2007 album, Growing Pains.
Here are our Top 20 Mary J. Blige collaborations!
Various Artists – Just Stand Up
On "Just Stand Up," Mary J. Blige worked with a talented roster of female vocalists (Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Fergie, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis, Carrie Underwood, Keyshia Cole, Leann Rimes, Ashanti, & Ciara) to raise awareness around cancer. L. A Reid and Babyface produced the song, which is certified platinum. It was great to see our Queen of Hip-Hop Soul band with other artists to collaborate for an important cause.
Love is All We Need – Mary J. Blige ft. Nas
Mary J. Blige and Nas’ collaboration, "Love is All We Need," was a dynamic moment for urban music. It is essential to love your fellow man and woman because God is love. Mary said it herself, "Love is all we need to make everything complete." Nas' testimonial verse in the song reveals his empathetic gesture when he says, "Stays wit me/ be my dog like Dollar and Richie/ She (Mary) convinced me, all we really need is love strictly."
Common ft Mary J. Blige – Come Close
"Come Close," produced by the Neptunes, is a smooth groove from Common's Electric Circus album. It was Common's marriage proposal to Erykah Badu at the time, and Mary's voice was angelic. The accompanying music video was perfect because Common is in love with a hearing impaired woman and he is declaring his love to her by using big cardboard signs. It was so emotional and endearing because Common is simply saying he will love his woman at all costs.
Mary J. Blige ft Ja Rule – Rainy Days
Ja Rule and Mary J. Blige delivered an uplifting message on "Rainy Days," a song about overcoming adversity. The record, produced by Irv Gotti, was one of the biggest collaboration in 2001. Maybe TLC turning down the song was a blessing in disguise because it turned out to be a win-win for Mary and Ja.
Mary J. Blige ft Jadakiss and Fabulous – Family Affair (Remix)
"Family Affair (Remix)" is from Mary's No More Drama and the up-beat tempo song was produced by Dr. Dre. The record was a great way for people to get up and dance, celebrate life, and leave the drama at the door. The song continued to receive so much attention when Jadakiss, and a new, young, fresh rapper on the scene at the time, Fabolous, were included in the remix.
Mary J. Blige ft. R. Kelly – It's On
"It's On" is from Mary's Share My World album, and it was great to see the King and Queen work together on a song, which Kellz wrote, produced, and arranged. Even though "It's On" wasn't a lead single, it’s still a classic grown and sexy record. Let’s just hope for a future "Kings and Queens Tour."
Mary J. Blige ft. The Notorious BIG – Real Love (Remix)
Sean 'Diddy' Combs introduced a rapper from Brooklyn when Mary j. Blige released the remix version to "Real Love." His name was Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious BIG. The remix elevated Biggie and Mary's career to a higher level and it's still a club banger 23 years later.
Mary J. Blige ft Lil Wayne x Diddy – Someone to Love Me (Naked)
Mary J. Blige and Sean 'Diddy' Combs’ latest hit is "Someone to Love Me (Naked)," with Lil' Wayne. Everyone is going to remember Weezy's line, "F**k the World, pop the cherry," because it was unexpected.
Mary J. Blige ft Drake – Mr. Wrong
“Mr. Wrong” is another duet for Mary J. Blige and Drake after the two teamed for "The One," from Mary's Stronger With Each Tear album. This was a relatable record because every female has come across a Mr. Wrong and try to maintain a relationship with them.
Ludacris ft. Mary J. Blige – Runaway Love
"Runaway Love," featuring Mary J. Blige, Ludacris gives various scenarios as to why these girls are labeled as "runaway girls." Listeners were impressed with the song because Luda and MJB talk about real-life issues that the world faces on an everyday basis.
Wyclef Jean ft Mary J. Blige – 911
The Grammy nominated song, "911," was a commercial success because Mary expanded her horizons when she worked with talented instrumentalist and producer Wyclef Jean. The line that most people will remember in the song was "messing around with you is gonna get me life, but when I look into your eyes, you're worth that sacrifice."
Ghostface Killah ft Mary J. Blige – All I Got is You
Mary and Ghostface made one of the saddest songs in hip-hop, but it’s also a classic. Ghostface needed a vocalist that understood the true definition of "struggle," and that was MJB. Before she was a diva to the world, Mary was trying to survive in Yonkers, so she can definitely relate. "All I Got is You," will bring tears to your eyes because it's powerful as Ghostface acknowledges his mother's strength and endurance, and the reality of the streets.
Mary J. Blige ft U2 – One
"One" is from Mary's multi-platinum album, The Breakthrough, and she sampled rock band U2's song "One," and added her gloss to it. I can understand why she wanted to work with Bono on this record because the song's lyrics is so groundbreaking and epic. Mary is truly a singer that will surprise because one minute she can work with a rapper and then next minute work with a rock legend. This is why she can play ball in different courts because talent doesn't discriminate.
Sam Smith ft. Mary J. Blige – Stay With Me
Mary's collaboration with Sam Smith is so significant. She wanted to work with the young and talented singer and songwriter because she senses real music. Sam and Mary's vocals are victorious on "Stay With Me.” Mary also worked with the 22-year-old on her latest album, The London Sessions, which shows that she is not too proud to challenge herself as an artist and be open to new ideas and talent.
Mary J. Blige ft Smif and Wessun – I Love You (Remix)
This is one of those remixes that makes MJB the undisputed Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Once you hear Smif and Wessun start the song with "This is what we do, all day, every day," you already know it's Mary's "I Love You," remix. The song states how much love she has for this person, but now it's time to close the door to the relationship and cherish the memories.
Mary J. Blige ft Lil' Kim – I Can Love You
"I Can Love You" is from Mary's third studio album, 1997’s Share My World. The record was produced by Rodney Jerkins and sampled Lil Kim's song "Queen Bitch," from her debut album, Hardcore. The song was number two on the R&B singles chart. This was an important record for Mary because critics were unsure if she would release another top-selling album without Puffy. And she proved the critics wrong when she collaborated with Lil' Kim.
Various Artists – Touch It (Part 2)
Busta Rhymes ft Mary J. Blige, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Papoose, and DMX – "Touch It (Part 2)"
"Touch It" was a huge record in 2006. Each artist on the remixes were able to include their flavor, which made it a hit. Mary's alter ego, "Brook Lynn" was on the record and she stepped out of her comfort zone as a singer.
Mary J. Blige ft K-Ci-Hailey – I Don't Want to Do Anything
Mary and K-Ci's duet is one of the greatest love duets from the 90's. Both artists were singing with so much passion and soul on this record. The lyrics were meaningful and it was such a perfect harmony. Ironically, the former couple's relationship was the total opposite of the song at the time because they both experienced a number of downfalls in their relationship. Nonetheless, this could be a baby-making record, because it's like, “if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.”
Can't Knock the Hustle – Jay-Z ft Mary J. Blige
"Can't Knock the Hustle” is the third single from Jay Z's debut album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996. Mary has said in various interviews that when Damon Dash played the record for her, she was down because Jay's voice and musical delivery were amazing and fresh. The collaboration was a radio hit, and it helped build the foundation of the then independent Roc-A-Fella records.
You're All I Need to Get By – Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige
"I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By" is the hip-hop version of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "You're All I Need to Get By," with more of an urban twist, but it also represents the Bonnie & Clyde approach in a relationship. The song was number one on the R&B singles chart in the spring of 1995 for three weeks. It teaches everyone the importance of loyalty, trust, respect, honesty, and unconditional love in a committed relationship. Diddy was clever when he added Biggie's verse, "Lie together/cry together/I swear to God, I hope we f**kin' die together," from his record, "Me & My Bitch." Mary and Method Man also received a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. The song will go down in history as one of the greatest hip-hop collaborations.