Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of Mary J. Blige’s “My Life”

November 29, 2014  |  
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One of Mary J. Blige’s most popular albums, My Life was not only popular for it showcasing Blige’s growth as an artist and being one of her most personal albums, but for its critical acclaim. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album, MadameNoire compiled a list of secrets you didn’t know about the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’s sophomore album.

Like firstly, My Life is an inside look at Blige’s abusive and depressive life at the time — including her tumultuous relationship with K-Ci from Jodeci and substance abuse.

“I’m Goin’ Down” is a cover of Ross Royce’s “I’m Going Down.” Blige’s version is more popular to this day.

“Mary Jane (All Night Long)” samples multiple songs: Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long,” Rick James’ “Mary Jane” and Teddy Pendergrass’ “Close the Door.” No wonder why it was such a soulful hit in 1995.

“You Bring Me Joy” samples “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me” by Barry White.

“I Love You” samples DJ Hollywood’s “Hollywood’s World” and Isaac Haye’s “Ike’s Mood.”

Blige’s older sister LaTonya Blige-DaCosta provided backing vocals to her title track, “My Life,” which features a sample from”Everybody Loves The Sunshine” by Roy Ayers. Blige-DaCosta is a singer herself and is probably recognizable from her cameo in the music video for “Family Affair.”

Lauryn Hill rapped on “Be With You,” but the rap wasn’t featured on the album. It was featured a remix of the song. Hill and Blige would work together again on “I Used to Love Him” from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Also, Hill wrote “All That I Can Say” for the “Mary” album.

Also, the song samples “High Powered” by Dr. Dre and features an interpolation of “Hey Love” by The Delfonics.

Faith Evans was featured on backing vocals for the album. She co-wrote and did backing vocals for “You Gotta Believe.” Later she would receive solo success and become Bad Boy’s first lady. Blige would end her work relationship with Diddy for a while since he started paying more attention to Evans.

There was beef at Uptown Records between president Andre Harrell and intern Diddy after the latter started Bad Boy Records. Nevertheless, Diddy produced the album.

The “K. Murray Interlude” was supposed to feature Notorious B.I.G., but his rap was too violent for a R&B album. But it was later featured on “Who Shot Ya” from Born Again.

“Don’t Go” samples several songs including “Goodbye Love” from Guy’s self-titled debut album. It samples DeBarge’s “Stay with Me” and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Brazilian Rhyme (Beijo).” It features an interpolation of “Speak to My Heart” by the New York Restoration Choir featuring Donnie McClurkin.

“I’m The Only Woman” features a sample from Curtis Mayfield’s “Give Me Your Love.” Also, the song features lyrics from “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays.

“NO One Else” features two samples. One of those samples is Al Green’s “Free At Last.” And the other sample is Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di” featuring the line “there is no competition” in the intro of Blige’s song.

“(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” a cover of Aretha Franklin’s 1967 hit from her classic album Lady Soul album, was featured on the international version of the album.

Tone of Tone and Poke thought Poke’s idea to sample “You’re So Good To Me” by Curtis Mayfield wouldn’t work for “Be Happy,” but Tone and Poke sent it to Diddy after all, and the rest is history. The hit also samples “I Want You” by Marvin Gaye. The remix samples “Money (Dollar Bill Ya’ll)” by Jimmy Spicer.

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