Mary J. Blige Is The Queen Of The Feature.

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Is Mary J. Blige the Best Feature in Music?

Today is the incomparable Mary J. Blige’s birthday! Blige has been a solidified musical icon for decades, while many consider her one of the greatest R&B artists of all time, I wanted to take the opportunity to honor her as being one of the most prestigious hip-hop features alive! 

If you look at the list of artists that Mary J. Blige has collaborated with, it’s essentially a miniature music hall of fame. In about 30 years active in the music industry, Mary J. has published 26 features that have charted. Uniquely enough, a large chunk of the songs she’s been featured on were large charity songs to alleviate a variety of disasters and for large celebrations. 

Mary J. Blige Features Can Be Broken Into a Few Categories.

Hip-Hop Classics 

Imagine you’re a young Jay-Z and you’re putting together your debut album, what artist would you want to be on the first song on your first album? HOV chose Mary J. Blige to join him on the intro of Reasonable Doubt on the song “Can’t Knock The Hustle.” 

Potentially bigger than being on Reasonable Doubt is the timeless classic “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” alongside Method Man. Nearly thirty years after it’s release – the duo of Meth and Mary can still be heard on the radio, in clubs, at weddings, and quite literally anywhere else. 

You weren’t paying attention if “Runaway Love” by Ludacris and Mary J. Blige didn’t make you cry in 2006. Adding May J. Blige to your rap song is an immediate cheat code for adding soul and emotion. The outro Mary sings on “Runaway Love” could make the scariest man cry. “I was runnin’ away too. I will run away with you, I will run away with you. Runaway, runaway love.”

Beyond those bangers – Blige has worked with old school greats such as Grand Puba, DMX, Ghostface, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Common, Diddy Wyclef, Jadakiss, 50 Cent, Missy Elliot, and many other legends. More recently Mary has lent her talents to the new school collaborating with Meek Mill, TI, Big Boi, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Eminem, and Dave East. 

In many ways, Mary J. Blige is one of the biggest features in hip-hop. 

Charity and Major Events

It appears that whenever a tragedy takes place, the first thought that nonprofits have is “Get me Mary J. Blige.” Who could forget the collaboration of A-List artists that was “Just Stand Up,” by the group Artists Stand Up to Cancer? This song is the only time you’ll get side by side comparisons of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, Fergie, Carrie Underwood, Nicole Scherzinger, Mary J. Blige, Leona Lewis, Keyshia Cole, Natasha Bedingfield, Ciara and Ashanti. 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. In 2016 – two of the three features she published were charity songs, one titled Hands which was in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and a remix of Where Is The Love by the Black Eyed Peas. The least likely people to collaborate with Mary J Blige through these two songs are probably Jussie Smollett, RuPaul, and Imagine Dragons. Blige also worked with The Roots to record a song benefiting relief efforts in Haiti.

Charity aside – Blige has been tapped to make music for the 1996 Olympic Games and to honor Luther Vandross and Elton John. That all being said, look at how much Mary J. Blige gives to the people, she deserves her roses! 

R&B Mega Collaborations

The third and final type of Mary J. Blige feature is the R&B mega collaboration. In 1999 – Mary J. Blige joined Kirk Franklin and The Family to release Lean On Me, a soul-filled classic. Six years later Blige was on Patti LaBelle’s album on the track Ain’t No Way, which is also the title of a Whitney Houston track that coincidentally features Mary J. Blige. 

The list of artists that Mary J. Blige has worked with is elite. Chaka Khan, Musiq Soulchild, Sinead O’Connor,  and Andrea Boccelli are just a few of the colossal names that have worked with Blige. 

Having Mary J. Blige on your album is comparable to when a fancy restaurant is awarded a Michelin Star, it is a sign of quality. Good Kid M.A.A.D City, Reasonable Doubt, Man On The Moon II, Dreams And Nightmares, and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill are just a few of the iconic albums that Blige has blessed. 

Today we honor the Queen of the feature, one of the best to ever sing, and a trailblazer for all music – Happy Birthday to Mary J. Blige!