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25 Essential Mary J. Blige Songs

Celebrate the Queen of Hip Hop Soul with a playlist of her chart-topping, career-defining along with fan favorite-tracks

1 / 25

"You Remind Me" (1992)

Found On: What's The 411? (1992)
Charted: No. 1 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 29 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: Mary's debut single that launched her solo career.

2 / 25

"Sweet Thing" (1992)

Found On: What's The 411? (1992)
Charted: No. 11 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 28 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: Cover of Rufus and Chaka Khan's 1975 hit of the same name.

3 / 25

"Real Love (Remix)" feat. The Notorious B.I.G. (1993)

Found On: What's the 411? Remix (1993)
Charted: N/A
Notes: The original single version may have been Mary's breakout hit, but the remix featuring Biggie still gets spun regularly by DJ's around the world.

4 / 25

"Be Happy" (1994)

Found ON: My Life (1994)
Charted: No. 6 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 29 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: Lead single from Mary's critically acclaimed sophomore album.

5 / 25

"I'm Goin' Down" (1994)

Found On: My Life (1994)
Charted: No. 13 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 22 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: Cover of Rose Royce's 1976 hit off the soundtrack for the film Car Wash.

6 / 25

"My Life" (1994)

Found On: My Life (1994)
Charted: N/A
Notes: While never officially released as a single, the album's title track is a definitive Mary song and a favorite among most fans.

7 / 25

"I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By" with Method Man (1995)

Found On: N/A (Remix of "All I Need" off Method Man's 1994 Tical album)
Charted: No. 1 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: Although the remix was not on the original version of Meth's album, the version featuring Mary has become a definitive song (and video) for both artists.

8 / 25

"Not Gon' Cry" (1995)

Found On: Waiting To Exhale soundtrack (1995)
Charted: No. 1 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The third single off the Whitney Houston/Angela Bassett film's soundtrack was, at the time, Mary's biggest solo hit since "Real Love" and is today considered an R&B classic.

9 / 25

"I Can Love You" feat. Lil Kim (1997)

Found On: Share My World (1997)
Charted: No. 2 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 21 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The song's music video isn't available on MJB's official channels (for some reason), but it's a must-watch for the fashion alone. Mary and Lil' Kim were '90s style icons.

10 / 25

"Everything" (1997)

Found On: Share My World (1997)
Charted: No. 2 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 24 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: Released as the third single off Share My World, the song was produced by longtime Janet Jackson collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

11 / 25

"Seven Days" feat. George Benson (1997)

Found On: Share My World (1997)
Charted: No. 3 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 71 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The song features a guitar solo from jazz guitarist George Benson, who also appears in the video.

12 / 25

"All That I Can Say" (1999)

Found On: Mary (1999)
Charted: No. 6 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 44 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The lead single from Mary's self-titled fourth studio album, written and produced by Lauryn Hill right around the same time The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was owning the music scene.

13 / 25

"Your Child" (1999)

Found On: Mary (1999)
Charted: No. 23 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs
Notes: While the song was not one of Mary's major pop chart hits, "Your Child" remains a timeless fan favorite 16 years later.

14 / 25

"Family Affair" (2001)

Found On: No More Drama (2001)
Charted: No. 1 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The song and video were instant pop culture phenomenons and Mary's biggest hit at the time--becoming her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

15 / 25

"No More Drama" (2001)

Found On: No More Drama (2001)
Charted: No. 16 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 15 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: Mary's passionate, jaw-dropping performance of the album's title track at the 2002 GRAMMY Awards resulted in a standing ovation. The performance is still considered one of the best GRAMMY performances ever.

16 / 25

"Not Today" feat. Eve (2003)

Found On: Love & Life (2003) and Barbershop 2: Back in Business soundtrack (2004)
Charted: No. 21 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 41 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The song was not just the third single from her Love & Life album, but also a lead promotional single for the Barbershop 2 soundtrack.

17 / 25

"Be Without You" (2005)

Found On: The Breakthrough (2005)
Charted: No. 1 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The single's video featured actor Terrence Howard, who had just been critically acclaimed for his turn as Djay in Hustle & Flow, and in the Oscar-nominated Crash the year before. It would be 10 years before we'd come to know him as Lucious Lyon in Fox's current hit series Empire.

18 / 25

"Enough Cryin" (2005)

Found On: The Breakthrough (2005)
Charted: No. 2 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 32 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The song features Mary's rap alter ego "Brook Lynn," with MJB's longtime friend Jay Z credited as a writer on track. Consider it returning the favor for her classic hook on his 1996 hit "Can't Knock the Hustle."

19 / 25

"One" with U2 (2005)

Found On: The Breakthrough (2005)
Charted: No. 86 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: "One" is a new version of U2's 1992 hit. In early 2005, Bono invited Mary on stage to sing the song at the band's New York show; U2 and Mary received a standing ovation, and months later they recorded Mary's lead-vocals version for her album.

20 / 25

"Just Fine" (2007)

Found On: Growing Pains (2007)
Charted: No. 3 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 22 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: The song, the lead single from Mary's Growing Pains album, was ranked 41st on Rolling Stone's 100 Best Songs of 2007.

21 / 25

"Stay Down" (2007)

Found On: Growing Pains (2007)
Charted: No. 34 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs
Notes: The scenic, wintery video for "Stay Down" was directed by the iconic Hype Williams, who previously worked with Mary on her "Be Happy," "Everything," and "Enough Cryin" videos.

22 / 25

"I Am" (2009)

Found On: Stronger With Each Tear (2009)
Charted: No. 4 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs / No. 55 on Billboard Hot 100
Notes: "I Am" was a major part of the press campaign for the album, with Mary performing the single on shows like The American Music Awards, The View, The Today Show, Late Show With David Letterman, So You Think You Can Dance, and more.

23 / 25

"The Living Proof" (2011)

Found On: The Help original soundtrack (2011)
Charted: No. 27 on Billboard Adult Contemporary
Note: The song was nominated for a 2012 Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and because Mary was a co-writer (along with the film's composer Thomas Newman) she was also nominated.

24 / 25

"Right Now" (2014)

Found On: The London Sessions (2014)
Charted: N/A
Notes: The lead single from London Sessions once again saw Mary unafraid of experimenting with new sounds. Hit electronic/dance producers Disclosure produced the track, and pop singer-songwriter Sam Smith co-wrote it.

25 / 25

"Whole Damn Year" (2014)

Found On: The London Sessions (2014)
Charted: No. 5 on Billboard Adult R&B Songs / No. 39 on Billboard Hip-Hop/R&B Songs
Notes: Talking to Vibe, co-writer Emeli Sandé said of the song, "I wrote this song and I love this song, but I didn't think that it was a song for me for some reason, and as soon as Mary heard it and connected to it, it really felt like the song had found it's natural and true home."

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