Week 19: 50 Albums That Changed Music [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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11-19-2006, 01:19 PM
This week's entry is the on the list for this genre, although it's not exactly my cup of joe and also one of which I have little regard because it simply does nothing for me Mary J. Blige - What's the 411? (1992)

When the Bronx-born 'Queen of Hip Hop Soul' catapulted her debut on to a legion of approving listeners, she unwittingly defined a new wave of R&B . Before Mary, R&B's roots were still firmly planted in soul and jazz (i.e. Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan). The emergence of hip hop and this album from Blige and her mentor and producer, Sean 'Puffy' Combs gave birth to a new gritty sound, informed by the singer's harrowing past. Without this there would be no R&B/Soul divide, which means no TLC, Beyonce or Ashanti, to name just three.

Ok, so what is the 411? And who really cares anyway? I could do without any of those they claim she influenced, but that doesn't mean this album didn't influence others are that it changed music.


11-19-2006, 05:51 PM
I am ready to believe this album was quite influential, but I haven't heard it and don't know anything too specific about it, so I don't have a comment.

But this reminds me: Has anyone heard Mary J. Blige's version of U2's "One" (Bono actually sings the first verse and comes in with her on the choruses). It's absolutely amazing. I mean, it seriously brought tears to my eyes the first few times I heard it (downloaded based on a recommendation I forget where from). If you like this song, I highly recommend you download her version from iTunes or wherever (it's contained on her latest album). She really recovers the anger and hurt in that song, that was always there but gets obscured with so many replayings. Much better than the excellent Johnny Cash version from a few years back. It totally floored me.