A collection of Mary J. Blige’s biggest hits from the ’90s and rare remixes came out today as the HERstory Vol. 1 box set. The set is a journey through Blige’s career as she established herself as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Everything is there from her 1992 hit “You Remind Me” to the 1993 remix of “What’s The 411” featuring K-Ci and The Notorious B.I.G.
Uptown Records co-founder Andre Harrell discovered Mary J. Blige in 1988 after she recorded a cover of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up In The Rapture” at the Galleria Mall in Westchester, New York. Blige would sing backup for Uptown artists like Father MC before she recorded her 1992 debut album, What’s The 411? Sean “Diddy” Combs was her producer and they made history recording the future classic. Singles “You Remind Me,” “Real Love,” “Reminisce” and “Love No Limit” became relationship anthems and appear in original form and remixes that are being released on the 7″ format for the first time.
Blige’s ascendance continued with her sophomore album My Life. It was at this time she recorded her 1995 duet “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By” with Method Man that won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or A Group. Her ability to connect with the feelings of so many women fans was expressed in the singles “Be Happy,” “I’m Goin’ Down,” “Mary Jane (All Night Long),” “You Bring Me Joy” and “I Love You” which are also included in the box set. There is an LL Cool J-assisted remix of “Mary Jane” and the “I Love You” remix features rappers Smif-N-Wessun.
HERstory Vol. 1 is available in CD, 2LPs and digital versions. Jay-Z’s “Can’t Knock Hustle” featuring Blige is on the CD and 2LP versions. The collaboration for Jay-Z’s 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt only happened because dance singer Veronica Vasquez missed the recording date and Blige lent her voice instead. It was another moment when Blige combined her R&B foundation with hip-hop.
The retrospective of Mary J. Blige’s career comes just in time for the holiday and all versions are available from the usual retailers.
1. You Remind Me
2. You Remind Me (Bentley’s Mix
2.Real Love (Hip Hop Mix feat. Notorious BIG)
1.Reminisce (Bad Boy Remix)
2.Love No Limit (Puff Daddy Remix)
1. You Don’t Have to Worry (Album Radio Mix)
2. You Don’t Have to Worry (Remix Main With Clean Rap)
1. What’s the 411 (Puba Mix)
2. What’s the 411 (Notorious BIG and K-Ci)
2.Be Happy (Bad Boy Butter Mix feat. Keith Murray)
1.Mary Jane (All Night Long)
2.I Love You (Remix feat. Smif n Wesson)
1.You Bring Me Joy
2.I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need to Get By (Puff Daddy Mix feat. Method Man)
1. You Remind Me
2.Real Love (Hip-Hop Remix)
3.Reminisce (Bad Boy Remix)
4.Love No Limit (Puff Daddy Mix)
1. You Don’t Have to Worry (Remix Main With Rap)
2. What’s the 411 (Puba Mix)
3. What’s the 411 (Notorious BIG and K-Ci)
4. Be Happy
1.Mary Jane (All Night Long) (Remix feat. LL Cool J)
2.Love You (Remix feat. Smif n Wesson)
3.I’m Goin’ Down
4. You Bring Me Joy (LP Version)
1.I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By (Puff Daddy Mix feat. Method Man)
2.Everyday It Rains
3. Love Is All We Need
4. Can’t Knock The Hustle [Jay-Z] (** Available on physical versions only)