In true MJB fashion she kicks it off with the heavy bass – head nodding Wu Tang sampled “Triumph” on “Feel Inside” feat Nas produced by Jerry ‘Wonda’ Duplessis [the man behind Diddy-Dirty Money’s "Someone To Love Me (Naked)". Taking us into “Midnight Drive” featuring the singer’s alto ego Brook – Lynn, who first made an appearance on The Breakthrough LP back in 2005. You then groove right on into “Next Level” feat Busta Rhymes, this record has a sophisticated feel about it which allows Busta to flow so effortlessly beside an upbeat MJB.
In true form, Mary pays homage to a legend, with the help of producer Rodney Jerkins she re – makes over Chaka Khan’s hit “Ain’t Nobody”. This always becomes an issue for me whenever an artist attempts to touch a classic record because I feel as though you have to either be better than the original or re – make it over the same. But somehow this new rendition works. Although I’m not a total convert, it fits in to today’s heavily synthed/dance/electro pop scene it is a refreshing modern take on an old classic.
This leads us on to the single 25/8, a passionate declaration of love where she explains the need for more time to express her love. A confident, fearless Mary takes us back to the 90s with “Don’t Mind” a solid R&B track.
The collaborations continue with “Mr Wrong” feat Drake and Rick Ross on “Why”. But the standout track for me has to be “Love A Woman” featuring Beyonce. By the first forty seconds I was sold! [Lol]. This was a pairing that I did not see coming but yet it works well, their combining efforts telling men how to satisfy a women.
Towards the end of the album are the more heartfelt ballads a testament to Mary’s growth as an artist and reflects a woman who has grown and matured. It is a far cry from the young Mary with the pained heart almost seventeen years ago. Not many artists from the 90s can boast of a long career and she has been fortunate that she can still connect with the young and older crowds; My Life 2 [The Journey Begins] is a refreshing take on the new modern Mary.
Street Sounds gives 'Mary J. Blige - My Life II... The Journey Continues'