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Sept 1st 2003


Still the Queen of Hiphop/Soul - Mary J Blige Mary J. Blige - Love and Life (Geffen)


For the longest time, I've always thought that Mary was an overrated singer. I had seen her perform live once very earlier on in her career and thought that she couldn't hold a note. Last week at the MTV VMA awards, I witnessed more of the same but then I thought to myself that maybe that's just her style so my feelings on her live performance hasn't changed too much but it's adjusting somewhat but what's really surprised me is her longevity. I didn't think that come 10 years later after seeing her perform that Mary's star would be shining brighter than ever but it has and is for good reason.

Mary's surrounded herself with good writers and producers throughout the years and for her latest release called 'Love and Life' (which dropped last week) she's reunited herself with an old aquantence ... producer/rapper P. Diddy who was responsible for getting Mary's career off the ground by producing her first 2 albums more than a decade ago on MCA's imprint Uptown Records. The two had a riff between them the better part of 7 years but have decided to put their differences aside to record the album which sees Mary switch labels from MCA to Geffen.

And speaking of reunited, P. Diddy's not the only reunion for her on the album itself as Method Man whom Mary first collaborated with back in 1995 on his track 'I'll be there for you/You're all I need (to get by) ' is featured on the lead off single 'Love @ 1st Sight'. The single produced by P. diddy samples A Tribe Called Quest's excellent track - 'Hot Sexx' as the backbone and is monster right now on the radio circuit.

The album itself is not a far stretch from what's she's done the previous 3 albums the difference being a new producer (Dr. Dre was the dominant figure on her last effort) but there's also new collaborations this time around with 50 Cent on 'Let Me Be the 1' and Eve on 'Not Today' both of which are not bad. 'Willing and Able' borrows Atlantic Starr's 'When Love Calls' and 'Ooh' holds it's own.

My pick though is the mid tempo groover 'Didn't Mean' which has a solid baseline throughout (reminds me of the Kleer track Intimate Connection). Other notables include 'Feel like making love', 'Press on' and 'All my Love'.

'Love & Life' will be pleasing to Mary's fans worldwide but it wasn't a far enough stretch for me and therefore wasn't a challenging effort but as they say... if it's not broke don't fix it.. You can purchase the album on her website www.mjblige.com as single downloadables or the entire album. A TY-D Pick nevertheless. 

Listen to Mary J. Blige's 'Ooh'

Listen to Mary J. Blige ft: Eve 'Not Today'

Sir TY






My hometown's latest export - Holly JamesUKNY ft: Holly James - I'm in Heaven (Ultra)


She's sexy, beautiful, talented and is equipped with a sexy voice to boot. She ...is Holly James and he's taking the dance world by storm with her massive debut single, 'I'm in Heaven'

Although this project is spearheaded by Jason Nevins, (the producer/artist responsible for the massive Run DMC dance hit 'It's like that' a few years back), it's Holly who is the star on the record and although her name may not be familiar to most, she's not a newcomer to say the least as she had 2 top 40 hits with the all girl group Tymes 4 a few years back. The 21 year old is a native of my UK, who was born in Dorset and moved to South London where she grew up with her mother. As a teenager enrolled in the Urdang Academy to train as a stage actor and ballerina. It was here that she began to realize she needed to assert herself if she has any chance of becoming a performer. It was at this time that she met Melissa, Taymah and Natalie and TYMES 4 was born. Although Holly loved being in a band, to her, it was apparent that she had her own dreams of becoming a solo artist so in an amicable split with Tymes 4, she left the band to pursue a solo career.

Holly was gathering studio time when a chance meeting with dance producer Jason Nevins would determine the next step for her to take. He heard her sing and the rest as they say is history. Funny enough it was at this time that Jason was working on a track for himself but decided to give it to Holly - the track was Heaven.

Renamed 'I'm in Heaven', the song samples the king of Pop Michael Jackson's track 'Human Nature' as the backbone to the song and Holly's impressive and sultry voice gives it that added extra dimension. A solid dance number that will surely find it's way to the No. 1 spot on the dance charts and who knows maybe even the pop charts as well... so be on the lookout for this one as it bound for big things. A TY-D Pick indeed. 

Listen to UKNY ft: Holly James's 'I'm in Heaven'

Sir TY




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