Whether you want to credit Puff Daddy, Andre Harrell, or Mary J. Blige, the idea of joining hip-hop with R&B made MJB a household name and the go-to artist for a hit record that would receive heavy airplay on the radio and heavy rotation on the dance floor.  Hip-hop artists such as Grand Puba, Method Man, Biggie Smalls, Nas, Jay-Z, and countless others were able to share in the Queen’s success after timeless collaborations that allowed those same artists to branch out on their own to a broader audience that loved Mary and learned to love them as well.

In 1995 Smif-N-Wessun joined Blige for “I Love You,” a memorable track that was already a strong single on its own for her sophomore CD, “My Life.”  But after Steele and Tek added their verses it brought more attention to Blige’s abilities as well as their Duck Down records movement.  The song was so influential that Beanie Sigel grabbed Jay-Z to use the same beat for a heart-wrenching collaboration about their deadbeat dads, “Still Got Love For U.”

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