Mary J. Blige, the legendary Grammy and Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated singer-songwriter will release a collection of her biggest 1990s hits along with rare remixes, HERstory, Vol. 1, on 6 December via UMe.
The new collection will be released in three physical forms: as a 2LP , in a standard CD edition and as a digital version, plus, in the US only, it will be available as a set of eight standard-weight black 7″ vinyl records. From her solo 1992 hit ‘You Remind Me’ to the 1993 remix of ‘What’s the 411’ featuring K-Ci (of K-Ci and JoJo) and the Notorious B.I.G., HERstory, Vol. 1 tells the story of Blige as she first established herself as a tour de force of ‘90s R&B.
Born in the Bronx and raised between Savannah, Georgia and Yonkers, New York, Blige caught the attention of Andre Harrell, co-founder of Uptown Records in 1988 when she recorded a cover of Anita Baker’s 1986 ballad “Caught Up in the Rapture” at the Galleria Mall in Westchester, New York. After a few years as a backing singer for Uptown artists like Father MC, she launched from the projects to stardom, recording her 3x platinum 1992 debut, What’s the 411?, with Sean “Puffy” Combs behind the board. 411’s singles ‘You Remind Me,’ ‘Real Love,’ Reminisce’ and ‘Love No Limit’ are represented on HERstory, Vol. 1; the first in its original form, the latter three in remixes previously unreleased on 7” format.
Blige followed up her classic debut with another knockout, My Life, which featured the singles ‘Be Happy,’ ‘I’m Goin’ Down,’ ‘Mary Jane (All Night Long),’ ‘You Bring Me Joy’ and ‘I Love You.’ Like its predecessor, My Life went 3 times platinum and gained rave reviews; Billboard called the album “sterling” and ‘You Bring Me Joy’ “full of giddy street romance.”
All five singles appear on the box set; ‘Mary Jane’ in an LL Cool J and Diddy-assisted remix, and ‘I Love You’ featuring the hip-hop duo Smif-N-Wesson. Also featured is ‘I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By,’ Blige’s 1995 duet with Method Man that won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and rocketed to No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
‘Can’t Knock the Hustle,’ the opening track on Jay-Z’s 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt, featuring Blige is featured on the CD and 2 LP versions. Blige wasn’t originally slated to appear on the song; when the plan for dance singer Veronica Vasquez to sing on ‘Hustle’ fell through, Blige came through — and instantly made her mark on rap history. HERstory, Vol. 1 is full of these moments, in which an all-time great of R&B and hip-hop soul coalesced a variety of influences and became a global symbol of female empowerment and perseverance.
HERStory, Vol.1 is out on 6 December. Scroll down to read the full tracklist and buy it here.
HERstory, Vol. 1 (2LP):
‘You Remind Me’
‘Real Love’ (Hip-Hop Remix)
‘Reminisce’ (Bad Boy Remix)
‘Love No Limit’ (Puff Daddy Mix)
‘You Don’t Have to Worry’ (Remix Main With Rap)
‘What’s the 411’ (Puba Mix)
‘What’s the 411’ (Notorious BIG and K-Ci)
‘Mary Jane (All Night Long)’ (Remix feat. LL Cool J)
‘I Love You’ (Remix feat. Smif n Wesson)
‘I’m Goin’ Down’
‘You Bring Me Joy’ (LP Version)
‘I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By’ (Puff Daddy Mix feat. Method Man)
‘Everyday It Rains’
‘Love Is All We Need’
‘Can’t Knock The Hustle [Jay-Z]’ (** Available on physical versions only)