No More Drama
by Mary J Blige, pop/R&B (2002)

Unlike Ashanti and Mariah Carey who surround themselves with rappers and end up sounding like background vocalists on their own albums, Mary J Blige strongarms and commands attention despite the proliferation of Dr Dre and Ja Rule and Eve and P Diddy making cameos all over the place. The result is the best the current manufactured R&B scene has to offer.

Mary J Blige's No More Drama does deliver the drama - I wouldn't expect less from Mary J Blige - but it also offers a softer side of Blige. There are songs here where she sings about the happier side of love and hope (No More Drama, Where I've Been, Beautiful Day, and Dance With Me), as if she has indeed done a lot of soul-searching and decides that being strong is better than being angry. Rainy Dayz is a very derivative Ja Rule sound, and it shows, but Blige pulls it off beautifully. And don't be fooled by the lovey-dovey Steal Away - it's actually a song about adultery.

The production here is close to perfection: every track is infectiously catchy. Couple this to Blige's mesmerizing charisma and No More Drama is one great album in every sense of the word.

Rating: 96

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