Mary J. Blige Discusses Her Number One Album

KURT: Hip-hop diva Mary J. Blige debuted at number one on the "Billboard" chart on Monday, with her third album, "Share My World." Blige was only 22 when she started charting back in 1992, but she's grown some since then.

MARY J. BLIGE: Well, this third album ["Love Is All We Need" 816k QuickTime] is like, it's different because it's a whole other way of seeing things. I see things differently now. I see things getting better for Mary.

MTV: Professionally, things couldn't get much better for Mary J. Blige right now. Having gone platinum with her first two albums, this week, she watched her third debut at the top of the "Billboard" pop chart. On the personal front, however, the singer is still working to dispel her early reputation as a -- how to put it? -- well, a bit on an uber-diva.

BLIGE, April 1995: I'll be a b*tch, 'til the, I will be it 'til the day I die because you won't

get nowhere being a soft whimpy [644k QuickTime].

BLIGE, present: I look at it like this. I'm not saying I've switched over into a whole other person. I've grown. I'm a grown woman now. I just know what makes my life better -- and what makes my life better is to treat other people with kindness.

MTV: This new focus on her people skills couldn't have come at a better time, seeing as how she's no longer just a singer, but also, on this latest album, the executive producer, as well. The new album features collaborations with Nas, Babyface, Lil' Kim, R. Kelly and production legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Missing in action, though, is onetime producer and mentor, Puffy Combs.

BLIGE: He did play a big part in my life for a while and he did help me. But some people just have to go in separate directions. But it's not that things are wrong.

MTV: Making changes in her life and work, Blige says she relies on a newly strengthened faith in a higher power.

BLIGE: I always believed in God, but it's much deeper right now. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is knowing that He wakes me up every morning. Knowledge is knowing that He is the reason why I have a third album.

MTV: This woman's not headed for a nunnery, though. She's still, without question, Mary J. Blige.

BLIGE: Don't take this nice face -- you know, something -- don't you people, like they take it, "Oh, she's nice now, let's get at her!'" Uh-uh! Wrong! You're getting ready to really get it if you come at me now! [809k QuickTime]

KURT: Please don't hurt me. Blige will start a U.S. tour in August.