Remember that Mary J. Blige greatest-hits album that was supposed to drop last year before MJB and her label decided to release a studio album instead? Well, Mary’s ready to put her career retrospective on wax with Reflections – The Journey.
The album will feature at least three new songs and some of her classic cuts, including “Family Affair” and “Real Love.” The LP will be released December 12, and next week in New York, Mary is shooting the video for the Bryan-Michael Cox-produced single “We Ride.” Cox co-wrote the song with Johnta Austin.
“She called me and was like, ’I’m doing this Reflections project, and I need you and Johnta to be a part of it,’ ” Cox said Tuesday from Atlanta. “A few months ago, me and Johnta wrote three songs. I was in L.A. working on a project, and we vibed on three joints. Mary cut all three joints. It’s fantastic.
” ’We Ride’ is telling people, ’Yo, we want the Mary with pain.’ She’s like, ’Really? Look, everybody wanna know why Mary ain’t mad no more. I ain’t mad no more because I have this dude that rides with me. We gonna ride into the sunset. He’s a good man. One thing I learned about life is positivity is blessed.’ Mary’s married, she’s happy, in the best shape of her life, her voice is in the best shape of her life. People thought she was over, done, then she came through with The Breakthrough. … The song ’We Ride’ celebrates all of that.”
On the song, Blige sings, “From the day to the night we ride/ I see the future, baby, you and I, better with time.” The track comes amid several Internet rumors that Mary was breaking up with her husband/manager, Kendu Isaacs.
“It’s wild,” Cox said of the rumor. “I was just with them a few weeks ago, and we were all laughing about it. When the rumor got to them, they were on vacation together. They took off after the tour. They was like, ’We on the coast of such and such. We chillin’. ’When I heard it, I called immediately, and [Kendu] was like, ’Man, it’s all tabloid.’ That showed how the media can make up things and throw it out there. They have such a great thing going on, people really gotta know what they got is the real deal. If you know anything about love, it’s the real deal.”
Cox said he and Mary hit their stride after he made her biggest song to date, last year’s “Be Without You,” and the chemistry is still present on Reflections – The Journey.
“We did another [song] called ’Reflections,’ which is the title track,” he said. “They didn’t want to call it Greatest Hits because it sounds like your career is almost over. Mary’s at a new place in her career. She’s taking this time to reflect on the past, and we’re looking forward to the future with these new records. ’Reflections’ is midtempo; it’s gonna be a second single. She called me with the idea. I flew to New York, and we put it together. That joint is crazy, talking about her life, where she comes from. It’s similar to ’MJB the MVP,’ but it’s more personal. It’s not so mixtape-ish, even though ’MVP’ ended up being a great record. Then there’s another record called ’Love Me.’ This record is ooooh! We’re in the process of getting a guest on the record, but the way it is now, it’s really crazy, midtempo. I’m very impressed with Mary’s growth.”
Their aren’t many details available, but Blige is also planning to release an album of duets too. Her label said info — including the release date — is not yet available, but singer Robin Thicke said he’s been asked to participate.
“Mary J. Blige is putting out a duets album, and [there] happens to be a song on my album right now called ’Ask Myself,’ ” he revealed. “She turned it into a duet and put it on her duets album.”
For more from Mary J. Blige, check out the feature “What’s The 411, Mary?”