Mary J. Blige created a rapping alter ego — "Brook" — for her album The Breakthrough, to give her the freedom to spit cocky rhymes without worrying about how they might affect Mary's persona.
"I had to separate the two because Mary is nice, you know, intelligent," she explained. "Brook is crazy and ignorant and she don't care."
Now, like a shadow, Brook is following Blige around. Brook went along when Busta Rhymes asked Mary to be one of six people who joined him for remixes of "Touch It" (DMX, Lloyd Banks, Papoose, Missy Elliott and Rah Digga appear on other versions).
"Brook cut lose on the Bus record, she did her thing," Mary laughed. "Busta didn't just want Mary on it, he wanted Mary and Brook. So the calm one [rapping] is Mary, but the [wild] one is Brook. You gotta think about Busta when you get on a Busta record — he's all the way over there at the top [going crazy], so you gotta get either over him or right below him."
The clip, of course, has been marred by the tragic murder of Israel Ramirez, one of Busta's bodyguards, which took place outside the video's set (see "Police Want To Question Busta Rhymes About Fatal Shooting At Video Set"). The investigation is ongoing and police say Busta has declined all requests to talk with them. A spokesperson for Blige said the singer had left the video set before the shooting, and Mary herself said the day had been a pleasurable experience.
She also seems to have thrown herself into the role of playing Brook. "That was so much fun, because Mary is all calm with the braids wrapped around [her head], and Brook is all 'Ahh!' " she said. "Y'all gotta see Brook — she's got a big old afro and big old earrings. She's just showing off everything — not everything! — but you know, she's gonna show a little abs and her arms. We could only do the first eight bars of our rhymes because Busta had [edited the different remix versions together for the video]. Everybody was there shooting the video, so he had to get everybody in."
The video is slated to premiere on MTV's "DFX" on Monday and "TRL" Tuesday.