The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul reigns again. Mary J. Blige is showing the Strength of a Woman with the release of her latest album.
Recorded in the midst of an agonizing divorce from her longtime husband Kendu Isaacs, Strength finds Mary going through and overcoming the heartache that comes with the end of a relationship.
The 14-track effort features the Quavo, DJ Khaled, and Missy Elliott-assisted “Glow Up,” as well as the previously-released singles “Thick of It,” “U + Me (Love Lesson),” and “Love Yourself” featuring Kanye West.
The New York Times praised Blige’s first album since 2014’s The London Sessions, writing, “Strength of a Woman…moves like a forest fire: ruthless, wide-ranging, blunt. The heat emanating off it is palpable. Ms. Blige has been scorned, is aggrieved and is dead-set on payback. No sensible person would want to be on the receiving end of this record.”
Mary opened up about the album’s cathartic nature during an interview with NPR. “It was hard because of the pain, but it was good to get it out,” she said. “It made me cry, and then I had to go sing it and cry and get through it. But I believe that there’s a purpose for me here on this earth, and I think it’s so I can live and become these things so people can heal from them. I don’t mind the pain. I don’t mind it all, because it hurts so good. It hurts so good.”
After listening to the album, fans will be get an inside look at “The Making of: Strength of a Woman” in a VH1 documentary, airing May 2.