Artist: Mary J. Blige Track: "Be Without You" Album: Breakthrough Listen
Sean "Puffy" Combs might be somewhat of a d-bag, but his eye for talent has given American music some of its most stunning talent, namely Notorious B.I.G., who will doubtless be done no justice by his upcoming biopic. Another of the Combs creations is Mary J. Blige, whose genius I've only recently discovered.
So, you know, I'm three years late to this track. I don't care. This is a missing link between the classic soul I love, the New Jack stuff I never really got and the hip-hop I bump today. She's evolved from her bad-girl days, and the black singer who's cool enough to be blond has found a personal stability that makes her crazy, inconsolable yearning even more convincing and, therefore, poignant. She's perfectly with it -- except away from this person she needs so badly.