Fans can mark September 20 as the day that Mary J. Blige returns with her 11th album, My Life II, The Story Continues.
By the time of the album’s release — a sequel to Blige’s triple-platinum My Life album — it will be almost two years since the Queen of Hip-Hop/R&B delivered her last project, Stronger With Each Tear.
“From me to you, My Life II … our journey together continues in this life,” Blige said in a statement. “It’s a gift to be able to relate and identify with my fans at all times. This album is a reflection of the times and lives of people all around me.”
Blige’s sophisticated and sample-driven My Life was released in 1994, and was executive-produced by Sean “Diddy” Combs, who was then going by Puff Daddy. And it’s probably no coincidence that Diddy is featured on the sequel’s lead single, “Someone to Love Me (Naked),” which also features a verse from Lil Wayne.
The single’s groove is courtesy of Wyclef Jean’s cousin, the accomplished producer Jerry “Wonder” Duplessis. Other notable producers set to contribute to Blige’s forthcoming album include Kanye West, Stargate (Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow”) and Swizz Beatz.
The original version of “Someone to Love Me” appeared on Diddy-Dirty Money’s Last Train to Paris. The version with Blige on it dropped at the top of the year and, at the time, it was thought to be just a remix. But a mastered version is available now on iTunes and although Blige tweeted that the Collin Tilley-directed video would debut April 8, the clip began making the Internet rounds on Monday.
Blige has also been cast in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages,” which is set to star Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Diego Boneta.