Mary J. Blige
has come a long way since 1992's breakthrough, What's the 411?
, and that's made very clear on this solid disc. The singer/songwriter has blossomed into an all-out R&B diva -- with a hip-hop edge -- full of soul and command. Her songs on this recording exude the wisdom of a woman who's seen it all and has found her center. The woman's voice is truly inimitable. It's husky, strong, soulful, and full of maturity. She can still flow like no one's business, too; just check out the bouncy album opener "Love." While love is a common theme, No More Drama
is essentially a personal journey through evolution and spirituality. The final cut, "Testimony," best summarizes the album's theme: finding what's real in life. For Blige
, that's self-love and God. Blige
has a killer instinct for penning lyrics that people can relate to and creating gritty, thick, and soul-infused R&B fare. Her music is more than heard. It is felt, and audiences would be hard-pressed to not surrender to her groove. [No More Drama
was re-released in early 2002 with a handful of different tracks.]