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July 02, 2008



Ooohh, you're so right (as usual)! Sidenote: I got MJB's What's the 411? on cassette back in the day and WORE IT OUT, done, gone.
House of Jules


New summer jam alert! This is great for a road trip or day at the beach. Much love Rich.


I know Slick Rick. I love Slick Rick. =P


Ooh, I like that. Cool.



Remember on Alicia's first album she had that cut "Girlfriend" which had the melody from Brooklyn Zoo by ODB? Doesn't get any more hip-hop than that. Thanks for posting this though. Good lookin out.


I sound like an asshole attempting to challenge you, but it's a genuine question: how did "What's the 411?" change the musical world? I adore Mary with all my heart and soul, but that album was before my time, so I wasn't able to see how it changed the scene. (Don't judge me, people.)


Hmmm. While I agree that "What's the 411?" changed everything forever and NO ONE is a bigger MJB freakazoid than me, I just have to mention that there were a couple acts putting soul/r&b singing over hiphop beats before Puffy and Mary, for example, Dr. Dre and Michel'le on "Nicety" and "No More Lies" in 1991-92 (is it embarrassing to admit that I even remember Michel'le?)


I don't think I would've liked Teenage Love Affair without hearing it in the context of the music video first... I love that video.

lone wolf

i love the bass. this is gorgeous! gimme an amigo with the top down, 2 boogie boards, and a big gulp. we jamminz


MP, Rich said "album." Two songs most people wouldn't even know does not constitute world-changing. Mary was the first one to put it on the big screen, so to speak, and that's the only kind that counts.

This is a great website for those of us who remember and love 90s R&B http://90srbjunkie.blogspot.com


Mary invented that? And to think it's so commonplace now! Glad to hear my girl MJB changed the world.

(You can all mock me for being young and ignant now.)

Brandon H

You know, at first I'd never thought about Mary's album being categorized as New Jack Swing since the tone was much darker and the beats were more geared to street hip-hop as opposed to NJS's more pop infused hip-hop sound. But that album did indeed change the urban landscape of music. I loved that record and The Fugees' "The Score".

I'm not kidding when I say I wore out four cassettes of that album and two cds. Yeah, I was somewhat a fan.


"What's The 411?" was a revelation. First, it was a woman holding her own in the male-dominated NJS arena. Second, you could FEEL that record. While most New Jackers of the time (Keith Sweat, Guy, Bobby Brown) were boasting about their conquests, and only threw in a love song "for the ladies", Mary took her soul, extracted an whack bits of her life, and served up the rest RAW. Even an upbeat song like "Real Love" was about longing, not celebrating. "I Don't Wanna Do Anything Else", her duet with her love interest K-Ci, was so full of pain that you wanted to hop in the car and start the intervention 10 minutes ago. The only hint of joy in her voice came across in her remake of Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing", where she genuinely sounded like happiness was a possibility.

And THAT is only a couple of reasons why "What's the 411?" changed the game. Don't even get me started on the Remix CD and "My Life".

Brandon H

hahaha, damn John! Nice!


Your musical tastes are that of a 13 year old girl. I mean that in the most complimentary way.

(best SR song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjgMWUldUzQ)

Matos W.K.

John--that's a great bit of writing. I'd argue the same thing as you and Rich, but from the other end: sonically, 411 is where new jack swing ends, and I'd say that's due to production as much as anything. It's where the jeep-beat aesthetic comes into clear focus and does away with Teddy's tinny snares for good. The tracks aren't nearly as busy and cluttered as NJS, there's room in it. It's one of the real '90s ur-model albums.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who seems to hate "Teenage Love Affair".

This mix-up sounds like a new song that Keys would've put out as a single.


Oh this is infinitely better, and fits more closely to the period of the vid, too. Miss Keys you "uh uh on", for real. I've been in a deep early 90's/NewJillSwing/GirlGroup mood this week, so this hits the spot. Now off to check that compilation you mentioned...

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