All Hail the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul

With the sequel to My Life, Mary J. Blige reminds us why her throne is really the one to watch.

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But to her fans and to the legacy she has already established, the numbers don't matter. Her importance to a generation of young black people can't be measured. We can thank Blige for what is arguably R&B's most shining run in the '90s: SWV, Xscape, Faith Evans and countless others who followed in her footsteps. She popularized the melding of R&B and hip-hop, and there is no other soul singer more important to rap than Blige. She gave the hip-hop generation what Aretha Franklin gave the civil rights generation: a sound track and a voice. For that, she is indeed the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.

Here's to a continued reign.

Akoto Ofori-Atta is assistant editor at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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