Mary J. Blige and Rick Ross Wonder 'Why': Watch
Mary J. Blige and Rick Ross Wonder 'Why': Watch

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The R&B queen speaks about 'My Life II,' her rap alter ego and more in this special Billboard.com/Amercican Express Press Pass interview.


Over the course of her 20-year career, Mary J. Blige has blossomed from a raw, street-wise Yonkers teen into one of the most celebrated and successful artists in R&B music history. But the transition was not an easy one, as Blige discussed in an intimate video conversation with Billboard.com's M. Tye Comer ( @mtye), filmed in conjunction with American Express Press Pass.
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"On the very first 'My Life' album, we weren't strong at all," Blige says, relating the differences between her 1994 sophomore album and her most recent effort, 'My Life II: The Journey Continues,' which was released in Novemebr 2011. "I felt like it was time for people to understand how strong we are and how far we've come.

"Music used to say 'I understand. . . I know exactly what you're going through.' People need that. I feel like there's a drought of that right now, and I want to consistently give that to the world."

Up Close With Mary J. Blige

Blige, who answered a series of fan questions during the interview, went on to discuss her rap alter ego Brook Lynn, the intense connection she shares with her fans, and working with director Adam Shankman on her recent American Express Unstaged concert. She even gave some advice to her younger self.

"I would say to my younger self, don't be afraid, it's gonna be alright," she said.

Watch the full Mary J. Blige interview at AmericanExpressEntertainment.com.