Diddy is giving Mary J. Blige her flowers. The R&B and hip-hop producer spoke about the “Family Affair” singer — who earned six Grammy nominations this year for album Good Morning Gorgeous — for an interview with People published on Wednesday (Jan. 25), in which he detailed Blige’s impact on the music industry and women in R&B.
“Mary J. Blige is one of the greatest storytellers in R&B history,” the “Bad Boy for Life” rapper, whose real name is Sean Combs, told the outlet. “She created a lane for women around the world to speak their truth to power, so nobody deserves this success more than her.”
“More than being my sister and my best friend, she will forever be a pioneer and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, who remains an unstoppable force that can accomplish anything she sets her mind to,” he added.
For Blige, the admiration is equal. “Puff was a huge inspiration for me,” she shared. “He wanted all of this for me more than I wanted it myself.”
Blige and Diddy’s working relationship and friendship extends back to the ’90s, when the producer — then known as Puff Daddy — worked with her at Uptown Records, and was instrumental in the production of her 1992 debut studio album, What’s the 411?, and its follow-up, 1994’s My Life. 411 peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, with My Life just one spot behind at No. 7.
The “Amazing” singer reflected on her upbringing with the magazine, and revealed that she initially was afraid of being hopeful about her music career. After meeting Diddy, she said, her feelings soon changed.
“I was not as ambitious as Puff. When I met him, I was afraid of success, afraid to do anything that could put so much attention on me. When you come from where I come from, you’re scared to be ambitious. You’re scared to want more,” she explained. “And then when I met him, he was the complete opposite. He was such a good thing for me because I needed what he had, to be excited to be seen, to have the lights on him. But it took some years to grow into that.”
Blige’s apprehension toward success is now a thing of the past. Single “Good Morning Gorgeous” is nominated for record of the year, best traditional R&B performance, best R&B song at the 2023 Grammy, while her album of the same name is up for best R&B album and album of the year. Album track “Here With Me” featuring Anderson .Paak is nominated for best R&B performance.
“When people reject you God selects you. #stillhere,” Blige wrote of her nominations via Instagram in November.