Mary J. Blige and Kanye West delivered their collaboration titled “Love Yourself,” from her forthcoming album Strength of a Woman, on Friday (March 31). Does it sound like the chart-topping Justin Bieber hit of the same name? Not in the slightest.
In fact, even the song’s lyrical content is completely opposite of Bieber’s acoustic guitar-tinged f–k you anthem. Instead, Blige and West are all about empowering listeners with their collaboration, with the R&B singer passionately declaring, “You gotta love yourself before you love somebody else.”
As the song begins, Blige delivers her message over a building piano melody until dramatic horns introduce the beat drop. West comes in halfway through the track, laying down a verse that speaks to the brutality surrounding the African-American community, and his personal responsibility to make a difference (“I decided not to use my color as a handicap,” he begins, later rapping, “I cannot be complacent / In my job, be courageous”).
After using her pre-Kanye verses to tell fans that she’s been through a lot herself — but has found strength and purpose through her struggles — Blige closes out the song by reminding fans that loving themselves can get them through the darkest of times. “God knows that you’re worth it / You deserve it, can’t nothin’ else hurt you.”
Listen to “Love Yourself” below.