1990s, Albums, debut, Hip Hop, Love No Limit, Mary J. Blige, multi platinum, new jack swing, Puff Daddy, Queen of Hip Hop Soul, R&B, Real Love, Reminisce, Sean Combs, Sweet Thing, What's The 411?, You Remind Me
What’s the 411? (Uptown/MCA, 1992)
What’s the 411? is the debut album by American R&B singer Mary J. Blige. It was released on July 28, 1992, by Uptown Records and MCA Records. After signing a record contract with Uptown, Blige began working on the album with producer Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. The resulting music covered hip hop soul, contemporary R&B, and new jack swing styles. What’s the 411? peaked at #6 on the US Billboard 200 and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It eventually sold 3.4 million copies and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The combination of hip hop and soul music led to Blige being named the “Queen of Hip Hop Soul.”
At the age of 17, Blige recorded a cover version of Anita Baker’s Caught Up in the Rapture in a recording booth at a local mall. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette recording to A&R runner for Uptown Records, Jeff Redd. Redd then sent it to the president and chief executive officer of the label, Andre Harrell. Blige met with Harrell in 1990 and became the label’s youngest and third female recording artist (after Finesse N’ Synquis). The title, What’s the 411?, derived from Blige’s past occupation as a 4-1-1 operator; it was also an indication by Blige of being the “real deal.”
Singles off What’s the 411? were You Remind Me (#29 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart), Real Love (#7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart), Reminisce (#57 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart), Sweet Thing, a cover of the 1975 single by Rufus (#28 on the HOt 100) and Love No Limit (#44 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B chart).