From The Vault: Mary J. Blige – ‘Be Without You’

Published: Sunday 21st Sep 2014 by Joe


The hunt for the next “queen” of the many genre’s has become routine for Pop enthusiasts nowadays.

Yet, amidst all the heated conversations and strong disagreements that some acts’ fan bases get into, one diva has yet to find a suitable successor: the Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul herself, Ms. Mary J. Blige.

This week, From The Vault celebrates the artist’s eternal relevancy with one of her biggest hits, ’Be Without You’.

Released at the end of Summer of 2005 as the first offering from the artist’s seventh album ‘The Breakthrough’, ‘Without You’ is a beat-driven ballad produced by Bryan-Michael Cox and written by Johntà Austin (alongside Blige). Interestingly, the pair are particularly notable for their popularisation of the “beat ballad” that year – as evidenced by their work with a certain Mariah Carey – whose comeback with the ‘Emancipation’ was largely attributed to that sound.

But we digress…

The trio of titans came up with was a gem that helped put Mary back on top after the so-so performance of the underrated ‘Love & Life’ LP.

Peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, the record was the most successful song on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop spending 15 consecutive weeks at #1 up until 2013 (it has since been surpassed by Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ last year). In 2006 it was #11 on the US Year-End chart.

Matthew Rolston was brought on board to translate the emotional track in a visual capacity and we’re sure you’d concur that he did a stellar job. Featuring Academy Award-nominated actor Terrence Howard as Mary’s love interest, the clip mirrors the message relayed in the song’s lyrics. More specifically,  the notion that one should never give up on pure and real love (pun intended) despite all the hardships that come along the way.


With this gem, Mary delivered yet another heartfelt song that is so emotive that it almost  makes one want to lived the lyrics, whether good, bad, or otherwise. Perhaps that’s the reason why she remains untouchable to this day; the passion she embeds in her music is somehow contagious and is the epitome of “feel” music. Case in point, THAT haunting climax on ”Without You’ – it’s both a vocal exclamation mark and, in one belted note, embodies all that the song is about. It’s a skill so many of today’s acts likely wish for and, no doubt, could benefit from.

With new album ‘The London Sessions’ due this Fall, Mary J. continues to amaze us 23 years in her career and quite frankly we can’t really see it stoping anytime soon.

All Hail The Queen!



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  1. Fairy J.Blige September 21, 2014

    Mary is the blue print on how to be an R&B legend. Keyshia used to be awesome until she started letting her personal s*** ruin her career, Kelly is lazy and Ciara doesn’t want to take any risks so they all stay on the same level while Mary stays rising.

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  2. DagenhamDavina September 21, 2014

    Absolute classic.

  3. MARY SLAY BLIGE September 21, 2014


    • KeriMeHome September 21, 2014

      I have to agree with you there. I like Mary because she’s not complacent even after all these years, she’s always trying to make sure she stays on top and isn’t local.

  4. K.Rebelle September 21, 2014

    The only Beyonce song that comes close to being this classic is DIL.

    • LOL September 21, 2014


      • K.Rebelle September 21, 2014

        Your mom told you she knows who your dad is?

      • LOL September 21, 2014


  5. Stephy September 21, 2014

    The TRUE Queen Of R&B/HipHop-Soul. *Bows Down*

  6. TamartianNavi September 21, 2014

    Over her after she made friends with K.Mart.

    • ChanteWantsMore September 21, 2014

      You should be over the fact that Tamar can’t sing live even after all this time.

      • RebelliousSoulster September 21, 2014

        She thinks she slays vocally but I’m yet to hear anything that slays me from her. She should stick to lip synching like her sister.

  7. AngieStoner1989 September 21, 2014

    Kelly could be on Mary’s level if she worked harder but everybody is different I guess.

    • JourneyToFreedom201 September 21, 2014

      Lazy? Tell that to her bank account.

      • LetMeLoveNeyo September 21, 2014

        We all know she makes most of her money from her DC days boo boo. Her album sales don’t even come to 1 million in the US.

  8. Valerie September 21, 2014

    Such a classic.

  9. G September 21, 2014

    If anything TEOM was created first and the success of We Belong Together gave birth to Be Without You Joe if we are going to report let’s report with facts rather than the Mariah shade that this site loves to dish. Honestly that was crafted by one Jernaim Dupri as it can also be heard on Usher’s confessions as well.

    • OnikaSaidJump September 21, 2014

      Very true, Mariah and Jermaine birthed a sound that was popular up until 2007 and she doesn’t get much credit for it.

    • MARY SLAY BLIGE September 21, 2014


  10. SMH September 21, 2014

    THIS is what you call a Queen. #BeyonceCanAndWillNever

    • Micks September 21, 2014

      You people stay pressed. Its ridiculous.

      • SMH September 21, 2014

        Over what? Some rapper’s wife who’ll never be on Mary’s level?

      • Micks September 21, 2014

        Clearly. Since you felt it necessary to dedicate a whole comment to her in a MARY post. Just praise Mary and move TF on.
        Beyoncé is R&B/POP. Mary is Hip-Hop/Soul. They’re in two VERY different lanes.

  11. LB September 21, 2014

    Before I read, Sam who is Joe and where is Rashad?

  12. Mingxxx September 21, 2014

    MJB Queen of Hip Hop and RnB Soul. Just a voice never had to dis-respect her body in partial nudity and doesnt need 40 background dancers on stage to shine
    one voice one mic MJB.

  13. LB September 21, 2014

    Mary J Blige is the indisputable queen of Hip Hop/RnB/Soul. The artist who’s albums have never flopped. Here’s to an even brighter future to her career and hopefully I never have to ask her what’s in the chicken.

  14. Micks September 21, 2014

    Krispy chicken, fresh lettuce! Lol. Love me some MJB.

  15. Slayretha Franklin September 21, 2014

    Aretha is the Queen and the blue print!! And her new album is coming out Sep. 29!!

    • HATERetha September 21, 2014

      No ones buying.

    • YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

      The Queen Of Soul. Aretha Franklin

  16. NOLIES September 21, 2014

    O.k. I’m not a huge fan of MJB, but this was THE song. TBH 2005 was one of the very last years that R&B was seen as mainstream. It honestly was done by the revival of three of the 6 R&B divas of the 90’s. (Mariah, MJB, Toni… missing Whitney, Janet, & Madonna- COAD was major, but pop which is really her roots) They all were certified gold and multiplatinum and more with the comeback albums and HUGE success all over. If you look at all of the albums released from 04-07 (just 3 years) you have nothing but modern CLASSICS.
    Confessions, TEOM, The Breakthrough, As I Am, Afrodisiac, Libra, and etc. Good time for music.

    • YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

      Love On Top is the closet thing to R&B classic this decade.

  17. Gotemallsaying September 21, 2014

    Amazing classic.
    The person that wrote this did their job !
    I’ll end it like it started : Queen.

  18. JOHNVIDAL September 21, 2014

    The article is a little bit over the top imo. It could have been perfect if they hadn´t tried to shade “pop” artists. If all those worldwide legends have copycats coming their way is because they are so influential and big. If MJ Blige doesn´t have clones, that´s because not that many people is interested in this genre of music or Mary J´s career as a whole in that way (and no shade to her at all), not because Mary J is better than those legends.

    • SMH September 21, 2014

      You missed the point. Mary J. doesn’t have any clones because the ones who had potential to be her students couldn’t live up to it, and never posed a threat to her Throne. Her status as The Queen of Hip Hop soul is undisputed and unchallenged, while the little pop tarts have to constantly fight over who can rightfully be called a Queen in the pop genre. Right now none of them are owning up to the title of “Queen”, unlike Mary, who has held on to her crown for the past 20 years with no challengers.

      • JOHNVIDAL September 22, 2014

        You´re just proving my pint. The obvious point. Her genre has not as much competition. It´s f****** obvious. Or are you gonna tell me Mary is better and more special than michael Jackson, mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, etc, etc? LOL

    • BeyQueen September 21, 2014

      F** shut up and accept that Mariah is done.

  19. YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

    She’s not the queen of R&B, but she is indeed the Queen Of Hip Hop Soul. This is indeed a legendary classic, one of her signature songs.

      • YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

        It is gold, what’s your point sir?

      • North west September 21, 2014

        It has not sold 500k yet unless you have receipts?

      • LB September 21, 2014

        So that $1.99 price on Google Play helped it cross the 500K mark?

  20. LB September 21, 2014

    I’m just going to sit here and assume, “Rashad is probably doing some research on a new TGJ replay that will blow my socks off like the Janet one”.

    Your site is growing Sam, good for you. I still don’t know this Joe person yet but glad to see the diversity of views.

  21. YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

    Mariah Carey did Many Pop songs during the 90s & I don’t think she’s the Queen Of R&B… She really got to Urban after Butterfly, I’ve studied her sound & albums. She One of the greatest catalogs eveer tho.

    • Slayretha Franklin September 21, 2014

      Mariah’s sound was always a mix of R&B/Pop influences. I don’t think she can be categorized as pure R&B and there’s nothing wrong about that, it makes her unique. Mary is certainly a Queen of Hip Hop R&B. I don’t dub her Queen of R&B because R&B existed nearly 50 years before she even came on the scene. As big as the 90’s were for R&B the 60’s were even bigger.

      • YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

        Exactly. Thank You Queen Of Soul.

      • Stephy September 21, 2014

        Mariah Carey is 90% R&B when you consider her catalog ALL TOGETHER. Even with the remixes…

  22. YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

    Gold Status in Japan & United States. Critically Acclaimed.

    ” US album sales: Yours Truly by @ArianaGrande tops the 500k mark this week.”
    Source @ChartNews.

    aren’t some Rihanna’s song for free on Google Play? The self drag from this african f** lol

  23. LB September 21, 2014

    Rihanna also has 6 platinum albums, meanwhile Ariana tumbling down the charts faster than a Ciara CD.

  24. YoursGrande111 September 21, 2014

    That was Weak like Rihanna’s walls… You fave had Stay & Diamonds one of her biggest hits but she’s still being outsold by middle age women P!nk, Beyoncé lol. Those 6X platinum albums yet we can’t find her name on RIAA lists. 7 albums but hasn’t even scanned 15M in the states with her payola strategy with one of the best writers she’s still doing these numbers . smh sad tbh

    • LB September 21, 2014

      My fav still went platinum, your fav is struggling for gold. Stay in your lane.

  25. bibi93 September 21, 2014

    Great classic

  26. Wet wet September 21, 2014

    Ariana grande is a f****** flop

  27. MariahIsMusic1 September 22, 2014

    She should stop singing off Key. She has soul you can’t take that away from her. Apart from all that this is one of her signature songs and I love it. #classic

  28. MariahIsMusic1 September 22, 2014

    @Slayretha Franklin

    Majority of Mariah Carey’s music is Adult Contemporary R&B. With Pop Influences & Soul . Yes she has one of the best catalogs ever

  29. Mike September 23, 2014

    Mjb is queen of R&B music… Ask billboard… She’s been holding it down for years. Can’t wait for her new album

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