It’s been two years since Mary J. Blige released Strength of a Woman, a tortured yet triumphant recording that documented her then personal troubles, including her public divorce. In the midst of her hardships, the R&B songstress balled up her range of emotions and put them into her booming acting career, which resulted in her making history as the first person to score nods for a performance and original song in the same year, for the same film (Mudbound).
Though Blige’s acting resume is increasing with new and exciting roles, she hasn’t turned her back on music. The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is reportedly working on not one, but three mysterious projects that are all tentatively slated to arrive later this year.
“Thriving,” her Nas-assisted single, is the product of her first project and coincides with their Royalty Tour that will receive a soft kick off at the 2019 Essence Festival, before officially launching on July 11 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
While nothing has been actually confirmed about her first of three new music projects, the rollout for the lead release is already in motion. Taking this into account, here are some predictions about what to expect from Blige’s forthcoming project.
When is Mary J. Blige’s new project coming?
During the world premiere of “Thriving” on Ebro Darden’s Beats 1 show, Blige revealed that the new project is “definitely going to be out before July.”
With a May release date now out of the question, it’s likely Blige is plotting for a New Music Friday in June to drop her new work. It’s also possible that she might debut her project around her upcoming BET Experience show on June 20, making June 14 and June 21two ideal arrival dates.
What is the project’s direction?
Back in February, Blige made a guest appearance on Good Morning America to promote her role as Cha Cha in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy. Her daytime interview consisted of her spilling the goods on her upcoming music projects, and the message she’s championing this time around.
“It reflects my life,” she said. “It reflects all of our lives as women that are bosses and know that they can say they’re bosses right now.”
Her motivational new single “Thriving” is a prime example of her boss mentality with go-getting lyrics like, “Time for us to go and get the money y’all / Floodgates open, gonna take it all.”
Who are some of her project collaborators?
From albums Share My World to Strength of a Woman, Blige always finds herself able to adapt to the current times of music and make it work in her favor. Her secret? Blige isn’t afraid to work with up-and-coming producers and songwriters who can embed her musical DNA in records and make it contemporary for today’s radio.
Many of Blige’s recent recording sessions have involved her and her frequent collaborator DJ Camper, who produced her latest single. She also has worked with Blush Writes (K. Michelle, Chris Brown), Prince Charlez (Rihanna, Beyoncé), and Murda Beatz (Migos, Drake), who is known for his trap production.
Her new project could also feature music from her mysterious studio session with Kehlani and Kayatranda.
What is the artwork like?
Since breaking free from the chains of married life, Blige has been showing skin in many of her age-reversing Instagram photos. The press shots for her single “Thriving” are classic MJB, styled in sexy shorts, thigh-high boots, and large hoop earrings.
Judging by those recent photos and her ‘glow up’ post-divorce, we can expect Blige to show out for the project packaging.
What is the project’s titled?
At the top of this year, W Magazine did a write-up on Blige in a bikini celebrating her 48th birthday. The tail of their article mentioned her new album was titled My Life II… There’s Something About Me, My Self & MaryJane (Act 2), which was originally posted on her official Wikipedia. Considering we knew she wasn’t interested in making a sequel to her 2011 album, this title seem a bit fetch; but many publications followed suit and ran with this title narrative.
A fan received clarity on the title from Blige’s longtime A&R Eddie Fourcell on Instagram, who laughed and stated it’s “not the real title.”