The resilient Mary J. Blige to perform in SD

    Leave it to Mary J. Blige to sample the theme song from a daytime soap opera (specifically, from “”The Young & the Restless””) and create a hit in the process — this for the title track off her latest studio album, “”No More Drama.””

    Following the bass-bumping triumph of the LP’s first single, “”Family Affair,”” Blige spent four weeks at the top of the singles chart. She has worked with Dr. Dre, Puff Daddy (pre-P. Diddy), Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin and Elton John. Her most recent single, “”Rainy Dayz,”” has already begun playing over the airwaves, along with the most recognizable collaboration kid of the year, Ja Rule; the video clip premieres this week.

    In her decade-long career, the soul-meets-street songstress has carved out an impressive niche in the recording industry. With approval both commercially and critically, Blige has five platinum albums to her credit, as well as a Grammy Award with Method Man in 1996 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

    A main staple of urban and top 40 stations, Blige has also long been in heavy rotation on MTV and B.E.T.

    Walking a path that crosses streetwise hip-hop and radio-friendly R&B, Blige has impressively and consistently straddled the line between artist and entertainer. Her more recent work is a series of energized cuts in which the singer eschews the cutting, emotional grittiness that characterized much of her previous work.

    When the native New Yorker makes her San Diego appearance this week, it is one stop in a long list of national tour dates in support of her “”No More Drama”” album.

    Despite her many accolades and veteran status in the music business, detractors have often pointed out her habit of wandering off-key in live performances, favoring melodrama over melody. It is this straightforward, no-emotions-barred style that has contributed to her lasting success and her being dubbed the “”Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.””

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