MJB - Growing Pains

2008-03-17 17:33
Before we get all critical, let’s remember that Mary has been around since 1992. She fought substance abuse, addiction and promiscuity and she’s still standing tall - weave and all - so props to that.

Growing Pains is an apt title for preaching on gaining from pain. Opener “Work That” is a classic Mary strut from the “I’m going down” days that immediately gets under your skin. It’s a flawless amandla anthem imploring sisters to work with what they’ve got. This should be a hit because it hits you in all the right places. “Grown Woman” features Ludicrous, but it would have been just fine without the ludicrous rapper. Okay we get that he thinks he’s returning the favor since she helped out on his Grammy Award winning “Runaway Love” hit, but he’s just drawling away this time. Anyway, Mary has collaborated with almost everyone from Elton John and Bono to Lauryn Hill, Common and more. So was Usher really necessary on “Stay Down”? Surely she’s reached a stage in her career where she doesn’t need another collab?

Speaking of “Just Fine”, now we’re talking - it’s upbeat and contagious. It reminds you of those funky old school hip-hop beats that made you just want to “put your hands in the air and wave them around like you just don’t care!” In contrast, “Roses” is not as rosy as it sounds as Mary welcomes you to her new definition of love and marriage with a simple declaration: “it ain’t all roses, flowers and posin’, this love stuff is demanding”.

Later, “Hurt Again”, “Fade Away” and “Come to Me (Peace) will have you pressing the repeat button. Sure, the usual “I’ve been hurt and have been there done that” sentiments may be predictable and a tad on the passé side. Nevertheless, what sets Mary apart in this game is that her heart and soul is felt in every single song she has ever done – period! She’s never tried to emulate or be something she was not. She’s always been down with the people. Her truth, be it talking about sex, drug addiction or the drama of simple love trouble is laid bare for all to hear and learn from.

The limited edition contains a DVD with more than 30 minutes of behind the scenes footage with interviews and the video for “Just fine”. MJB is indeed the reigning queen of hip-hop soul – Finish and Klaar!

-Gugulethu Mkhabela
So what’s the 411 on Mary’s latest album? Well the cover speaks for itself. Gold weave aside, Mary is looking polished, poised and has toned down on the blinding bling. She’s finally epitomizing the “less is more” adage on the physical front. But on the music front, Mary will always be Mary, just telling it like it is.

What to read next: Kalahari

Thuli 2008/03/18 9:18 AM
MJB She is more than a hip-hop-soul, she is a WOW!She knows her story, she is a DIVA.
PAULINE 2008/03/18 10:00 AM
Hurt again I think MJB will be queen of hip-hop
JOYCE 2008/03/18 2:43 PM
yes If its true they are going to tour the world with Jay Z I think it will best if they can come to South Africa I cant wait.
M.F 2008/03/31 11:24 PM
Sane 2008/07/28 4:14 PM
Stay Down I love the song. I can't think of any other hits during this time. I am definitely a MJB fan period. She should come back soon.
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