Love & Life is the sixth studio album by American R&B singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige. It marked the first collaboration with former one-time producer Sean "Diddy" Combs since he produced her debut, What's the 411? (1992), and her second album, My Life (1994). The album was released by Geffen Records on August 25, 2003, in the United Kingdom, and on August 26 in the United States.
Blige heavily collaborated with her one-time producer Sean Combs for this set. Due to the history between them on What's the 411? and My Life and Blige having just come off of a successful fifth album No More Drama, expectations were high for the reunion effort.
Love & Life's lead-off single, the Diddy-produced "Love @ 1st Sight", which featured Method Man, barely cracked the top ten on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. It altogether missing the top twenty on the Hot 100 (although peaking inside the UK top twenty). The following singles, "Ooh!", "Not Today" featuring Eve, "Whenever I Say Your Name"featuring Sting on the international re-release, and "It's a Wrap" fared worse.
Blige and Combs reportedly struggled and clashed during the making of this album, and again parted ways upon the completion of it.
Love & Life received generally positive and mixed reviews from music critics. It holds a score of 72 out of 100 at Metacritic.Allmusic gave it 4 stars and said the album "beamed with joy".Rolling Stone gave it three stars, saying "You may not always love Blige's music, but you will feel her"".Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, remarked that the album's highlight is the catchy production of a rejuvenated P. Diddy and that Love & Life peaks in the middle, although he felt that Method Man's lyrics on "Love @ 1st Sight" are the best on an album that favors Blige's usual themes. Fans largely panned the disc, citing a lack of consistency and noticeable ploys to recapture the early Blige/Combs glory.
The album became Blige's first album in six years to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 285,298 copies in first week. It became Blige's second number-one album on the US Billboard 200 album chart. It also opened at the top spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart respectively, making this Blige's sixth album to top the latter chart.
It became Blige's fourth consecutive UK top ten album. The album also debuted in the top ten on the charts in countries such as Canada, Switzerland; with similar charting in France and Germany, where it charted in top twenty.
The album was eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipping one million copies, and more than two million copies worldwide by the RIAA. Although the album was certified platinum, it became Blige's lowest-selling to date.