Real Love (Mary J. Blige song)

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"Real Love"
Single by Mary J. Blige
from the album What's the 411?
Released August 25, 1992
Format CD single
Maxi single
Recorded 1991
Length 4:32
Label Uptown
Writer(s) Cory Rooney, Mark Morales, Kirk Robinson, Nat Robinson Jr., and Roy Hammond.
Producer(s) Cory Rooney, Mark Morales
Certification Gold (RIAA)

"Real Love" is a 1992 single by hip hop soul singer Mary J. Blige. It was the second single from Blige's debut album "What's the 411?". Real Love was written and produced by Mark C. Rooney and Mark Morales (of The Fat Boys fame), and built off a drum sample from hip hop duo Audio Two's 1988 track "Top Billin" and MC Lyte's song "10% Diss,". It was one of the songs which gave Blige her reputation as "the queen of hip-hop soul".

"Real Love" was her first top-ten pop hit, peaking at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, and her second number one hit on Billboard's R&B singles chart.[1] The remix featured the second appearance of rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who was then going by the name Biggie Smalls, and a sample of Betty Wright's 1972 single, "Clean Up Woman". The song eventually helped "What's the 411?" sell more than three million copies in America alone.

The song has since been covered by Mike Doughty (on his 2000 LP Skittish), by Toby Lightman (on her 2004 album "Little Things"), by the Twilight Singers (on their 2004 album "She Loves You"), and by the dance-hall artist known as Fiona.

In 2007, the song was sampled on "Real Love", an album-track that appears on rapper/singer Eve's album Here I Am which featured Mary J. Blige herself. In addition, Lloyd Banks sampled the drum beat on his 2006 single, Help, which features Keri Hilson.

In 2010, the song was used as the theme to the TV One reality television dating game show The Ultimate Merger, produced by Donald Trump and starring former Apprentice contestant Omarosa.

The backing beat has been sampled by R&B group, Dru Hill in the track, "Whatever You Want" from their 1996 self-titled debut album. R&B singer Frank Ocean uses the chorus for his song "Super Rich Kids" in his album Channel Orange. It is also sampled in Ariana Grande's song "Lovin' It" from her 2013 album, "Yours Truly".

"Real Love" can be cited as a game changer for R&B and Hip-Hop. Prior to "Real Love", there was a clear distinction and separation between R&B and Hip-Hop. R&B was the soft, female-driven, and love-oriented genre. Hip-hop was the hard-core, masculine, beat synthesized, sampled-based, rap genre. "Real Love" was one of the first songs, and probably the first popular song, to incorporate the two genres in one. From R&B, it has a love-oriented theme, as Mary calls for a “Real Love”. The element of singing is also a factor that was solely restricted to R&B, but which was then being introduced to hip-hop. The song draws its heavy bass and sample from “Top Billin” and “10% Diss,” contributing to the hip-hop flavor. Blige’s distinct voice, which sounds like a mix of both rapping and singing, makes the song relate to both R&B and Hip-Hop. Blige’s image also blurred the line between hip-hop and R&B; Blige presented herself in baggy clothes and as hardcore (Hip-Hop), yet she’s a singer and she’s female (R&B.) The song and her image offset the idea of what R&B and Hip-Hop were. Rather than being two separate entities, they could now blend and interact, one with the other. “Real Love” went on to change the politics of Hip-Hop and R&B establishing the blueprint for contemporary R&B over the next two decades. The song was also released as a popular remix sampling the guitar intro to soul singer Jean Knight's Mr. Big Stuff.


Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[2] 7
UK Singles Chart 26
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles[3] 1
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40[3] 8
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs[3] 36

End-of-year charts[edit]

End of year chart (1992) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 85
End of year chart (1993) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 58

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 65. 
  2. ^ Chart information - Hot 100 - "Real Love"
  3. ^ a b c chart information - "Real Love"
  4. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1992". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  5. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1993". Retrieved 2010-08-27.