No More Drama

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No More Drama
Nomoredrama.jpg
Studio album by Mary J. Blige
Released August 28, 2001 (2001-08-28)
Recorded 2000–2001
Genre R&B
Length 71:50
Label MCA
Producer
Mary J. Blige chronology
Mary
(1999)
No More Drama
(2001)
Love & Life
(2003)
Singles from No More Drama
  1. "Family Affair"
    Released: June 12, 2001
  2. "Dance for Me"
    Released: August 7, 2001
  3. "No More Drama"
    Released: September 11, 2001
  4. "Rainy Dayz"
    Released: November 5, 2001

No More Drama is the fifth studio album by American R&B recording artist Mary J. Blige. The album was released on August 28, 2001 by MCA Records in North America. The album was certified 3x Platinum. According to Billboard magazine, No More Drama has sold over 3,200,000 in the United States alone to date. Critically acclaimed, the album has received positive to favorable reviews from most music critics, debuting at number two on the US Billboard 200, and opening at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, selling 324,000 copies in its first week.[1] It has spawned four singles that has attained Billboard chart success. The album received two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (for "Family Affair") at the 44th Grammy Awards. Blige would win her first in the latter category for the track "He Think I Don't Know" the following year.

Conception[edit]

The inspiration for No More Drama came largely from Bilge's own confused and hectic life. In a later interview she confessed to living a life of alcohol and drug abuse at the time, and as a result getting involved in a series of abusive relationships. The album was an attempt to break free from this vicious circle, which was a result of a deprived childhood.[2]

Stylistically, the album diverged from Blige's typically blues-soaked R&B into the hip-hop beats and influences that had made her debut, What's the 411?, a hit. This is especially evident in the first single, "Family Affair". Rapper Eve appears on the track "Where I've Been" as well, and urban influences can be heard throughout the album.[citation needed]

Early in its development, the album carried the full title Mary Jane - No More Drama and was to be a sequel to 1999's Mary. Blige's then-manager hinted that the album would be the second in a trilogy and be followed by an album titled Mary Jane Blige.[3] During this time, the first single was supposed to be a song called "Rock Steady" featuring a rap from Jay-Z and Lenny Kravitz on guitar. The song was leaked to mixtapes months before the album was scheduled to be released and subsequently did not make the final cut on the album.[4]

The original advance copy of No More Drama was slightly different from the later, official release. A vocal loop repeated throughout the whole of the version included with the intention of anti-piracy sings "Mary J. Blige, No More Drama!". The first publish of an AMG review printed in All Music Guide to Soul, a guide to R&B and soul, of No More Drama mistakenly pointed this out as if it were part of the actual album, calling it "as subtle and congruent as a consistent drum hit."[5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (77/100)[6]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[7]
The A.V. Club (favorable)[8]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[9]
Entertainment Weekly A[10]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[11]
NME (7/10)[12]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[13]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[14]
Vibe 4/5 stars[15]
The Village Voice (favorable)[16]

No More Drama received generally favorable reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 12 reviews.[6] Allmusic editor Liana Jonas complimented Blige's ability to write lyrics that people could relate to, writing that "Blige has a killer instinct for creating gritty, thick, and soul-infused R&B fare. Her music is more than heard. It is felt, and audiences would be hard-pressed to not surrender to her groove."[7] Writing for The A.V. Club, Nathan Rabin remarked that "working with past collaborators and a predictably high-powered lineup of super-producers, Blige sounds happier and more relaxed than ever. Boasting nearly as many producers as songs, No More Drama [is] a testament to Blige's force of personality and the authenticity of her vision that the disc feels as personal and intimate as the most heartfelt four-track demo."[8]

Entertainment Weekly's David Browne felt that "from the Dre-produced theatricality of the single ”Family Affair” to refined funk and crisp quiet-storm R&B, the multi-producer arrangements are expansive yet warm, and Blige’s pushy rasp has never sounded better."[10] He gave the album an A rating.[10] Robert Marriott of Rolling Stone gave the album three and a half stars out of five, and called it "less volatile and less emotionally jagged than Blige's earlier work." He noted that it "presents Blige more in touch with her roots, more grounded and ready for her next set of challenges, musical and otherwise, an analog soul thriving in a digital age."[13] The Los Angeles Times wrote that "not as innovative as her early recordings, but No More Drama seamlessly incorporates the smoother soul and gospel flavors of 1999's Mary with her trademark blend of hip-hop, funk and R&B."[11] Steve Jones from USA Today remarked that "pain and struggle were often the hallmarks of her previous albums, but here she's moving on to better things [...] Though she may be shedding the drama from her life, her music is still full of it."[14]

Chart performance[edit]

In the United States, No More Drama opened to Blige's biggest first week sales up to then.[17]

No More Drama debuted and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, the official albums chart in the United States, on September 6, 2001 – second only to Aaliyah's self-titled third album.[18] The album sold 294,351 units in its first week of release.[18] No More Drama was Blige's highest debut week album sales, until it was surpassed by The Breakthrough (2005), which sold 729,000 copies in its first week.[19] By the end of 2001, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and became the seventy-third best-selling album of that year in the United States. The album's commercial performance was reinforced by the subsequent release of a reissue. The release of the special edition helped No More Drama to re-enter the top ten in February 2002, gaining more than 200 percent in sales at a total of 61,000 copies.[17] The same month, No More Drama was certified double platinum by the RIAA. As of August 2003, the album has sold 1.9 million copies in the US, while the special edition moved an additional 1.1 million units.[20]

In Germany, the album was her most successful one in her career in this country, reaching #13 and staying in the German Albums Chart for 35 weeks [21] Estimated worldwide sales for the album are at 6,500,000.[22]

Track listing[edit]

No More Drama – Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Love"  
2:46
2. "Family Affair"  
4:28
3. "Steal Away" (featuring Pharrell & Boo Bonic) 4:27
4. "Crazy Games"  
  • Blige
  • Kenny Dickerson
  • Blige
  • Kenny Lav
3:23
5. "PMS"  
  • Thompson
5:33
6. "No More Drama"  
5:26
7. "Keep It Moving"  
  • Blige
  • Bruce Miller
4:15
8. "Destiny"  
  • Blige
  • Benny Benjamin
  • Gloria Caldwell
  • Sol Marcus
  • Brian Reeves
  • Kiyamma Griffin
4:14
9. "Where I've Been" (featuring Eve)
5:11
10. "Beautiful Day"  
  • Miller
  • Kenny Flaw
3:33
11. "Dance for Me"  
  • Blige
  • Miller
  • Lonnie Lynn
  • Sting
4:47
12. "Flying Away"  
  • Griffin
5:00
13. "Never Been"  
  • Missy Elliott
  • Charlemagne
4:03
14. "2U"  
  • Blige
  • Griffin
4:45
15. "In the Meantime"  
  • Blige
  • Robinson
4:14
16. "Forever No More" (Poem)
  • Blige
  • Blige
1:41
17. "Testimony"  
  • Flav
5:00
Sample credits

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[51] 2× Platinum 200,000^
France (SNEP)[52] Gold 100,000*
Sweden (GLF)[53] Gold 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[55] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ HITS Daily Double: Previous Album Sales Chart
  2. ^ Brown, Helen (2008-07-02). "Mary J Blige: Proud to shout it out without selling out on 'Growing Pains'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  3. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2001-04-03). "Mary J. Blige Wants 'No More Drama' On Fifth LP". MTV.com. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  4. ^ "Blige May Cut Leaked Jay-Z/Kravitz Track From Album". MTV News. 
  5. ^ "All Music Guide to Soul: The Definitive Guide to R&B and Soul". Google Books. 
  6. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for No More Drama". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  7. ^ a b Jonas, Liana. "No More Drama". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  8. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (2001-08-28). "Mary J. Blige: No More Drama". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 2016-08-05. 
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Brandy". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 2016-08-05. 
  10. ^ a b c Browne, David (2001-09-07). "No More Drama (2001)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  11. ^ a b "Choices From the Charts". Los Angeles Times. Tronc, Inc. 2001-11-22. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  12. ^ Ward, Christian. "Blige, Mary J: No More Drama". NME. Time Inc. UK. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  13. ^ a b Marriott, Robert (2001-08-20). "No More Drama". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  14. ^ a b Jones, Steve (2001-08-28). "Pick and choose from Blige, Scruggs and friends". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  15. ^ Seymour, Craig (2001-10-01). "Revolutions". Vibe. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  16. ^ Walters, Barry (2001-09-04). "Marked Woman". The Village Voice. The Village Voice LLC. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  17. ^ a b D'Angelo, Joe (2002-02-06). "Mary J.'s Reissue The Only 'Drama' In Stagnant Billboard Top 10". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  18. ^ a b Farber, Jim (2001-09-06). "Aaliyah Surges To No. 1 Album". New York Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. Retrieved 2015-07-21. 
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  52. ^ "French album certifications – Mary J. Blige – No More Drama" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  53. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2001" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  54. ^ "British album certifications – Mary J. Blige – No More Drama". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2016-08-19.  Enter No More Drama in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  55. ^ "American album certifications – Mary J. Blige – No More Drama". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2016-08-19.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]