Mary J Blige

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After being signed to Uptown, Blige began working with record producer Sean Combs, also known as Puff Daddy. He became the executive producer and produced a majority of the album. The title, What's the 411?, derived from Blige's past occupation as a 4-1-1 operator; it was also an indication by Blige of being the "real deal". "What's the 411" nevertheless established Blige as a dynamic storyteller whose performances of love narrative drew upon both her musical influences and her lived experiences as a hip-hop-generation woman. The music was described as "revelatory on a frequent basis". Blige was noted for having a "tough girl persona and streetwise lyrics". On July 28, 1992, Uptown/MCA Records released What's the 411?, to positive reviews from critics. What's the 411? peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It also peaked at number 53 on the UK Albums Chart. It was certified three times Platinum by the RIAA. According to Entertainment Weekly's Dave DiMartino, with the record's commercial success and Blige's "powerful, soulful voice and hip-hop attitude", she "solidly connected with an audience that has never seen a woman do new jack swing but loves it just the same". According to Dave McAleer, Blige became the most successful new female R&B artist of 1992 in the United States.