Proud Mary: Happy 25th Anniversary, Share My World

Wait. Did you know that this month marks the 25th anniversary of Mary J. Blige’s Share My World? Yes, you have a right to feel old but while you’re icing your knees be sure to celebrate the greatness of the project, which was Mary’s third studio album and the follow-up to her seminal opus, My Life. And if My Life was MJB’s Thriller then World was her Bad, which means that, like Bad, it was still full of hits and will go down as one of her greatest achievements. Today, we give Share My World its well-deserved flowers.

Released April 22, 1997, the album was released on Earth Day, which made “Share My World” the perfect title. The album, executive produced by Blige and Steve Stoute for Track Masters Entertainment, featured a dream team of producers (thanks to that post-success of My Life monster budget), including James Mtume, Babyface, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Rodney Jerkins, Poke + Tone, Malik Pendleton, and Bryce Wilson (of the group Groove Theory), and was stacked with guest appearances, starting with Lil Kim on “I Can Love You” and followed by appearances by Nas (“Love is All We Need”), jazz legend George Benson (“Seven Days”), The LOX (“Can’t Get You Off My Mind”) and musical genius Roy Ayers (“Searching”).

Seriously, there were no skips on the entire project (well, NOW we would all skip the Artist We Cannot Mention’s contribution of “It’s On” which is not Mary’s fault, but still…), with all of the above songs along with the standout single “Everything” (my favorite song on the album! Remind me to tell you about the time I was part of a wedding party and learned choreo for this song), the title track “Share My World,” “Round and Round,” “Missing You,” “Our Love,” and “Not Gon Cry” (which was featured on the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack as well) giving Mary her most well-rounded tracklist to-date.

And as if that wasn’t enough to get you curious about breaking open the CD (quiet… that’s what we were on in ’97), Share My World was MJB’s first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts (!!!). Whew.

Below are a few of my favorite videos from the project. Enjoy them, and if you feel so inclined, go back and revisit the masterpiece that was Share My World. Oh, and don’t forget this gentle reminder once again that it’s the 25th anniversary. I will now go stretch just so I can get out of the bed. Good times.

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