Onstage she is wearing an all-black suit, topped with a black fur and sunglasses to further the dramatic flair. The most memorable part of the video? Rows of Blige duplicates walking down a white staircase. My Life, which sold more than 3 million copies, also documented a tough time of depression for Blige. In her Amazon documentary released last year, My Life, she confessed her inner turmoil she while making the project. “It was still heavy for me when everyone else was like, ‘Oh my God, this album did so much for me. This album saved my life.’ When I was still stuck in hell.”
“I Can Love You” feat. Lil’ Kim (1997)
The second single from Blige’s third album, Share My World, reached number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 while the album itself debuted as number one on the Billboard 200. “I Can Love You” features an appearance from the legendary queen bee Lil’ Kim and lyrically displays the duo trying to persuade a potential lover into loving them back.
Despite the intense nature of the song, we see Blige–in a cascade of blonde curls–still enjoy a party with Kim. While love and heartache has been at the center of much of Blige’s music, the star has been open about the double standard between famous women and men when it comes to dating. In a 1997 interview with Rolling Stone, Blige remarked, “Men can sleep with 30 women and get away with it. I can’t.”
“All That I Can Say” (1999)
In the visuals for “All That I Can Say,” from 1999’s Mary, we see the artist knee-deep in a surreal dream sequence. From bluer-than-blue skies to horses walking in streets, it was a palpable departure from her previous video treatments. The love that she sings of has her feeling airy and light. Lyrically, Blige ventures into more poetic territory–which is a result of Lauryn Hill writing, producing, and arranging the track herself.
“Family Affair” (2001)
This renowned 2001 club banger was Blige’s lead single from her fifth studio album, No More Drama. “Family Affair” was also her first Hot 100 number one hit. Not only did it add the terms hateration and holleration into the modern-day lexicon (dancery is an actual word), its video inspired a bevy of fashions. From Blige’s denim patchwork shorts set to her asymmetrical bob, it was clear she was embracing this lighter persona. A cameo from Dr. Dre–who will be performing alongside Blige at this year’s Super Bowl—isn’t a friendly coincidence though; he cowrote and produced the song.
“Not Today” feat. Eve (2003)
The first moments of “Not Today,” which serves as the third single from 2003’s Love & Life, show clips from a scene from the movie Barbershop 2: Back in Business, which was also released that same year. (The song was a promotional soundtrack for the motion picture.)