- 11:05 AM, Oct 03
Impressed with Mary's talent, Harrell thus signed her in to sing backup for local acts, including that of Father MC in his single entitled ï¿½I'll Do For You.ï¿½
The tune surprisingly turned out to be a hit across U.S. and consequently came to the attention of the new Uptown CEO named Sean ï¿½Diddyï¿½ Combs, who eagerly helped Mary to work on her own album which finally resulted in ï¿½What's the 411?ï¿½ released on July 28, 1992. A unique blend of soul and hip-hop, this first effort surprisingly gained positive response from both critics and the record-buying public, leading it to secure the top position on Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart while also penetrated the top 10 of The Billboard 200. Two out of its 12 tracks, namely ï¿½Real Loveï¿½ and ï¿½You Remind Meï¿½, amazingly became number one on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, subsequently boosted the sale of ï¿½What's the 411?ï¿½ to three million copies and unquestionably propelled Mary to wide public notice.
Applauded as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary again scored similar success in 1994 with her sophomore work, ï¿½My Lifeï¿½, for the album followed the trail of its predecessor to sell for nearly three million copies and to take the first rank of Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. What was more, this piece of work satisfyingly made its way to be nominated for Best R&B Album category at the 1996 Grammy Awards along with another nomination in Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group through her 1995 collaboration with Method Man which she eventually won. Sadly for her, a difficult time afterwards approached in the preparation of her next album as Diddy concluded to end their ties to put concentration on establishing his own label, Bad Boy. Boldly taking the executive producer seat by herself, she then moved to MCA Records and contacted Terry Lewis, R. Kelly, plus Babyface to help her producing the album.
Already invented what became known as "ghetto fabulous" music style through her mixture of hip-hop beats, street sensibility, soulful vocals and glamorous sophistication, Mary strengthened her position in American music industry with her third album, ï¿½Share My Worldï¿½, by 1997. A work of more polished R&B, it wonderfully strived to the top spot of The Billboard 200, the first time her album could accomplish such achievement, while also directed her to receive many accolades, especially an American Music Award for