Mary J. Blige is free to record with whomever she pleases. She's free to do songs that are heavy on Auto-Tune and light on originality. She wouldn't be the first musical act to pander to audiences (that would otherwise dismiss her) in order to stay relevant. But here's the thing, Mary J. Blige doesn't have to do any of that shit. She's been around a long time, but nothing about her output indicates a need to conform in that manner, certainly not when she's moving 629,000 copies of her album first week out--a number that any artist, established or otherwise, would kill for these days.
There are plenty of what-ifs surrounding the emergence of "Stronger," a track featuring Chris Brown allegedly intended for Rihanna and summarily passed to Keri Hilson and Mary.
What if the accompanying male vocals aren't Chris Brown and instead belong to some other nasally-voiced, Usher rip-off rat bastard chump that beat his girlfriend damn-near to death? This wouldn't be the case, since Brown wrote the song, according to his many, many fansites.
What if it was recorded before The Incident? This is what we hoped, but there's some anecdotal evidence that points to the contrary. Tracie over at Jezebel breaks it down:
Interestingly, about a month after Brown's alleged assault on Rihanna -- while the young couple was in the midst of a brief reconciliation -- both TMZ and Us reported that the pop stars were secretly working on a duet during a couple of late-night recording sessions, with producer Polow Da Don, saying, "The theme is about being stronger and growing stronger in a relationship." As we know, if those sessions did indeed take place, nothing ever came of them, and shorty thereafter, Rihanna broke it off with Brown for good. So is this the same song that Blige ended up recording? It certainly seems like it is, considering the lyrics ("We've been through it all/ We had some close calls...We'll survive / As long as you're by my side"), and the fact that the same producer is attached to each project.
(If this track is really produced by Polow Da Don, then that presents another issue, as he manages to offend Black women every time he opens his disgusting meerkat mouth.)
What if this track doesn't end up on the album? If we raise enough hell, it probably won't.
What if Mary is simply calling upon her spirit of forgiveness by engaging in this? It would certainly seem so, especially once we consider that after her "private hell"/"Ike and Tina of the '90s" relationship with K-Ci Hailey she managed to record another duet with him for her Mary album entitled "Not Looking." It is worth pointing out that they, reportedly, didn't share a studio during those sessions. But then we must also consider her words regarding her step-child Briana, who famously chin-checked Charles Hamilton in a now-infamous video:
I feel really bad, and it doesnt make me proud for me to see her doing things like that. Its just stupidity. It makes no sense. But as a parent, we love them through [it.] I'm not like 'yeah son, I'm glad my kid is up there....
Would things be any different if Chris Brown was her child? Who knows? But there's one thing we're certain of: If she willingly recorded this after The Incident and intends to include it on her new album, after seeing the photographic evidence, after seeing Chris Brown address people that object to domestic partner abuse as "haters," all the while employing the tired logic of "there's two sides to every story"--this is easily the stupidest thing she's ever done.
Why Is Mary J. Blige Working With Chris Brown? [Jezebel]