First Listen: Mary J Blige and Nas change course with "Thriving"

As Mary J. Blige and Nas gear up for a co-headlining tour together, the frequent collaborators rekindle their musical partnership with an uptempo number entitled “Thriving.” Hardcore Blige fans may find the track to be a testament to the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’s professional endurance and vocal maturity; but digested outside of that foggy lens, the song lacks a certain melodic oomph and lyrical edge that one would hope for as she approaches 30 years in recording.

As Mary J. Blige and Nas gear up for a co-headlining tour together, the frequent collaborators rekindle their musical partnership with an uptempo number entitled “Thriving.” Hardcore Blige fans may find the track to be a testament to the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul’s professional endurance and vocal maturity; but digested outside of that foggy lens, the song lacks a certain melodic oomph and lyrical edge that one would hope for as she approaches 30 years in recording.

Despite a strong beat and Blige’s vocal confidence, lines such as “They don’t know what to do with me” and “Hey, time for us to go and get the money, y’all” are hard to appreciate coming from a singer of such iconic status among both strong women and young girls. There are redeeming passages here and there, but the promotion of material gain does something of a disservice to her pride in coming through personal tribulations. Likewise, Nas hasn’t lost any of his appeal in tone or phrasing, yet his boast of “dodging bullets and jail time” seems a bit out of sync with the song’s title and Blige’s command to “Stay loud, don’t dumb it down.”

Take a First Listen to “Thriving” below and leave your feedback. Is Blige moving forward musically, or merely trying to stay relevant by shifting her focus?

by Justin Kantor

Mary J. Blige and Nas - "Thriving"

 
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