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"We’ve been close with Mary before, but never have we been able to get to that zone, where you hit with an impact very few artists ever reach. From the reaction to the first single and video, we think we can sell six, seven, 10 million worldwide."
——MCA's Jay Boberg
MCA HAILS MARY
Label To Make Sure Millions Experience The "Drama," Have An "Affair," Feel O-Blige’d

MCA is ready to pop Mary J. Blige wide open. The label is gearing up to cross over the once and future Queen of Hip-Hop Soul with the Aug. 28 release of her new LP, "No More Drama."

MCA President Jay Boberg is confident this is the album to turn Mary into a worldwide superstar. At least that’s what he told Billboard. "Mary’s self-confidence and coming of age have all coalesced. She’s now in control of her destiny and no longer playing the victim. We’ve been close with Mary before, but never have we been able to get to that zone, where you hit with an impact very few artists ever reach. From the reaction to the first single and video, we think we can sell six, seven, 10 million worldwide."

An ode to "funky, spiritual love and devotion," the record features tracks produced by Rockwilder, the Neptunes and Jam & Lewis, as well as Dr. Dre, who produced the first single, "Family Affair."

It’s her first studio album since ’99’s "Mary," which sold 250k its first week on the way to 2 million OTC to date in the U.S. The label is putting about a million albums in the streets, and hoping for first-week sales between 300-400k.

Expectations have been raised by the success of "Family Affair," which has earned over 3,400 total spins and a listening audience of more than 42 million at Rhythm, Crossover and Urban radio.

Sr. VP Pop Promotion Craig Lambert said the Top 40 move could come as soon as Sept. 4, when the album hits the charts: "This is going to pop out of the major markets once the TV kicks in. Pop radio reflects the heat of the marketplace, and we should have enough of the elements in place for them to react. I don’t want to force-feed this. Patience and tenacity are the keys. Oh, I thought you were asking about getting a table at Moomba."

  • Blige’s TV appearances include "Leno" (8/22), the Source Awards (8/28), "Regis & Kelly" (8/29), "The Rosie O’Donnell Show" (9/5) and Lifetime’s "Intimate Portrait" series in September, as well as BET and MTV "TRL" the week of release.
  • Press clips include covers in the July Vibe, Honey, Essence and The Source, with major upcoming features in Rolling Stone, Interview and GQ.
  • The video is already getting exposure at BET, MTV and VH1, where a month-long ad campaign is in full swing.
  • In-stores are slated the week of release at four N.Y.-area retailers, including Rainbow’s in Harlem, FYI in Manhattan, Music Factory in Brooklyn and Vision Quest in Yonkers, Mary’s hometown.

Added VP R&B Promotion Benny Pough: "The mantra for this record from Jay and A&R was to make a record that would take Mary over the top into that pop arena, that could go across-the-board. Fortunately, we’ve been able to do what we needed to bring her to this plateau. By the way, where did you get this number?"

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