Mary J. Blige: Phil Knott/Camera Press/Retna
September 03, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Like Bill Clinton, Blige can ignore drama all she wants, but it keeps coming back at her. Her sixth album finds her dissing backstabbers and gold-digging males while asserting her own supposedly positive mindset. It’s the stuff of recent records by Blige heirs like Blu Cantrell and Sunshine Anderson, but No More Drama bests them all in the music and personality departments. From the Dre-produced theatricality of the single ”Family Affair” to refined funk and crisp quiet-storm R&B, the multiproducer arrangements are expansive yet warm, and Blige’s pushy rasp has never sounded better. Anyone who hires a choir to chant ”PMS!” in a slow jam of the same name is the best sort of drama queen.

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