Diddy Says Mary J. Blige ‘Created A Lane For Women’ To ‘Speak Their Truth To Power’

The hip-hop mogul shares how his “best friend” changed music forever.

Mary J. Blige is up for six Grammys this year for her 2022 album Good Morning Gorgeous while Starz’ Power Book II: Ghost is about to return for its third season. So everything is going extremely well for the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul.

It’s also a great opportunity to look back at where Blige came from and the experiences that helped her meteoric rise in the music industry. Diddy, who at the time of the singer’s professional beginnings went by Puff Daddy, knows a lot about those early days. During a recent interview with PEOPLE, he noted her influence on modern-day music.

"Mary J. Blige is one of the greatest storytellers in R&B history," Diddy, who largely produced Blige’s first two albums, What's the 411? and My Life, told the magazine. "She created a lane for women around the world to speak their truth to power, so nobody deserves this success more than her."

Also speaking with Blige, PEOPLE reports she recalled how Puffy inspired her ambition as well as him being her biggest cheerleader. "Puff was a huge inspiration for me," she said. "He wanted all of this for me more than I wanted it myself."

Diddy added: "More than being my sister and my best friend, she will forever be a pioneer and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, who remains an unstoppable force that can accomplish anything she sets her mind to."

Blige says she remembers her ambition not being so high early on because of her humble upbringing, but that gradually changed after spending time with Puff.

"I was not as ambitious as Puff. When I met him, I was afraid of success, afraid to do anything that could put so much attention on me,” she says. “When you come from where I come from, you're scared to be ambitious. You're scared to want more. And then when I met him, he was the complete opposite. He was such a good thing for me because I needed what he had, to be excited to be seen, to have the lights on him. But it took some years to grow into that."

Read the full PEOPLE interview with Mary J. Blige and Diddy here.

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