Intro excepted, a devout Mary J. Blige fan could listen to these 70 minutes of music as an untitled album and never think of it as a sequel to 1994's My Life. Technically titled My Life II...The Journey Continues (Act 1) -- yes, it’s the first act of a continuation -- it’s more the successor to Blige’s previous album, Stronger with Each Tear. Blige is in a much different, presumably much better place now than she was when she made the turbulent My Life. That album has one guest who appears during a half-minute interlude; there really isn’t much room for any other voice. My Life II, like Stronger, is more like My Life and Those of Others Who Join Me, as it is it involves a succession of high-profile guests: Nas, Busta Rhymes, Drake, Rick Ross, Beyoncé, Diddy, and Lil Wayne. Those who are hoping for something in the spirit of mid-‘90s Blige might be disappointed and think of the title as a ploy, but those who expect a wide variety of material in terms of style, mood, and quality will get precisely that. The first half contains several uplifting, upbeat numbers, including a strong cover of Rufus & Chaka Khan's “Ain’t Nobody,” where producer Rodney Jerkins seems to have placed the synthesizer bass from René & Angela's “I’ll Be Good” in a deep fryer. Chest-beating pleader “25/8” clearly aims for classic status with a Gamble/Huff sample. The second half, as with almost every other second half of a 70-minute album, sags. There are numerous ballads that drift along at similar tempos, yet the sonic makeup from one track to another greatly varies, and not one of them truly sticks out to rank with Blige’s best. The album lacks Stronger with Each Tear's focus and really bears no relation to My Life, apart from being an album by Mary J. Blige.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman