January 08, 2007 12:00 PM

LOOKS BACK

Blige, 35, is riding high with eight nominations for the Grammys on Feb. 11 and a new greatest-hits disc, Reflections: A Retrospective. Here, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul reflects on some of her best-loved songs.

“REAL LOVE” (1992) I was singing “I’m searching for a real love” because I was searching for real people. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a man. I was looking for people to be real and honest with me.

“BE HAPPY” (1994) When I perform it, everybody always sings it. When I wrote those lyrics, I was going through so much. I really wanted to be happy. What I found is that I have to love myself in order to be happy.

“MY LIFE” (1994) I was at the lowest point of my life. I was doing drugs on a regular basis. I was drinking on a regular basis. I was being abused in a terrible relationship. I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror. If anyone were to look at my life, they would have said, “Oh my God, she’s gonna die in a year.”

“NO MORE DRAMA” (2001) I began to say, “You know what, Mary? You are your worst enemy and you have to do something about it.” That’s when I began to wake up.

“BE WITHOUT YOU” (2005) It meant so much for my fans to hear me in a place like that: “Yeah, life might get rough, but as long as you’re not beating me or disrespecting me, I’d rather not be without you.” Relationships that last the longest, you’re gonna have to fight the hardest for.

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