Inspiration comes from unexpected sources. Sometimes they can come from within, while other times they come from places you least expect. For Mary J. Blige, her 1994 magnum opus My Life was birthed out of pain, heartache, and chance.

In the history books, there aren’t many albums that play on emotions as they do speakers, but on her sophomore release, Mary did just that with an unabashed effort that was more beacon of light than retail album. At 17 tracks, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul enchants with harmonies of life and love, and it was real. Over two decades since its arrival, MJB has a new album in the works, titled Strength of a Woman, and it’s expected to echo similar sentiments.

“It’s healing time,” she told Power 105’s Angie Martinez this week. “A lot of us need to get through some stuff that we don’t want to tell nobody about but I’ma tell.”

Arriving April 28, the album comes as Blige endures a grueling divorce battle with Kendu Isaacs, following a 13-year marriage. “Overwhelming disrespect” has been the cause of the unfortunate issue between the former couple, but like she did in 1994 with My Life, the singer is powering through with music.

Hoping to encourage while seeking to find light within her personal dark tunnel, Blige is gearing up to make Strength of a Woman one of her “most powerful albums” yet. Before it arrives, REVOLT takes a trip down memory lane to revisit an undeniable classic that served as a spiritual cleanser for all.