Reading the reviews here so far you'd think this is some mediocre album optional in your RnB collection. It isn't! This album is a pure classic. This is not my opinion, this is the opinion of anyone who knows anything about RnB and anyone who lived it.
It was early Summer of 1992. I loved New Jack Swing (still do). But the songs started to be too similar to each other, and it was getting harder to pick out something different, a hit. The change was clearly needed and there comes Puffy and Mary J with their idea of Heaven: Let's continue what New Jack Swing started - merge Hip Hop and RnB, but give it a slower, more soulful twist, a la Jodeci, but harder and clubbier. When the album dropped, people went mad! It was off the hook! "You remind me" was played a lot, but Every RnB/Hip hop clubs played "Real love" like 3-4 times a night! Every Urban radio station played her tunes easily once an hour, and NOT because they were paid to do it - but because the tracks were so awesome. And bang - "Hip Hop Soul" subgenre was born. Mary J was no background singer for Father MC no more. She was now the queen herself. The queen of Hip Hop Soul.
This album singlehandedly changed the road RnB was taking. By 1994 New Jack Swing was dead sadly - but long live Hip Hop Soul (well up to 2004 where crunk took over it and killed RnB. IMHO. But that's another story.)
This album is a classic because almost every song is so good that you will love it and play it forever. You remind me, Real love, Sweet thang, Reminisce, Love no limit, I don't want to do anything, My love, Changes I've been going through - each released as a single as well! Just how many artists can say that?
And as if that wasn't good enough, each of these songs had incredible remixes! Puffy did NOT in fact invent the remix, but he sure knew how to make one! Every single is worth buying.
This album fed hungry crowds for the next 2 years easily, and it was so big that What's the 411 Remix album was released Dec 1993. I still have this album on the original audio tape :) And there is no money that can buy it off me. Because this is not only Mary's best album to date, but also a part of RnB history.