Single Review: Mary J. Blige & Eve “Not Today”

Not Today
Album: Love & Life
Year: 2003

For her new album, Mary J. Blige is enjoying life. But too much, though. On “Not Today,” she confronts her boyfriend about his wrongdoings and promptly dumps him.

Produced by Dr. Dre, the single opens with Eve’s intro that “this is another heartbreak hotel joint for the ladies.” The sample, which seems to resemble a ticking time clock beats on as Mary calls out her man for not acting grown up and playing games. She questions herself (“now why do I put up with all this child’s play”). However, as forward as she is in the verses, the chorus is a letdown. She sings “promises you told me every day/that you made you never ever kept/by me I really want to believe/but not today, not today, not today.” It’s a cliched thing to focus on.

Gutsy but angry, she puts him down in the second verse, telling him “you’re the worst/I can’t even depend on you” and kicks him out of her life by the end, “But now you can be on your way/’Cause I don’t want you to stay.”

On MTV.com, Blige said that Eve was “killin’ it” and that she must’ve been pissed. For once, it wasn’t hype. Eve’s rap is stellar. Authoriative and rapid fire, she is able to match Blige’s style and steal the single from underneath her. “Promises ’bout the house/’bout the kids/Lifestyle we would live…You’s a magician/with all them tricks up your sleeve.” Eve, damn, where has this talent been hiding? Whatever’s ticking her off, please do it again and maybe she’ll quit the sitcom and start rapping again. Blige ends the single warning other women of his lies.

Dr. Dre has made a hip hop, early Madonna song. With a chorus similar to “Holiday,” “Not Today” is pop and not really R&B. The two genres are synonymous nowadays, however, Blige has a better handle on it than she did with her album “No More Drama.” It’s not her best single ever released, but it’s heads and shoulders above other R&B singles.

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