Countless R&B veterans have attempted comebacks during the hip-hop era, and to call most of the results embarrassing is harsh but true. One of the few who has survived with dignity intact is blue-eyed soulstress Teena Marie
; that she managed that feat while also scoring her highest-charting album (2004's La Doña
, on rap imprint Cash Money) is even more remarkable. But the former Mary Brockert has been full of surprises since emerging from Rick James' shadow in the early '80s. A songwriter, musician and prime sample source for the likes of the Fugees, Ludacris and Three 6 Mafia she's also become a role model for a new generation of doing-it-their-way urban women.