It’s been 25 years and people still want to know if the “boy” is Brandy or Monica’s. Finally, the two sirens have decided to come together to give the definitive answer themselves, and anticipation is riding high. With both artists being iconic R&B divas in their own individual right, their joint union over the years has provided much for the fans to chew on. This battle’s only about the music, however.
A battle between the two soul titans has been floated by many fans over the internet since the Verzuz platform started to blow up. While it initially started off featuring hip-hop artists due to the fact that it was created by superproducers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, it was one of the first R&B battles that showed the true power of the platform, for both fans and the artists.
The Erykah Bad versus Jill Scott battle broke records and led to the tripling of the artist’s combined catalogs, according to Billboard:
The two singer-songwriters collectively pulled 6.7 million U.S. streams on Saturday and Sunday for their total song catalogs, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, compared with a 2.1 million haul for the Thursday and Friday preceding the showdown. Badu and Scott’s livestream drew more than 700,000 attendees at its peak and set a new series viewership record, overtaking the nearly 525,000 who tuned in to see Babyface battle Teddy Riley on April 20.
Brandy and Monica’s 1998 duet “The Boy Is Mine” went on to be #1 pop hits for both stars and netted them each a Grammy. Fast forward to 2020. Both stars are still active in the music industry, and clearly, their legacies have left them in demand with fans. Previously, they’d both been approached about the possibility of a battle and there didn’t seem to be much of an appetite for it.
“People have put us against each other for twenty-something years,” Monica previously told Atlanta’s V-103. “I’ve been trying to tell people for about 25 years you can like both! You’re going to turn this into 1998 all over again, and I have no interest in that.” The singer shared that she’s not interested in a battle and has one condition if it was to take place.
“[I]t would have to be a celebratory form of it. It would just have to be. I just don’t see it any other way,” the Grammy-winning singer said. “The reality is, I think ‘Boy Is Mine’ is such a phenomenal record because we’re polar opposites. And I think that’s dope.”
Essence magazine got the chance previously to ask the “Vocal Bible” herself if she’d be open to battling her old nemesis/friend Monica over the Instagram airwaves. “I don’t know. I’m open. I’m open for sure. I’m not closed-minded,” she said.
However, a Verzuz battle is now an even better business move – and both singers have new music either out currently or on the way. Brandy’s latest album B7 just dropped, led by the single “Baby Mama” with Chance the Rapper – her first independent album in her whole career. As an independent artist, the Verzuz platform will no doubt provide invaluable promotion for her first release on her own label.
Monica’s gearing up for her next album, Chapter 38, and Maroon 5 member PJ Morton has said that he’s working on new songs for Monica’s latest opus. Monica also appears on VH1’s T.I. & Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle show and has just released a new song, produced by The Neptunes, called “Trenches.”
Hear the song below.