The beef between singers Brandy and Monica was so real in the 90s that things once turned physical! The two had solo careers in music and film but made history with their chart-topping duet “The Boy Is Mine” in 1998. Despite their success together, they weren’t the best of friends.
Rumors have swirled for years that they did not get along but the singers attributed the chatter to tabloid gossip. While they never denied that they weren’t close, they maintained that there was mutual respect for each other’s careers and promised neither harbored hard feelings towards the other.
Recent revelations of industry insiders who worked closely with Monica and Brandy during their time together paint a different portrait.
Monica and Brandy’s “The Boy Is Mine” goes to #1
Brandy and Monica were two of the biggest names in music in the 90s. Both had established themselves as R&B stars and had top-selling albums and singles, but neither had reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
With the two of them having success individually in the R&B sphere, the media naturally pained a picture that they were rivals. The truth was, they had never crossed paths. All of that would change when it came time to record Brandy’s sophomore album, Never Say Never.
Brandy and Monica teamed up and turned reports of their feuding into a number one single on the Billboard charts. “The Boy Is Mine” spent 13 weeks at the top spot and remains Atlantic Records’ longest-running number-one single. The song was such a hit that it won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1999, the only Grammy for both singers.
Monica and Brandy feud and leads to fight
“The Boy Is Mine” reigned while reports surfaced that Monica and Brandy did not get along. Among the claims was that Monica was upset with Brandy for performing the song for the first time live, without her, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Both Brandy and Monica would eventually perform the song together on the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.
Following reports that there was a fight between the two at the MTV Awards, their managers released a joint statement saying the rumors were untrue and unfair. But it appears there was truth to the media frenzy. Producer Dallas Austin, who worked on the track with them, recently told all in an interview with YouTube Vlogger, DJ Vlad.
Austin says Monica was against being part of the duet from the beginning, claiming that Monica felt Brandy’s image was too much of a goodie two shoes, while Monica had more street appeal. He also confirmed that they never met face to face before their duet and that Monica recorded her parts of the song separately from Brandy, leaving him to mix their parts together to complete the final edit. Things came to a head moments before their performance at the VMA’s. “The first time they actually saw each other to do it was at the American Music Awards or something,” he recalls. “Before they could even get to the stage, Monica decked her in the face.”
He also revealed that the two did not interact with one another during the filming of the music video for the song, which was shot months in advance of their VMA performance.
Are Brandy and Monica friends today?
The VMA performance marked the first and last time fans would see them perform “The Boy Is Mine” together. They continued to perform the song separately and Monica even pulled a move that many thought was out of spite to Brandy when she named her second album after their single.
After years of keeping their distance from one another, they tried to put their differences aside and recreate the magic of the 90s in a follow-up duet in 2012 with “It All Belongs to Me.” There were even talks of a joint tour but the working relationship was shortlived. Brandy let it be known publically that she was no fan of Monica’s.
At the 2018 Essence Fest, Brandy took it upon herself to alter the lyrics to “The Boy Is Mine” to “The Song Is Mine.” She has also discredited Monica’s relationship with their shared musical idol, Whitney Houston, on her social media pages. Monica has remained radio silent, insisting that there’s no ill will towards Brandy and has shared her hopes that they can one day move in a positive direction.
So much for girl power.