Brandy and Monica’s historic Verzuz battle is upon us. After more than two decades of breakups, makeups, and chart-topping hits, the two R&B divas will go head to head in an Instagram Live battle and show their fans just how talented they still are today.
What is Verzuz?
Verzuz is the latest music battle phenomenon that has taken over social media since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; artists haven’t been able to do shows and have come to rely on social media to communicate with their fans and give impromptu performances. Hip-hop producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz first kicked the series off, and the battles been taking place almost weekly since then.
Many of the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B have faced off in Verzuz battles. Recent streams have pitted Alicia Keys against John Legend, Nelly against Ludacris, and Rick Ross against 2 Chainz. Some battles have had special historic or cultural significance, like DMX vs. Snoop Dogg pitting East Coast rap against West Coast rap. And while it’s meant to be a competition to see who “wins,” it’s all done in good fun as a way of entertaining fans as they all remain locked up at home.
Given Brandy and Monica’s history, this Verzuz battle is important in more ways than one. It goes beyond music.
Brandy and Monica’s rocky relationship goes way back
In the mid-1990s, Brandy and Monica were two young teenage girls who both had a love for Whitney Houston and a dream of being a professional singer. In 1998, the two joined forces for the Platinum-selling hit single “The Boy is Mine,” which became both singers’ first number-one hit on the Billboard charts.
All the while, things were not so exciting for the singers behind the scenes. Tensions grew as the two seemingly fought for the spotlight; Monica even admitted to punching Brandy backstage at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, which remains their only televised performance of “The Boy is Mine” to this day.
The two remained in somewhat of a cold war as their careers took off in the following years. Things seemed to finally warm up in 2012, when the two reunited for the single “It All Belongs to Me,” though by 2016 they had taken a turn once again. Now, ahead of their long-awaited reunion, Monica expressed to ET that she’s ready to turn the page.
Brandy loves Monica’s music
In spite of their sometimes strained relationship, Brandy didn’t come for Monica’s music or her career as an artist; in fact, she’s preparing fans for their Verzuz battle by showing them how much of a love she has for Monica and her music. She posted a throwback clip from 106 & Park on Instagram from 2012 when she was asked what her favorite Monica song was.
“It’s so hard to choose,” Brandy concedes. She does have a favorite, though, and it remains her favorite to this day. “My favorite song that I always sing is ‘Angel‘ on your first album [Miss Thang],” she told Monica. “I don’t know if you remember but I used to sing that song all the time.”
Monica’s response was honest and perfect. “Actually, I don’t even remember the words to that song!” she admits. She laughs and defends herself by saying that she was just 12 years old when she recorded the album and that she “forgot some lyrics along the way.” Brandy clarifies that she remembers all her lyrics to both of their songs, and Monica even admits that she helps her in reminding her of them in performances. But a Verzuz battle is a competition, so don’t expect Brandy to be so nice this time around.
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