Monica signed her first record deal in 1993 at 13 years old. In the 27 years since, she’s become R&B royalty, continuously coming up with culture-defining hits about love, heartbreak, and rocking your hips from side to side. There’s practically no other artist who has defined soul music like she has for as long in the industry that has been able to do so and is only forty years old. That’s why she’s this year’s pick for the Lady of Soul Award at the Soul Train Awards.
In celebration of Monica’s recognition, BET has taken a look at five of her most iconic releases to listen to ahead of the ceremony that kicks off on Nov 29 at 8 PM EST. Take a look at what you should be jamming to as you prepare for the 2020 Soul Train Awards.
“U Should Have Known Better”
One of Monica’s essential jams, Monica’s “U Should’ve Known Better” may be the most heartwarming song about holding it down that you’ll ever hear. Soft and serene, the way that she rubs her partner’s back to remind them that she’s down for the long haul makes you jealous of their figurative love. It’s rare to find someone who’s that loyal.
“Why I Love You So Much”
If you got married after 1996, chances are “Why I Love You So Much” was on your reception playlist, if not the song for your first dance. Monica’s fourth single from her debut studio album Miss Thang went deep on all the reasons to love a partner, and its honest and heartfelt message would surely bring a tear to the eyes of everyone in the room if it were on.
By now, everyone knows what it means to “kick down your door and smack your chick” and who isn’t “having it.” Monica’s iconic 2003 single drips with poison and badassery and, in the years since its release, it has become the basis for what being fed up really means. As sweet and innocent as it sounds, it proved that crossing Monica would turn her into the woman of your nightmares.
“Before You Walk Out Of My Life”
Monica made “Before You Walk Out Of My Life” about the adorable stage of infatuation known as “puppy love,” when it feels like that if your partner leaves you, nothing else will make sense ever again. It’s a powerful plea for reconciliation that has become an R&B classic.
“Everytime Tha Beat Drop” ft. Dem Franchize Boyz
In 2006, Monica had to show the world how the city of Atlanta gets down. She released “Everytime Tha Beat Drop” and switched her M.O. up from love’s great journalist to reporting live from the dance floor with a hip-rocking anthem that the world still gets down to. It’s one of her best releases because of its unpredictable origin and how it continues to contribute to the culture today.