She was a true tomboy. Not the Aaliyah type of tomboy that had a cool vibe, or the Brandy type of tomboy that didn’t give the boys any play. She was the around-the-way girl who was your double dutch partner, or the girl you sang within the church choir. She is Monica.
Hailing from College Park, GA, Monica Arnold was discovered by the man responsible for building TLC’s signature sound, Dallas Austin. She signed to Austin’s label Rowdy Records at the tender age of twelve.
Three months after her first single, “Don’t Take it Personal,” dropped in April of 1995, Monica released her debut album, Miss Thang, to multi-platinum selling success.
Twenty-two years later, she has gone on to release seven more albums worldwide, but it’s her fearless debut album that set the standard for Monica’s lengthy career.
Here at Rated, we’ve put together a list of Monica’s best jams from her debut album in celebration of this amazing milestone. Check it out below:
“Before You Walk Out My Life”
“Here we are face to face/With the memories that can’t be erased/Although we need each other/Things that changed/It’s not the same,” sings a heartbroken Monica. Letting go a loved one is never easy, but she sings it passionately on the Dallas Austin-penned record. Serving as the second single for the album, this song gave Monica her second top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was also her second No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, which made her the youngest artist ever to have consecutive No. 1 records on this particular chart.
“Now I’m Gone”
Arguably the best album cut and sole non-single on this list, Monica is fed up and over the drama on this slow-burning kiss off to a lying lover. “You told so many lies/Thought you could run away from this thing called reality/But I’m long gone, I got to go on/There’s someone waiting for me/To love me honestly,” she sings. Monica’s signature mix of believability and vocal grit comes full force on this Tim & Bob record, even at the young age of 14.
“Don’t Take it Personal (Just One of Dem Days)”
“It’s just one of them days, when I wanna be all alone.” That’s the line that jump started Monica’s music career. Serving as the lead single, “Don’t Take it Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” was the perfect blend of lyrical content, vocal ability, and the stellar production of Dallas Austin to form one of the hottest singles of the summer in 1995. Whether you’re in the car or at your cousin’s cookout, you can’t help but bop your head and sing along to this party-friendly cut.
“Like This and Like That”
Monica gave her friend-with-benefits an ultimatum on this jumping jam. “I just can’t keep from going/I’m falling in love with you/I need to know if you want me for sure/We’ve messed around for too long/I need a commitment,” she sings. Co-written and co-produced by Dallas Austin and Colin Wolfe, “Like This and Like That” was chosen as the third single of the album, peaking at the No. 7 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was Monica’s third consecutive No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The track also features a stellar verse from fellow Rowdy Records signee Mr. Malik.
“Why I Love You So Much”
This list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include this sweet love song. Penned by frequent Babyface collaborator Darryl Simmons, Monica tips off her hat to her new lover for protecting her, loving her, and even not pressuring her for sex. “You take me and you hold me/You rock me in your arms, baby/And I love you for that, baby/You don’t front in front of your friends/And you’re smart enough to be a real man,” she sings. Picked to be her fourth and final single, the song peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which was her third top 10 from this album.