Monica Opens Up 'Musical Diary' On New Album

R&B songstress Monica is putting the finishing touches on her fourth album, "The Makings of Me," due Sept. 26 via J. The set is led by the single "Everytime Tha Beat Drop," which was produced by J

R&B songstress Monica is putting the finishing touches on her fourth album, "The Makings of Me," due Sept. 26 via J. The set is led by the single "Everytime Tha Beat Drop," which was produced by Jermaine Dupri and features Dem Franchize Boyz. Other producers include Missy Elliott, Sean Garrett, Bryan Michael Cox and the Underdogs.

Monica will head to a studio in Orlando, Fla., next week to record the disc's final track with longtime friend Akon. The album title is based on Curtis Mayfield's "The Makings of You," which is sampled in the Elliott-produced second single "Dozen Roses."

"This album is really the makings of me because it talks about so many different scenarios, both good and bad, that have pretty much brought me to the point where I'm at mentally," Monica tells Billboard.com. "We found different ways to put in the last 11 years of my life and make this more of a musical diary where people can really see me in a lot of different lights for once."

Monica says the new offering will be even more in-depth than her 2003 effort, "After the Storm," which included a song about the suicide of her boyfriend. That disc debuted atop The Billboard 200 and has sold 987,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"'After the Storm' was really a reflection of being in the midst of figuring things out," says Monica. "But now it's a lot easier. Here it is almost six years later -- and that's a big difference for a woman. I've been able to put a lot more in perspective this time around."

Many of the tracks are crafted from the singer's own poetry. "When you start talking about subjects that are that personal, you kind of need people that were there," she says. "For a lot of different things that I experienced, people like Missy, us having a friendship outside of music, she was there. Same with Jermaine. But I did venture off and work with some people I really admired. I wrote with Tank and different people that could really get a good feel of what I was talking about."

Though much of the album is mid-tempo and ballad-driven, Monica says, "Everytime Tha Beat Drop" falls into the "snap" category, which has been popularized by artists like D4L and Dem Franchize Boyz. "I wanted to make a fun record because a lot of times when you get into having messages in your music, it can be so deep that it passes over the audience's head," she explains. "I tried something that appears on the outside to be different from me but it's quite normal for my everyday, what I listen to, what I'm accustomed to. I'm originally from Atlanta and 'snap' music originated here."

Chicago rapper Twista is featured on another track, "Hell No," which finds Monica rapping. The cut was produced by Cox and written by Garrett. "[Twista] raps extremely fast so he took some time out and stayed in the booth with me," says Monica. "We went back and forth until I was able to pick up a speed that was somewhat comparable to his."
THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.