Similar to how rock fans chose between the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, R&B fans debated the merits of Monica and Brandy. The two R&B singers seemed to share parallel lanes when they both came to national attention as teen starlets in the '90s. However, their differing reputations charted them onto divergent paths. In neither scenario did any artist "win" the argument, but Monica certainly carried the heaviest story.

Monica Arnold's career began auspiciously at the age of 11, when she entered the music industry in the early '90s under the guidance of producer Dallas Austin and rapper-manager Queen Latifah. She released her debut, Miss Thang, in 1995 when she was 15 years old. The album went triple platinum. She also became the youngest artist to have two simultaneously charting singles: "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and "Before You Walk out of My Life." Arnold's 1998 follow-up, The Boy Is Mine, was punctuated by the hit ballad "For You I Will" (featured on the Space Jam soundtrack) and the title-song feature with peer Brandy. The chart success and eventual Grammy awards for the duet marked a pop breakthrough for both singers. She also began appearing in television shows like Living Single and Beverly Hills, 90210.

In an overly familiar story, Arnold's career and personal troubles increasingly became the focus of media attention through the '00s. Her 2002 album, All Eyez On Me, was heavily bootlegged and was released only in Japan to minimal commercial success. Arnold was forced to rework large portions of the album and "re-released" the album as After The Storm in 2003. The album topped the Billboard charts upon its debut but did not sell as well as its predecessors (it was certified gold). Her personal life received several blows with the incarceration of an ex-fiance and the suicide of her boyfriend. Needless to say, she did not release another album until 2006's The Makings Of Me.

Her 2010 album, Still Standing, was accompanied by a reality television show, Monica: Still Standing, which documented her "comeback." ~Dan Nishimoto

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