Exclusive Q&A: Rico Love Shares Details on Brandy and Monica Duet

Monica, Brandy, Rico Love, and Breyon Prescott

The year was 1998 and Brandy and Monica were sitting on top of the charts with their smash “The Boy Is Mine.” Fourteen years later, the R&B divas have reunited to record a follow-up to their Grammy-winning duet, which spent 13 weeks at No. 1. Under the direction of songwriter-producer Rico Love, the new record picks up where the original left off.

“It’s a very soulful R&B song with pop sensibilities,” Love tells Rap-Up.com. “I wanted to make sure I made it a classic R&B record, but I definitely wanted to make sure that it had enough appeal to cross over and become a Top 40 record.”

The “Motivation” hitmaker hit the studio with both ladies last week in Miami to lay down the track. While they reportedly didn’t get along while recording the original Darkchild production, the chemistry was different this time. “They both had a blast,” says Love. “They have so much history together.”

In an exclusive interview with Rap-Up.com, Rico Love sheds light on how the collaboration came together, what it sounds like, and the enormous pressure he faced.

What can you tell us about recording with Brandy and Monica?
It was a really interesting situation because of the history that was in the room and the energy was so positive. It was electric. I really wanted to try my best to pull the most explosive vocals out of them. I wanted to create a story that picked up where “The Boy Is Mine” left off. It kinda carried on the next part of the story, just showing their growth and their maturity, and making it real and true to both singers. It was an amazing energy, an amazing vibe. The girls were all positive. It was just fun. We had a great time and I learned so much from both of them during the session.

How did the duet come together?
It was Monica’s idea originally because Monica heard the record and she was so excited about it. She was like, “Yo, I really think that this should be that thing, that next duet.” Then [RCA Records executive] Peter Edge and [Chameleon Records CEO] Breyon Prescott put it together.

How would you describe the track?
It’s a very soulful R&B song with pop sensibilities. I wanted to make sure I made it a classic R&B record, but I definitely wanted to make sure that it had enough appeal to cross over and become a Top 40 record. I wanted to include Beatles-sounding guitars. I made sure the melody was big enough for all genres and just a strong powerful vocal performance and strong content. I really don’t wanna give away too much because they wanna keep it under wraps as far as the title and the subject, but I can just say that it’s a very strong vocal that I got out of these girls and it’s a very strong subject. To say the least, it will be a shocker.

When they recorded “The Boy Is Mine,” they were not the best of friends. What was their chemistry like in the studio?
It was fun. They both had a blast. We laughed and hung out. They’re like old friends. They have so much history together. It was like sisters.

Whose album will the song appear on?
I believe it’s going to be on both of theirs, but obviously Monica [New Life] is coming out sooner than Brandy, so I believe it’s going to be on hers first. We did alternate versions for both girls’ albums. So the version that is on Monica’s album won’t be the version on Brandy’s album. Same song with slightly different things.

Did you feel pressure to deliver after the massive success of “The Boy Is Mine”?
Amazing pressure because no matter what, people on the blogs will comment, “Rico ruined it and it’s the worst song ever.” You always get those the first day the record comes out, but you gotta ignore that. “The Boy Is Mine” was No. 1 for like 13 weeks. The hype around it is so big now since the pictures came out the other day on Twitter. Honestly I’m the one that’s gonna take the fall for anything, so it’s huge pressure, but I thrive off that type of pressure. I feel like that’s why I wake up to do what I do, to continue to write songs for legendary artists, and try to reinvent the wheel as much as I can.

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  2. Lisa

    *screams* I love these ladies. Seems like just yesterday they were teens ruling the charts, now they are in their 30′s with families and still causing a stir.


  3. H-Town

    Glad to hear that each album will have their own version, so fans can support both since the albums come out at different times.—- Ready to hear this indeed.


  4. J. Peezy

    Can’t. Wait.


  5. Todd

    Im so ready for this!!!!


  6. Monicas_my_fav

    ok i have to be honest AT FIRST, i was not thrilled about Mo & bran going into the studio again…I didnt care for another duet from these two…BUT NOW, i think it could be great. it could really be that thing that put both artist back on top…i hope its a smash hit. im kinda excited about it. BUT i still hope my dream comes true and my FAVS Monica & Mary go in the studio and do the M&M tour together *crosses fingers* lol.


  7. Jay

    Awwwwe maaaan! I can’t wait to hear this song! :) Yeah!


  8. Boy Wonder

    Hope it’s dope. Monica, Brandy, and Aaliyah were the urban teen Queens back in the day. I’m hoping it’s gonna be a smash.



    i like what he said about pressure because he’s right people will off the bat compare it to the boy is mine w/o givin it a chance but i feel like rico got this from beyonce, patti labelle, fantasia, jennifer hudson, mary j blidge and so more i know he’s gonna give raw r&b and those positive womens voices havent changed a bit especially monica so im ready : )

    im rambling but im just ready brandy monica keyshia cole etc so many r&b stars are coming in 2012 and im ready


  10. JP

    Will def be supporting both ladies!


  11. Digital Truth

    I think Its amazing that they want to do a duet together, and we get alternative versions.. either way we get more Brandy.. but I love the battles within the duet..so we’ll see what happens


  12. Mofan95

    This better be a single!!!!! I can’t wait. I’ve been waiting for this moment again for years and it finally is happening!!! Monica-New LIfe March 6, 2012. Brandy an we get an album title at least!


  13. boemhard

    Can’t wait :) Hope it’s just as good as The Boy Is Mine which is one of my favourite songs of all time. I think Monica’s album is gonna be great!!



    MONICA :NEW LIFE (March 6th)


  15. Slice



  16. missdiva

    Luv this and will def support these talented ladies!

    I LOOOOOOVEEEEEE Monica sooo much..NewLife!3/6/2012


  17. BLAZE

    This is so EPIC so glad my ladies are doing it again makes me think of our teen years they both have grown vocally so I know they gonna kill those riffs an runs an harmonies.I will be getting both albums.


  18. Dave

    VERY EXCITED about it, can’t wait.


  19. A

    sounds promising!


  20. ughreally

    can’t wait


  21. nicegirl

    Sounds like it’s going to be really good. Monica and Brandy are both very talented singers.


  22. Jshack

    This is a great thing I love both artist….


  23. danny

    Can’t wait for Brandys album, Monica is boring.


  24. Audrey Hepburn

    This is a good thing; however, the comment made by the producer about the song having “enough appeal to cross over” is very shallow and dim. GOOD R&B doesn’t need to have cross over appeal to be successful on the Hot 100 chart. That’s how “Boy Is Mine” went #1 for 13 weeks on the Hot 100 Chart. It was true to R&B conventions.


  25. d

    @Audrey Hepburn, in 1998
    the music game is much different now.


    Audrey Hepburn Reply:

    @d, Point is: Good R&B music stands on its own. It doesn’t need “cross over appeal” in order for it to receive proper recognition. The End.


  26. Belle L

    I actually cannot freakin wait!!!!! Im one of Bran Starz for life! And Mo can’t really do any wrong for me – love her to death to!! BIM pt.2 the 2012 version is goin to be off the chain!!So damn excited!!!!!


  27. NEWLIFE2012

    Im so happy to see Monica and Brandy uniting again. Proving that two ladies can co exist. I get so sick of stans trying to put female artists against each other. This is exactly what the industry needs right now. Its long overdue. Monica and Brandy will have a great year this year!!


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  32. Shahbaz

    God I remember sitintg with my cousin when I was 8 and singing this over and over with her . I still have the CD with this song .it still plays the song too without skipping .I’ve found that I tend to dust it off and play it a couple of times a year every year kinda shocked it still plays o.o;


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