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On her fourth album, 2006's The Makings of Me, R&B star Monica returns with an assured set of hip-hop-tinged tunes. Presenting an edgier image than on past releases, the Atlanta, Georgia-based vocalist collaborates with her hometown's snap-music soldiers Dem Franchize Boys on the hard-hitting "Everytime Tha Beat Drop," but is still capable of sensual moments, as on the smooth, Curtis Mayfield-sampling "Dozen Roses." Track Listing
1. Everytime Tha Beat Drop - (with Dem Franchize Boyz)
2. Dozen Roses, A (You Remind Me)
3. Sideline Ho
4. Why Her?
5. Hell No (Leave Home) - (with Twista)
6. Doin' Me Right
7. Raw - (with Swizz Beatz)
8. My Everything
10. Gotta Move On
Alongside Brandy, Monica was the most successful of the new breed of urban R&B female vocalists to emerge in the mid-to late 90s. Monica Arnold grew up in the College Park suburb of Atlanta, and was immersed in gospel music from an early age. Her mother was a church singer, and by the age of 10 Monica was the youngest member of a travelling 12-piece choir called Charles Thompson And The Majestics. She also began performing at the Atlanta talent showcases held at Center Stage Auditorium, singing a cover version of Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love Of All". The 12-year old singer was discovered at one of these showcases by Rowdy Records executive Dallas Austin, who had previously worked with big-name artists such as TLC, Grace Jones and Madonna. Label boss Clive Davis signed her up to Arista Records, and Austin and his production team oversaw her first recordings. Her first single, "Don't Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days)", topped the Billboard R&B chart in June 1995, and climbed to the number 2 slot on the national chart a month later. The follow-up, "Before You Walk Out Of My Life", was another R&B chart-topper and reached number 7 on the Hot 100 in December.