Year: 1995
Label: Rowdy

She's younger than Brandy, which you wouldn't have guessed in 1995. At 15, Monica dropped a debut that's as tender-loving and mature as her R&B elders; though she's less funky than Janet Jackson, Monica stepped correct with New Jack confidence on Miss Thang. "Like This and Like That" solicits; "Don't Take It Personal" shoves: "I find myself in misery, and that ain't cool." She and Usher trade relationship woes as blues lovers on "Let's Straighten It Out." "Before You Walk Out Of My Life," "Why I Love You So Much" (despite its quaint "feminine" passivity), and "Never Can Say Goodbye" are how you mend from a bedroom quarrel. In 1995, Monica was dope beyond her years.Justin Charity