Eleven years in the music game and Monica still makes hits

Nowadays artists seem to come and go as often as people change underwear. Not many artists can stand the test of time and say they have had a career spanning 11 years. But I know someone who can – R&B songstress Monica.

Miss Thang is back with her fourth studio album, “The Makings Of Me,” under the J Records imprint. Her new LP serves as the follow-up to 2003’s “After The Storm.”

But after the birth of her son, the suicide of her boyfriend and other battles within her personal life, Monica delivers an album that was worth the three-year wait.

The album takes us all back to the soul-stirring, truth-speaking Monica that we have grown to love and respect. With production from hit makers Jermaine Dupri and Sean Garrett, the album proves to be a soon-to-be classic.

The Making begins with her lead single, “Everytime The Beat Drops,” featuring Dem Franchize Boyz. Although the song lacks originality and attempts to deliver the ever-so-popular-at-the-moment snap dance music, you can’t resist the urge to start up a one-two step on the dance floor. Even though it’s a club banger, Monica is way too talented to have released such a sub par song.

“Sideline Ho,” one of the album’s many highlights, tells its message through the title.

“Ain’t you tired of being on the side line/tired of getting yours after I get mines/ baby second place don’t get a prize. Ain’t you tired of spending all the holidays alone/ tired of being his little sideline ho?”

A little vulgar, don’t you think? Well, that’s the way Monica delivers the harsh reality to her fans, and it is much appreciated. The song’s staccato lyrics mixed with Monica’s strong alto makes it a ghetto-yet-classy musical masterpiece.

“Why Her” is a Jermaine Dupri-produced track that’s reminiscent of Mariah Carey’s hit song, “We Belong Together.”

“I was thinking that I would always have your love/you never could care enough but you know I can’t deny I listen to you. Tell me your dreams/and your fears/I wipe your tears/I was there and this is why this is hurting me.”

The song’s deep, meaningful lyrics pour out Monica’s pain, courtesy of past relationships.

The Making delivers a lush mix of Monica’s expertise of slow jams with a few upbeat tracks to cater to all audiences.

“Hell No,” the Missy Elliott-produced track, “A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)” and “Raw,” featuring Swizz Beatz, are more highlights in this R&B work of art.

Monica has gone full circle from being Miss Thang to fighting for a boy with Brandy and traveling through the storm. Going back to her vocal roots, she has created something where we can truly see the making of Monica.

We see many sides of her life experiences and we have the ability to see that she is indeed human. The critics are right; this is what I call a comeback. Other artists need to take note, cough, Beyonce.

Grade: A