One of the fiercest modern day diva showdowns came to a head Monday tonight (Aug. 31) as R&B legends Brandy and Monica faced off in the ultimate Verzuz battle. Hosted live at Tyler Perry Studios, the two vocal giants played their top hits for over 1 million fans — who joined the party within just the first 30 minutes. Stars like Keke Palmer, Fantasia, Bryan-Michael Cox, Missy Elliott, Johnta Austin, Solange and Jimmy Jam even tuned in to watch the celebration of over 20 years of musical mastery.
The livestream began promptly with a DJ mix of Atlanta artists to get the crowd warmed up for the main event presented by Ciroc in partnership with Live Nation initiative Femme It Forward. Then, the real battle began… and the rest was Verzuz history.
Take a look at Brandy and Monica’s Verzuz most legendary moments below.
1. When they honored Chadwick Boseman
“He was just a king. Hero,” said Brandy after Monica took a beat to honor the shared trauma we’ve been experiencing this year with loss, especially those shocking celebrity deaths like Friday’s devastating news that Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman succumbed to a four-year battle with colon cancer.
2. When vice president candidate Kamala Harris surprised fans
Just after Monica passed the first song off to Brandy in the name of “southern hospitality,” Brandy paused the action for a special video message from the first Black woman vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, to remind us all to get out and vote on Election Day, which is Nov. 3.
3. Brandy and Monica critiquing each other’s vocal performances
Monica expressing how much she can’t wait to sing along with B-Rocka on “He Is” from Brandy’s Full Moon album just after Brandy praised Monica for her runs at the climax of 2010’s “Everything To Me.” The two have mentioned the possibility of a joint tour, which came up again tonight. It sounds like Monica is in!
4. The moment Monica and Brandy both addressed the decades long feud
Monica said Missy Elliott encouraged her to have a face-to-face with Brandy. Monica established that she’s a “straight shooter,” and addressed the detractors by saying, “It seems like the more people talked about us, the less we could hear each other.” Once and for all, the duo set the record straight that there are no hard feelings between them. Brandy affirmed Monica by saying, “I’ve always admired you.” Like true homegirls, she also hyped Mo up, “Sitting here with your Fendi on. Fendi, cut the check!”
5. The Tupac shoutout into “I Wanna Be Down”
Straight flex. Brandy showed her West Coast pride with a Tupac sample leading into her dropping her debut single, “I Wanna Be Down,” which was remixed and featured heavy-hitter female MCs Queen Latifah, YoYo and MC Lyte.
6. Monica singing “Should’ve Known Better” a capella
Honestly, hearing either of them share those one-of-a-kind vocals is a treat to behold. But, the soul in Mo’s voice literally sent chills!
7. Brandy dedicating “Missing You” to legends we’ve lost
In a poem written in Brandy’s personal journal, she dedicated her Set It Off soundtrack anthem in memory of “Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, Nipsey Hussle, Chadwick Boseman and Whitney Houston,” as well as victims of police brutality such as Breonna Taylor.
8. When Monica dropped two new singles halfway through the battle
Well then! We thought we were headed for intermission when Monica sneak dropped “Trenches,” her new single featuring rapper Lil Baby. Then, when they came back to the stage, Mo dropped more “NEW MONICA!” with her single “Anything” featuring Missy Elliott and Rick Ross, which features samples of Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya” and her ex-boyfriend C-Murder’s “Down for My N*ggas” with the message advocating for prison reform.
9. Black Twitter’s commentary
Watching Verzuz events on Twitter, together as a family, is an event in and of itself. Between the well played gifs and tongue in cheek jokes, Black Twitter’s hilarious reactions was truly a highlight of the evening.
10. Usher’s “Slow Jam” as 6 degrees of separation for the R&B divas
Usher and Monica remade Midnight Star’s 1983 classic “Slow Jam” for the Soul Food Soundtrack. At the same time, Usher was playing Brandy’s love interest on her hit show “Moesha,” which ran from 1996 to 2001 and is now streaming on Netflix. The two reminisced on their iconic teen years and fans swooned.
11. Brandy announcing that she’s an independent artist now and has her own label!
Ownership! Brandy shared that she has a distribution deal with Entertainment One Music. That explains her strategic (and consistent) mention of a tour and request for a part two to tonight’s battle. Think we’ll get it?!
12. The “Moesha” theme song embargo?
The DJ slipped the “Moesha” theme song in, and while the fans and Monica thought Brandy would be excited to sing along, she revealed that legally she cannot perform it. Hmmm… What gives?
13. Monica’s infamous white shoes in her “Before You Walk Out of my Life” video
The “Before You Walk Out of my Life” video is memorable for many reasons. In addition to it being one of Monica’s first singles, the white sandal slides she’s wearing while sitting on the curb has had fans talking for decades! In good spirits, Monica addressed them, “I think whoever made them knew that they should go away. I never found the shoes,” she joked. Looks like Brandy found a pair!
14. Record breaking viewership
Tonight’s Verzuz battle set a new record of more than 1.2 million concurrent viewers on Instagram Live! We’re still awaiting total viewers, but it seems like the whole world tuned in for Monica and Brandy’s musical lovefest. Black women making history once again!
15. When they FINALLY played “The Boy Is Mine”
They dynamic duo made us earn the main event. Before playing the dynamic duet, the two reminisced on how the collaboration came about. Brandy originally recorded “The Boy Is Mine” as a solo — her debut single as a matter of fact. But, said she felt it was missing something. “Adding you (Monica) to the song took it to another place,” Brandy said. “That’s why I hunted you down… I knew that it was missing you. It felt so natural. It wasn’t forced.” The teen divas even hung out at Six Flags to get to know each other before recording. “It was the perfect match,” Brandy declared.
Relive Monica and Brandy’s Verzuz below!