The two collaborated on the 1998 cut “The Boy Is Mine,” which was co-produced by Dallas Austin, who said the two women had a physical altercation back in the day.
According to the veteran producer, the beef surrounded Monica’s belief that Brandy was too prim and proper.
“Monica was very ghetto when it came down to it. … If you didn’t have gold teeth she didn’t like you,” said Austin during an interview with VladTV. “She was really hood in Atlanta.”
He also said Monica initially refused to do “The Boy is Mine” with Brandy, but they ended up recording their parts in separate studios.
The physical altercation took place at what Austin believes was the American Music Awards but he’s not sure. And it happened right before the two ladies took the stage to perform the hit single.
“Before they could even get to the stage, Monica decked her in the face, popped her in the face backstage. This is even before the performance,” he recalled. “So everybody [is like] ‘How are we going to have a performance that looks like they’re not at war with each other?'”
The song is about two women fighting over one man, as the title suggests, and because of that Austin said the problems between the artists benefited their performance.
“It worked out, because in the song they’re supposed to be at war with each other. So nobody could really tell that she [Brandy] got punched in the face before the performance.”
Monica actually admitted to the punch in 2012 when she and Brandy were promoting their second duet “It All Belongs to Me.”
“They say I was unrefined. A little hood,” said Monica on Hot 97. “It was many years ago and people will act like it’s yesterday. So that’s why we never even bothered to bring it up because that’s how unimportant it was.”