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Monica’s ‘After the Storm’ Album Turns 10

J Records

In 2003, Monica was a household name, known to be a singer who had racked up numerous hits — and Grammys — by singing about the relationship woes of grown women. Yet she was barely one herself — she released her debut LP, ‘Miss Thang,’ at the age of 15. “I just sang from my heart,” she told Ask Men in an interview about her youthful singing years.

But by the time the southern songbird presented ‘After the Storm,’ on June 17, 2003, she was 22, in full bloom, and she no longer just sang from her heart, but from experience.

In interviews with magazines like Jet and Ebony around the release of ‘After the Storm,’ she said the album was “a testimony” and would be about how “she made it through” her trials. This inspired the song title of this fourth studio album and the body of songs chronicling the ups and downs of her life in the previous years.

Looking back, ‘After the Storm’ was commercially successful, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. Her singles drove the album’s success such as the Missy Elliott-produced ‘So Gone,’ which hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts. “Nights I couldn’t sleep, uh / You let the sun beat you home / I asked myself over again / What am I doing wrong,” she sang with weariness.

Her chemistry with Missy Elliott continued on ‘Knock, Knock,’ co-produced by Kanye West. On this track, Monica is finished with a guy whose games are played out. “It’s funny how the tables turn now it’s you running after me,” she opens up the song. ‘U Should’ve Known Better’ was another success and was co-produced by another big music producer combo of Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox.

In the present day, Monica is far from the spunky little girl from Atlanta that impressed the music world in 1995. The singer has overcome those awkward, emotional times that comes with your 20s and the reward has been good. Now, married with children, Monica’s albums show the inevitable growth that comes with age. The songstress still has the ability to create a stellar track with her big soulful voice and capture lyrics with her rips and runs.

Watch Monica’s ‘U Should’ve Known Better’ Video

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