Monie Love was one of the first CDs I bought with my “own money”. Before buying any of her discs, I bought the TAPE SINGLE (remember those?) for the song “It’s A Shame (My Sister)”. Monie had a cute voice, a little lighter than MC Lyte’s, but with just as much panache. Monie was a pioneer in the female rap game, and although she was not as well known as some of her colleagues, she still contributed greatly to the genre and helped gain some respect for the “female voice” in hip-hop.
Monie Love was born Simone Gooden (a great name in itself) in London in 1970. She started in hip-hop as an emcee in the British Jus Bad crew on Tuff Groove records in 1988, but gained worldwide commercial attention through her cameos in Queen Latifah’s “Ladies First”, The Jungle Brothers’ “Doin’ Our Own Dang”, and in De La Soul’s “Buddy” remix. These cameos led Monie to sign with Warner Bros. Records. Monie was a member of the rap collective Native Tongues, which also included A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Queen Latifah, and the Jungle Brothers among others (The Source).
On Warner, Monie released Down to Earth in 1990. Her solo debut reached #26 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and contained the singles “Monie in the Middle” (which got two Grammy nominations) and “It’s a Shame (My Sister)”. This record also featured the hilarious single “Grandpa’s Party” (video below). Three years later in 1993, Monie released In a Word or 2, which featured some slower tracks had much more of a Tevin Campbell-style R&B flavor. This album only reached #75 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, which is quite a surprise, considering the single “Born to B.R.E.E.D.” was produced by the one and only Prince and at one point was #1 on the Hot Dance Music chart. The song deals with the issue of young mothers, and offers a positive spin on a woman’s ability to “Breed”, or “Build Relationships where Education and Enlightenment Dominate”. Prince liked Monie so much, he even hired her to write lyrics for one of his side-projects – which happened to be an album he was producing for Carmen Electra. Yes, even the chick behind the Electra Pole once had an album! Prince also produced the title track “In a Word or 2” on Monie’s eponymous sophomore effort. This is a standout track, but one of my favorite cuts on the album was the track “Full Term Love” which contained a sample of Fatback’s “I Found Lovin’” and had a verse that ran through my head every time I attempted to run the mile in gym class in middle school: “Speedy Gonzalez/You better slow down/Because I’m level-headed with my feet on the ground.” I would hear that funky bassline as I jogged, and it would keep me going. Don’t ask me why we remember such mundane things from our childhood. People are wierd lke that with their selective memories!
Later on, Love entertained a short career in radio, and was the morning drive host on Philadelphia’s WPHI-FM 100.3 from 2004-2006. It has been rumored that Young Jeezy was responsible for getting her fired from this gig, as her resignation was announced shortly after she and Jeezy had a heated argument on-air about the state of hip-hop. Check the audio out below….you can hear Jeezy leaving the studio in a huff, and getting offended by Monie’s observations. Personally, I think Monie does know more about real hip-hop, and has a point when she says the subject matter of songs now contrasts greatly with the topics discussed in the hip-hop of yesteryear. She doesn’t really explain her argument with complete reticence – I mean, she says “irregardless” at one point in the discussion – but she was the OG of the rap game in this situation, and Jeezy seemed not to know her background in the industry aside from the fact that she originally came from England. Jeezy gets defensive when Monie gets loud, and immediately assumes that Monie was insulting him and his style of rapping. Supposedly, Monie left the talk show “amicably”, but there is a lot of speculation that Jeezy’s label encouraged the station to let Monie go.
Monie Love Fights with Jeezy (click to listen)
Despite the aforementioned roadblocks, Monie is not in the middle, but at the top – She secured a radio show on XM Satellite Radio called Ladies First Radio with Monie Love, and lives with her 4 children in Philadelphia, PA. She laments the state of rap and the negative messages/roles of the female rappers in this day and age. She even went as far as to call Jermaine Dupri “retarded” during an interview after learning he made the following statement:
“In order for women to stand out in hip-hop, you need to talk about what women want to hear about, and that’s dick.”
In the interview, she also calls Lil’ Kim a
“Salt-N-Pepa on steroids”.
Fun Facts about Monie
1. Her song “It’s a Shame (My Sister)” was featured in the Kid N’ Play movie Class Act….the song is playing when Kid (aka Blade Brown) tries to teach Play (aka Duncun) how to dance for the upcoming prom. See the video below! Oh, and the Blade Brown’s moves are ON POINT in the most hilarious way.
2. Monie Love was on MTV’s show Lip Service.
3. “It’s a Shame (My Sister)” contains a sample of a Spinners’ “It’s a Shame”"; a song originally written for the group by Stevie Wonder.
“Monie in the Middle”
“It’s A Shame (My Sister)”
“Buddy” (Monie around approx. 3.00 mark)
“Full Term Love”
Scene from Class Act
“Born to B.R.E.E.D.”