Jermaine Dupri

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Jermaine Dupri visits LA tattoo parlor for new Janet Jackson artwork - Examiner.com
Clearly Jermaine Dupri loves his girlfriend Janet Jackson as the rapper/producer recently tattooed a Virgin Mary image of the pop icon on his rib cage. The So So Def frontman visited Jun Cha's tattoo parlor in Hollywood to have the artwork completed...
Jermaine Dupri Accepts The Game's Video Game Challenge - MTV.com
During the matchup, Jermaine Dupri came to the showdown to help cheer and coach Bow, but to no avail. "I'm the sh--, man!" Game declared after the game. "I don't know what else to say. Shout-out to Jermaine Dupri for coming to pick up his little pup....
Jagged Edge signs to Slip-N-Slide Records - Examiner.com
The group that consists of twin brothers Brian and Brandon Casey along with Kyle Norman and Richard Wingo were once signed to Jermaine Dupri's label So So Def and Columbia Records. Jermaine would later depart from Columbia to join Arista Records...
Usher's New Album Title Is Big (and Scary) - People Magazine
Usher has been spotted recording in Las Vegas and in his Atlanta hometown with producer Jermaine Dupri on the album, which is set for release this fall on Jive Records. The singer also confirmed via his Twitter page that he recently shot a scene in the...
Mariah Carey Reveals New Album Title - AHN
For the follow-up, she's working with producers The-Dream, Jermaine Dupri, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Brian Michael Cox, and Timbaland. The five-time Grammy award winner will release a new single in the fall. Carey will also be seen on the big...
Mariah Carey Precious Theme Song - Right On Music
Carey told a source that the theme song for Precious has been titled “100 Percent”, which she is currently writing and recording with producer Jermaine Dupri. So, could an Oscar be close in Mariah's grasp? While she surely has a chance,...
Bringing Herky-Jerky Baltimore Club to Brooklyn - New York Times
By JON CARAMANICA “I don't even really know whose song this is/But I heard it and jumped right on”: That's the Atlanta rapper, producer and mogul Jermaine Dupri giving himself over to the ineffable pull of DJ Class's “I'm the Ish,” on one of the song's...
Mariah Carey Announces Name Of New Album - The Celebrity Truth
The singer has been busy in the studio recording songs with Timbaland and long-time collaborator Jermaine Dupri, along with promoting her new movie Precious at the Canne film festival. No release date for Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel has been set at...
Star Couplings: Sienna Miller Is Dating A Man That Isn't Dating ... - The Frisky
Magazine] Jermaine Dupri got a really large tattoo of girlfriend Janet Jackson. [Media Takeout]—Is it just me or does the Janet tattoo resemble the Virgin Mary? Bill Clinton got a handful of Fran Drescher's fanny at the Life Ball charity event in...
Photo Gallery: Holly Madison, Jermaine Dupri, Gene Simmons At The ... - LA.com
Jermaine Dupri was supposedly there, but he was yet to be spotted. But the worst was yet to come: Valet. The wait for a car was, on average, one hour, some extended to two. Others were left at the venue even after the caterers left. What?...

Jermaine Dupri

Jermaine Dupri, also known as JD, (born September 23, 1972) , is an American record producer, rapper and Grammy winning songwriter. He is also known as Bow Wow's mentor.

Dupri discovered the child rap duo Kris Kross in 1991 at a mall in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dupri worked on various other Mariah Carey songs including My All Stay Awhile in 1998 and Always Be My Baby in 1996.

So So Def, a label specializing in Southern hip hop, R&B, and bass music, was originally distributed through Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment.

In 2002, He appeared on a special "Rap Stars" Edition of The Anne Robinson version of The Weakest Link, Being the first one voted off.

In 2003, Dupri was appointed president of Arista Black Music and moved So So Def and its artists there. In 2004, Dupri was appointed President of Urban Music at Virgin Records and moved So So Def over to Virgin. Meanwhile, Dupri also expanded his business ventures, buying into Chicago-based distillery 3 Vodka and opening his own boutique restaurant, Cafe Dupri.

In 2004 and 2005, Dupri worked with R&B singers Usher and Mariah Carey on their releases, Confessions and The Emancipation of Mimi. He also produced the songs "Burn", "Confessions, Pt. 2" and the remix featuring Kanye West, Shyne, and Twista, and "My Boo" with Usher and "It's like That", "We Belong Together", "Shake It Off", "Get Your Number", and "Don't Forget About Us" with Carey. He produced the track "Radio" for young R&B singer Jarvis, but didn't release the album because his label was in transition with the distributor. He has also produced singles with J-Kwon ("Tipsy") and Dem Franchize Boyz. In addition he has worked with St. Louis rappers, Nelly, Chingy, & St. Lunatics.

Dupri's 2005 single, "Gotta Getcha" featuring Johnta Austin, is featured on the July 2005 release Jermaine Dupri presents...Young, Fly & Flashy, Vol. 1. The album is a compilation of tracks produced by and featuring Dupri. So far, "Gotta Getcha" has peaked at #60 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The controversial music video for the song features his girlfriend, singer Janet Jackson, in an x-rated peep show club. On August 9, 2006, Dupri was listed among the top ten richest people in hip hop. He continues to work with artists including Jay-Z ("Money Ain't a Thang"), Ludacris ("Welcome to Atlanta"), and Warren G ("Havin' Thangs"). He has released Daz Dillinger's album, So So Gangsta, in 2006. It includes production by Dupri, Scott Storch, and Daz.

Dupri also worked with Jackson on her album titled 20 Y.O., released September 26, 2006, which was not as successful as much as Jackson's previous albums. The album's commercial underperformance led Dupri, who accused Virgin of improperly handling its urban releases, to leave his position at Virgin Urban Music. He became the head of Island Records' urban division instead; So So Def releases are now issued through Island Urban Music. Janet Jackson followed Dupri from Virgin to Island as well. As of March 2008, his So So Def/Island Urban roster includes himself, Jagged Edge, Johnta Austin, and Rocko.

Singer Monica's album, The Makings of Me, features production from Jermaine Dupri with the lead single "Everytime tha Beat Drop". He has also produced multiple tracks on Jay-Z's concept album American Gangster.

On October 16, 2007, : The Making of a Music Mogul, an autobiography that charts his career as a producer. The book was co-written with Samantha Marshall and released in hardcover by Simon & Schuster's Atria imprint. The New York Post reported on February 28, 2008 that Dupri proposed to Janet Jackson, and that the couple are busy planning their wedding as well as recording a handful of songs for her new album Discipline.

He was featured on Nelly's new single "Stepped On My J'z", which features himself and Ciara. The single's video debuted on June 11 on Access Granted.

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Jermaine Dupri videography

Music videos where Jermaine Dupri appears in.

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Jermaine Dupri discography

This is the discography of producer and rapper, Jermaine Dupri. See Jermaine Dupri production discography.

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The Emancipation of Mimi

The Emancipation of Mimi cover

The Emancipation of Mimi is the tenth studio album by American pop/R&B singer Mariah Carey. It was released by Island Records on April 4, 2005, and in North America on April 12, 2005 (see 2005 in music). The album focuses on several R&B-related genres, ranging from 1970s retro soul to quiet storm, gospel, and others. It received generally positive reviews and won a Grammy Award in 2006 for "Best Contemporary R&B Album". After debuting at number one with Carey's highest first-week sales during that time, it became the biggest selling album of 2005 in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Emancipation of Mimi has been certified six times platinum by the RIAA, and it is Carey's best-selling album in the U.S. since Daydream (1995). In August 2006, Def Jam reported that the album had sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

During her Charmbracelet World Tour in early 2004, Carey began to write songs for her next album. Because her previous mentor, Lyor Cohen, had left Island/Def Jam for Warner Bros. Records, Antonio "L.A." Reid replaced him. Some critics predicted a comeback, because Reid was known as a successful mentor for Pink, Avril Lavigne, and Usher. Some skeptics pointed out that Reid's comeback attempt for Whitney Houston with 2002's Just Whitney, Toni Braxton's More Than a Woman, and TLC's 3D had performed dismally on the charts.

For the first song, Carey turned to Kanye West, whom she had known for years but had never collaborated with. Her soundtrack album Glitter (2001) had featured 1980s music inappropriate for West's style, and time conflicts prevented them from working together on Charmbracelet (2002). Carey and West began to work melodic ideas for the song "Stay the Night" over an instrumental track by West that sampled Ramsey Lewis' version of The Stylistics' hit single "Betcha by Golly Wow!", and Carey discovered that the song they had written was in a complex key signature and would need a lot of vocal belting. She decided to keep the key. Carey has described the song as very "much a vocal performance ... but it's organic to the song and to the nature of the feeling we were going for. It's kind of like giving you an old-schoolish, Jackson 5-type vibe, so I was happy with that".

For years Carey had known and wanted to work with The Neptunes (Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams), a production duo who allow artists to co-write with them but not to co-produce; they believe they have a unique balance of production that is disturbed by others. Carey reluctantly decided to give up her production rights for the first time in fourteen years, and one of the songs spawned from this partnership was "Say Somethin'". When at the recording studio, Carey discovered that rapper Snoop Dogg (who had previously collaborated with Carey on her 2000 single "Crybaby") was working in the next room, and she invited him to rap/sing on the record. "Say Somethin'" was originally slated to be one of the first singles from the album, but Carey did not feel comfortable with its release, often describing the song as "very Pharrell". But she maintained that its composition was "just a really cool experience ... he took me to a different place that I wouldn't naturally go but I could go". Carey and The Neptunes also created "To the Floor", which features rapper Nelly; according to Carey, he was in a recording studio next to her and came over to record vocals for it. The song leaked onto the internet under the name "Tonight".

Carey had worked regularly with writing partners Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (a.k.a. Flyte Time) since her seventh studio album, Rainbow (1999). Despite the fact that the sales of the Carey albums to which they had contributed had been lower than those of her previous albums, she wanted to work with them again. Because no time could be arranged for the three to meet, they sent their junior partner, Big Jim Wright, to work with Carey. Wright had co-produced and co-written a few songs on Carey's previous albums with Jam and Lewis, but this was the first time he was her main creative partner. Although Carey had previously worked with live instruments before, she had never explored their use. With Wright, she decided to create a song using no synthesizers, but instead with live instruments and background vocals that gave, in her words, "an old-school type vibe ... that organic kind of feel, like basically we were going for a somewhat retro, urban record that wasn't overly produced". As with that song (which was titled "Circles"), Carey recorded the track "I Wish You Knew" with live instruments, but sung off riffs of live guitars and other instruments. A "live" audience and spoken section was added to the song because Carey, who felt that the track was very similar to "Circles", wanted to evoke "old-school kind of Diana Ross moments, of like a live concert where she'll just break down a song and start talking".

Before Carey and Wright called it a night, Carey devised the main melody and lyrics of the chorus of the gospel-influenced "Fly like a Bird", and Wright laid down the song's chord structure. Carey, who asked her pastor, Clarence Keaton, to speak on the track, named the song as her favourite from the album. She believed that the song's spiritual message was "really important to include on the album", and chose it as the album's closing track because she felt "it kind of leaves you on a spiritual high moment".

With some tracks finished, Carey decided to visit rapper N.O.R.E. at a recording studio, where his relatively unknown producer Scram Jones was present. Jones, aware of Carey's pursuit of "hot beats", got together with her for " I Should Be Your Girl", which uses an excerpt of New Zealand's R&B duo Adeaze's song "A Life with You" (providing the background ostinato vocals). Because Jones is N.O.R.E's producer, the original version of "Your Girl" featured a rap by N.O.R.E. Carey characterised the song as "one of those happy, uptempo records but it's still giving you kind of, very thugged out moments cause that's kinda, Scram Jones' thing", adding that "most of my friends who are singers really love ".

As she had done with Wright, Carey wanted to explore music with R&B roots that were organic, yet soulful. She exchanged riffs with songwriter and producer James Poyser at the piano until "Mine Again" was created. Carey declared the song "the power ballad of this record ... it's a very big vocal moment, a big vocal performance ... one of those kind of like, break your heart songs, make you get together with your ex". When recording the song "One and Only" with The Legendary Traxster, Carey discovered that it was originally used as a "practice track" from rapper Twista, and she invited Twista himself to rap/sing on the song. Carey said the song "happened to be in that kind of fast singing rhythmic style just naturally because that's kind of where the beat was taking me", and commented "I was so happy that 's on it because I'm a really big fan of his. I think his style is amazing." Carey collaborated with producer Swizz Beatz, who had worked with her on rapper Jay-Z's song "Things That U Do" (on which Carey had been a featured artist), on "Secret Love". The song did not make the original album cut, but has been released as a bonus track in Japan.

With two songs co-written and co-produced with Dupri and her album nearly complete, Carey was satisfied with her output. Though "Say Somethin'" had been selected as the album's first single, Antonio Reid sent Carey back to Atlanta. The club scene of the city inspired "It's like That", and Carey said "I just wanted a record that was really fun, really like for the clubs and just for the people who were getting ready to go out at night; one of those really let-your-hair-down, just have a good time, this is my night type of thing". Carey was criticised for the song's references to alcohol and drugs, but she maintained that they were mere jokes. The song's hook, "it's like that y'all", is borrowed from a 1984 Run-D.M.C. track, "It's like That" (from their debut album, Run-D.M.C.), showing the influence of old school hip hop on Carey's 2005 sound. Two songs were written on Carey's second journey back to Atlanta, the second being "We Belong Together". Carey, who has described the song as "'One Sweet Day' meets 'Breakdown'", felt it was "a really heartfelt ballad that I think people can really relate to, even though it's like a very specific story, I think that everybody can probably apply it to their own lives." They also worked on the second single "We Belong Together", which has been named the most difficult song to perform live and Mariah said that it is probably her favourite song she has ever recorded.

Carey worked with the experienced, but relatively low profile, producer and writer Mahogany on two tracks. The first, "Sprung", uses robotic voices and "chipmunk" vocals and was left off the U.S. version of the album, but is a bonus track elsewhere. "Sprung" was later included on a separate disc in a Target Stores exclusive version of the album's re-release. "When I Feel It", the second song, was originally announced as track thirteen on the album, but Carey and her record company were denied clearance for a sample used in the song. With only weeks before the album was to be released, Carey did not have time to re-record the song properly without the sample, and she had no choice but to exclude it. In July 2007, the entire track under the name "I Feel It" leaked onto the Internet.

Carey has great respect for other singer/songwriter/producers such as R. Kelly, and she contacted Kelly to co-write and co-produce songs with her. The two of them bounced around some ideas, but after a while they realized that they were incompatible, and no work came of their sessions together.

Overall, the album has fewer songs with rappers than some of Carey's previous albums: it only features four, of whom three sing (not rap) most of their parts. Many of the songs had rap sections cut; for example, N.O.R.E was supposed to be featured on "Your Girl", and Ludacris on "Stay the Night". Carey uses non-synthesized instruments more than before; although she had previously experimented with them on songs such as "Subtle Invitation", the single version of "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" and the international bonus track "There Goes My Heart" (all from Charmbracelet), this is the first time they are so prominent on a studio album.

The packaging and design of some of Carey's previous albums such as Rainbow, in which she can be seen jumping in her underwear and lying in a bed in an erotic fashion, had led some critics to label her a promiscuous woman. In contrast, the design for the Charmbracelet album did not show Carey's figure at all. For The Emancipation of Mimi, Carey contacted the studio of Markus Klinko and Indrani, intending the album's artwork to retain her sex appeal but present a more mature image. Fashion stylist GK Reid styled her album covers and artwork. Her dress for both editions was made by As Four, a well-known group of fashion designers located in New York City.

At a fan meet-and-greet before the album's release, one fan commented that Carey, whose skin appeared darker than normal on its cover, looked like fellow R&B singer Beyoncé Knowles on the cover. Carey did not want the public to think that she was trying to copy Knowles, and a limited edition digipak of the album was ordered. For its cover, an image of Carey from the original album photoshoot was used, but more close up than the previous cover, and with her natural skin color. The digipak also used a new style of pressing to give the physical case a unique glare. Unlike the original album (with a booklet insert), the digipak's insert is a poster showing the original album cover.

Although the re-release of the album was originally supposed to be a DualDisc, that was cancelled and it was re-released in the United States on November 15, 2005 in two non DualDisc formats: one with four bonus tracks not on the original release, and the other with these and also a bonus DVD. The latter is a limited edition release. The formal name of the re-release is The Emancipation of Mimi: Ultra Platinum Edition.

The re-release includes three new songs: "Don't Forget About Us", produced by Jermaine Dupri; "Makin' It Last All Night (What It Do)" also produced and featuring Dupri; and "So Lonely (One & Only Part II)", a duet with Twista produced by Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins. Although "So Lonely" was first released on Twista's 2005 album, The Day After, the version of the song on The Emancipation of Mimi features an additional verse written by Carey. The re-release contains the DJ Clue-produced remix of "We Belong Together" that features Styles P. and Jadakiss. Although the remix was released on iTunes (and later removed), it had never been retailed in the U.S. as a CD.

Jermaine Dupri had announced that a charity single he had been producing to help victims of Hurricane Katrina would be included on the re-release. The remix of "Shake It Off" featuring Jay-Z, Young Jeezy, and Juelz Santana, which is only available on iTunes and Rhapsody, was also initially reported to be on the album. The official reasons for the exclusion of the two songs were not made public. Reportedly, Carey wanted to include more than three new tracks on the album, but Billboard magazine's rules limit the number of new songs on re-releases to three (the re-release would chart as a separate entry on the Billboard 200 if more were included).

The re-release also includes the music videos for the album's then-released singles: "It's like That", "We Belong Together", "Shake It Off", and "Get Your Number". The "Get Your Number" video was previously unreleased in North America. Although Carey wanted to include the "Don't Forget About Us" video on the DVD as well, time constraints in production and mastering of the DVD prevented this. However, a link was included on the DVD-ROM portion of the DVD to access the music video. An exclusive interview entitled "Mariah in Her Own Words" can also be accessed through a link on the DVD.

The failure of Carey's previous two albums, Glitter (2001) and Charmbracelet (2002), had been partly attributed to inadequate promotional tours. With this in mind, Carey changed her personal manager to Benny Medina and hired Marvet Britto as her new publicist. Whereas the campaign for her previous studio album concentrated on her alleged nervous breakdown, the marketing for The Emancipation of Mimi attempted to arouse curiosity about the album's title. Carey said that the word Emancipation referred to the freedom from her ex-husband, Tommy Mottola; this contrasted with the promotion for her three previous studio albums since her divorce, because she had never previously spoken in great detail about it (a gag order had prevented her from talking about the marriage for a few years). Carey explained that "Mimi" is a nickname previously used only by close friends and relatives, adding that she wanted the title of the album to be "representative of where I'm at as an artist.... This is the fun side, the real me, and not the image and the baggage that comes with the whole 'Mariah Carey' thing". On the radio show The Wendy Williams Experience, her former best friend Brenda K. Starr said that "Mimi" was a fake nickname and that Carey was surrounded by "phonies".

Promotion for the album began outside North America, during which she performed "It's like That" on several European television programmes, including the UK's Top of the Pops. Then, she started promotion in Japan, including performances on Music Station and MTV, and another performance at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan. Later, she made guest appearances on U.S. radio and television shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Wendy Williams Experience. U.S. promotion of the album intensified in the run-up to its release, and included a performance on VH1's Save the Music Concert, as well as a high-profile mini-concert on the daytime television show Good Morning America, for which part of Times Square in New York City was closed off. On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Carey gained additional publicity because of the lesbian undertones expressed by host Ellen DeGeneres. She surprised viewers when she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, having once vowed never again to go on the show after Leno joked about her personal and professional struggles. Carey performed in the UK at Live 8 on July 2, 2005, after which sales of "We Belong Together" and the album increased. A wardrobe malfunction during a concert in Germany generated further publicity for Carey and the album.

At the time of its release, The Emancipation of Mimi became one of Carey's best-received album in years. Critics had tended to agree that her albums Glitter and Charmbracelet were generally uninspired, and hailed The Emancipation of Mimi as a return to form. The Guardian's writer Caroline Sullivan said that songs on this album were "the first Mariah Carey tunes in years I wouldn't have to be paid to listen to again" and praised it as "mostly — cool, focused and urban".

The album was ranked number nine on Billboard magazine's 2005 "Critics' & Artists' Choice" list. On Amazon.com's Top 100 Editor's Picks of 2005 it was placed at number sixty-one, and Tammy La Gorce, an editor for the website, wrote that the " Emancipation works the kind of pure-pop magic that sets us all free." Rolling Stone magazine ranked it forty-third on its 2005 year-end list of the best albums. Entertainment Weekly ranked it twenty-one on their "Top 100 Best Albums of the past 25 years" list.

On Metacritic, The Emancipation of Mimi received a combined score of 64/100, indicating generally positive reviews.

In its first week of release The Emancipation of Mimi sold 404,000 copies in the U.S., the second highest first-week sales of Carey's career, behind E=MC² in 2008. It debuted at number-one on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart, becoming Carey's fifth number-one album and her third album to debut at number one. Week-to-week decreases in sales of the album were, for the most part, small. It remained inside the top five for twenty-two consecutive weeks including another week at number one achieved after seven weeks off the top spot. The album remained inside the top twenty during thirty-one consecutive weeks, before it returned to the top five after the release of the Ultra Platinum Edition, which helped the album reaching number four with weekly sales of 185,000. It was at number one on Billboard magazine's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for five weeks.

In 2005 Carey's album was the best-selling album in the U.S. with nearly five million units sold. In the last full week of the year the album outsold 50 Cent's The Massacre, which was released six weeks before The Emancipation of Mimi. It was the first album by a solo female artist to become the year's best-selling album since Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill in 1996. It is Carey's most successful album in the U.S. since Daydream (1995), which shipped ten million copies (receiving an RIAA diamond certification), and is the fourth best-selling album by Carey in the U.S. after Daydream (1995), Music Box (1993) and Mariah Carey (1990). The album was certified six times platinum by the RIAA and according to Billboard, 5.8 million copies had been sold by May 2007.

The Emancipation of Mimi reached number two in Canada, where it was certified three times platinum for sales in excess of 300,000. She received two times platinum certifications in UK, where it charted on number seven and finished as the 35th best selling album in 2005, and in Hong Kong. Additionally the album was certified Platinum in Japan, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand and in New Zealand, peaking on number twelve there, and Gold in Brazil, Germany, France and in Italy. Eight months after its release, the album reached the one million mark in Europe and was certified with an IFPI Platinum Europe Award. At the end of 2005, the IFPI reported that Carey's album had sold more than 7.7 million copies globally and was the second best-selling album of the year after Coldplay's X&Y and the best-selling album worldwide by a female artist. The album has shipped 10 million copies worldwide by the end of 2006, according to Island Records.

1 Tracks also appear on Japan version of "Ultra Platinum Deluxe Edition".

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Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson featured on the cover of Rolling Stone with the hands of her then-unknown husband René Elizondo Jr. cupping her breasts

Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American recording artist and actress. Born in Gary, Indiana and raised in Encino, Los Angeles, California, she is the youngest child of the Jackson family of musicians. She first performed on stage with her family beginning at the age of seven, and later started her career as an actress with the variety television series The Jacksons in 1976. She went on to star in other television shows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including Good Times and Diff'rent Strokes.

At age sixteen in 1982, Jackson signed a recording contract with A&M, releasing her self-titled debut album the same year. She faced criticism for her limited vocal range, and for being yet another member of the Jackson family to become a recording artist. Beginning with her third studio album Control (1986), Jackson began a long-term collaboration with record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Her music with Jam and Lewis incorporated contemporary R&B with elements of rap music, sample loop, triple swing and industrial beats, which led to crossover appeal in popular music. In addition to receiving recognition for the innovation in her albums, choreography, music videos, and prominence on MTV, Jackson was acknowledged as a role model for her socially conscious lyrics.

In 1991, she signed the first of two record-breaking, multi-million dollar recording contracts with Virgin Records, which established her as one of the highest paid artists in the music industry. Her debut album under the Virgin label, janet. (1993), saw Jackson develop a public image as a sex symbol as she began to explore sexuality in her work. That same year, she appeared in her first starring film role in Poetic Justice; since then she has continued to act in feature films. By the end of the decade, Jackson was named the second most successful recording artist of the 1990s. All for You (2001), became her fifth consecutive studio album to debut at number one the Billboard 200 album charts. In 2007, she changed labels, signing with the Island Def Jam Music Group and released her tenth studio album Discipline the following year.

Jackson is ranked by Billboard magazine as one of the top ten best-selling music artists in the history of contemporary music, having sold over 100 million albums worldwide. The Recording Industry Association of America lists her as the eleventh best-selling female artist in the United States, with 26 million certified albums. Jackson's longevity in the recording industry has rivaled that of several entertainers and her musical style and choreography have influenced a number of contemporary pop and R&B artists.

In 1974, at the age of seven, Jackson appeared on stage in Las Vegas, Nevada with her siblings in a routine show at the MGM Casino. Jane Cornwell documented in her biography of the singer, Janet Jackson (2002), that at age eight Joseph Jackson told Janet not to call him "Dad" anymore since he was her manager; he told her she would henceforth address him as "Joseph". She began her career as an actress with the debut of the CBS variety show The Jacksons (1976), in which she appeared with her siblings Tito, Rebbie, Randy, Michael, Marlon, La Toya and Jackie. In 1977, Jackson was selected by producer Norman Lear to play a recurring role as Penny Gordon Woods in the sitcom Good Times. From 1979 to 1980, Jackson starred in A New Kind of Family as Jojo Ashton, and then joined the cast of Diff'rent Strokes, portraying Charlene Duprey from 1981 to 1982. She played a recurring role during the fourth season of the television series Fame as Cleo Hewitt, though she later commented that the series was not a project she enjoyed working on.

Although Jackson was initially apprehensive about starting a music career, she agreed to participate in recording sessions with her family. The first of these, a duet with her brother Randy titled "Love Song for Kids", took place in 1978. When Jackson was sixteen, her father arranged a contract for her with A&M Records. Her debut album, Janet Jackson, produced by soul singers Angela Winbush, René Moore and Leon F. Sylvers III, was released in 1982, the entire production of which was overseen by her father Joseph. It peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot R&B albums chart.

Jackson's second album, Dream Street, was released two years later. Her father recruited her brothers to help produce the album: Marlon co-wrote two of the album's tracks, while Tito, Jackie and Michael provided background vocals. Dream Street reached number nineteen on the R&B albums chart; its sales were less than that of Jackson's debut album. The album's only hit, "Don't Stand Another Chance", peaked at number nine on Billboard's R&B singles chart. In late 1984, Jackson eloped with childhood friend and fellow R&B singer James DeBarge. They divorced shortly afterwards, and the marriage was annulled in mid-1985.

Control was certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and has sold over ten million copies worldwide. Billboard credited it as being the fifth best-selling album of 1986 in the United States. It won four American Music Awards, from twelve nominations—a record that has yet to be broken—and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1987 Grammy Awards. Richard J. Ripani Ph.D., author of The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm & Blues, 1950-1999 (2006), observed that the album was one of the first successful records to influence the rise of new jack swing, incorporating R&B, funk, jazz, soul and various production techniques which emerged in the late-1980s. The success of Control, according to Ripani, bridged the gap between R&B and rap music.

In September 1989, Jackson released her fourth album, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. Though executives at A&M wanted an album similar to Control, Jackson was unwilling to compromise her artistic integrity, and was determined to imbue her music with a socially conscious message that complimented her songs about love and relationships. Jackson stated, "I'm not naive—I know an album or a song can't change the world. I just want my music and my dance to catch the audience's attention, and to hold it long enough for them to listen to the lyrics and what we're saying." Producer Jimmy Jam told The Boston Globe, "We would always have a TV turned on, usually to CNN ... And I think the social slant of songs like Rhythm Nation, State of the World and The Knowledge came from that." Rolling Stone magazine's Vince Aletti observed Jackson shifted from "personal freedom to more universal concerns—injustice, illiteracy, crime, drugs—without missing a beat." Richard J. Ripani observed that the album, much like its predecessor, contained heavy styling of new jack swing; the use of sample loop, triple swing, rap vocals and blues notes are present in the album's title-track "Rhythm Nation".

The Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour, Jackson's first world tour in support of a studio album, aimed to recreate the "award–winning, visually innovative" music videos of Rhythm Nation 1814 and Control, and was described as "an elaborately choreographed spectacle" by Entertainment Weekly. As Jackson began her tour, she was acknowledged for the cultural impact of her music. Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote "the 23-year-old has been making smash hit records for four years, becoming a fixture on MTV and a major role model to teenage girls across the country", and William Allen, then-executive vice president of the United Negro College Fund, told the Los Angeles Times, "Jackson is a role model for all young people to emulate and the message she has gotten to the young people of this country through the lyrics of 'Rhythm Nation 1814' is having positive effects." With an attendance of more than two million patrons, the Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour remains the most successful debut tour by any recording artist. Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues and Knowledge (2000) documented that Jackson's success during this time period placed her on par with several other recording artists, including her older brother Michael Jackson, Madonna and Tina Turner.

With the release of Rhythm Nation 1814, Jackson fulfilled her contract with A&M Records. In 1991, after being approached personally by Virgin Records owner Richard Branson, she signed a highly publicized multi-million dollar contract with the label. The contract value was estimated between $32–50 million, and she became the highest paid female recording artist in contemporary music. That same year, Jackson secretly entered into her second marriage with long-term friend—dancer, songwriter and director René Elizondo, Jr. In May 1992, Jackson recorded a song entitled "The Best Things in Life Are Free" with Luther Vandross, featuring Bell Biv Devoe and Ralph Tresvant, for the Mo' Money film soundtrack.

In May 1993, Jackson's fifth studio album entitled janet. (pronounced "Janet, period."), was released by Virgin Records and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Jackson commented, "... ertain people feel I'm just riding on my last name ... That's why I just put my first name on janet. and why I never asked my brothers to write or produce music for me." The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) commented that the album's number one hit single "That's the Way Love Goes"—winner of the 1994 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song—and the top 10 singles "If", "Because of Love", "You Want This", and "Any Time, Any Place", all contained "grown-up desires". Rolling Stone wrote: "As princess of America's black royal family, everything Janet Jackson does is important. Whether proclaiming herself in charge of her life, as she did on Control (1986), or commander in chief of a rhythm army dancing to fight society's problems (Rhythm Nation 1814, from 1989), she's influential. And when she announces her sexual maturity, as she does on her new album, Janet., it's a cultural moment." Robert Johnson of San Antonio Express-News wrote that the album ranges from "dreamy and sensual" to "downright erotic", and although " isn't perfect ... it should be enough to make her the Queen of Pop." Conversely, David Browne of Entertainment Weekly gave it a moderate rating, asserting "her wispy voice is often smothered by her two male producers", and regarded janet. as a "blatant rip-off of the club-beat style of Madonna's Erotica." janet. was later certified six times platinum by the RIAA, with worldwide sales exceeding ten million copies.

In July 1993, Jackson made her film debut in Poetic Justice. Rolling Stone described Jackson's performance as "a beguiling film debut" despite her inexperience, while The Washington Post considered her "believably eccentric". Jackson's ballad "Again" was featured on the film's soundtrack, and garnered a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

In September 1993, Jackson appeared topless on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with the hands of her then-husband René Elizondo, Jr. covering her breasts. The photograph is the original full-length version of the cropped image used on the cover of the janet. album, shot by Patrick Demarchelier. Sonia Murray of The Vancouver Sun later reported, "Jackson, 27, remains clearly established as both role model and sex symbol; the Rolling Stone photo of Jackson ... became one of the most recognizable, and most lampooned, magazine covers of the year." In the cover story, "Sexual Healing" by David Ritz, Jackson explained, "... sex has been an important part of me for several years. But it just hasn't blossomed publicly until now. I've had to go through some changes and shed some old attitudes before feeling completely comfortable with my body. Listening to my new record, people intuitively understand the change in me." Ritz likened Jackson's transformation to Marvin Gaye as he stated, "ust as Gaye moved from What's Going On to Let's Get It On, from the austere to the ecstatic, Janet, every bit as serious-minded as Marvin, moved from Rhythm Nation to janet., her statement of sexual liberation." Jackson's second world tour—the janet. Tour—garnered critical acclaim as Michael Snyder of the San Francisco Chronicle described Jackson's stage performance as erasing the line between "stadium-size pop music concerts and full-scale theatrical extravaganzas", and Steve Pick of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observed Jackson's show made the janet. album's numerous hit singles more effective with her "larger-than-life stage persona".

During this time period, Jackson's brother Michael Jackson was immersed in a child sex abuse scandal, of which he denied any wrongdoing. Jackson gave moral support to her brother, and denied allegations made by her sister La Toya Jackson in her book La Toya: Growing up in the Jackson Family (1991) that their parents had abused her and her siblings as children. In an interview with Lynn Norment of Ebony, Jackson commented on her sister's then-estrangement from the family, stating, "her has ... brainwashed her so much she keeps herself away from us." Norment reported during the recording of janet., "LaToya suddenly showed up and created a scene at the Minneapolis recording studio", despite the fact that " sister had ignored her calls for four years prior to that." In addition, Jackson criticized her brother Jermaine Jackson for attacking Michael in his 1991 single "Word To The Badd". She later collaborated with her brother Michael on "Scream", the lead single from his 1995 album HIStory, which was written by both siblings as a response to the media scrutiny he suffered from being accused of child sexual abuse. The song debuted at number five on the Hot 100 singles chart, becoming the first song ever to debut in the top 5. Scream is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the "Most Expensive Music Video Ever Made" at a cost of $7 million. Jackson and her brother won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video for Scream.

In October 1995, Jackson's first compilation album, Design of a Decade 1986/1996, was released via A&M Records and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. The lead single "Runaway" peaked at number three on the Hot 100. Design of a Decade 1986/1996 was certified two times platinum by the RIAA and sold over four million copies worldwide. In January 1996, Jackson renewed her contract with Virgin Records for a reported $80 million dollars. The contract established her as the then-highest paid recording artist in contemporary music, surpassing the recording industry's then-unparalleled $60 million dollar contracts earned by her brother, Michael Jackson and Madonna.

Released in October 1997, The Velvet Rope debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and the RIAA later certified the album three times platinum. In August 1997 the album's lead single, "Got 'Til It's Gone", was released to radio, peaking at number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay. The single sampled the Joni Mitchell song "Big Yellow Taxi", and featured a cameo appearance by rapper Q-Tip. Got 'Til It's Gone won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video. The album's second single "Together Again", became Jackson's eighth number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and placing her on par with Elton John, Diana Ross, and The Rolling Stones. The single spent a record 46 weeks on the Hot 100, as well as spending 19 weeks on the UK singles chart. "I Get Lonely" peaked at number three on the Hot 100.

Jackson donated a portion of the proceeds earned from "Together Again" to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph observed, " even makes a bid for gay icon status, delivering a diva-ish performance reminiscent of Diana Ross on 'Together Again' (a post-Aids pop song), singing a paean to homosexuality on the jazzy 'Free Xone' and climaxing (if that's the right word) with a bizarre lesbian reinterpretation of Rod Stewart's 'Tonight's the Night'." Rolling Stone regarded "Free Xone" as the album's "best song", describing it as an "anti-homophobia track shifts moods and tempos on a dime, segueing from a Prince-like jam to a masterful sample from Archie Bell and the Drells' 'Tighten Up'." The Velvet Rope was honored by the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, and received the award for Outstanding Music Album at the 9th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

In 1998, Jackson began the The Velvet Rope Tour, an international trek that included Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. Robert Hilburn of the The Los Angeles Times reported, "here is so much of the ambition and glamour of a Broadway musical in Janet Jackson's new Velvet Rope tour that it's only fitting that the concert program credits her as the show's 'creator and director'." Jackson's HBO special, The Velvet Rope: Live in Madison Square Garden, was watched by more than fifteen million viewers. The two hour concert beat the ratings of all four major networks in homes that were subscribed to HBO. The following month, Jackson separated from Elizondo Jr. As her world tour came to a close in 1999, Jackson lent guest vocals to a number of songs by other artists, including Shaggy's "Luv Me, Luv Me", for the soundtrack to How Stella Got Her Groove Back, "God's Stepchild" from the Down on the Delta soundtrack, "Girlfriend/Boyfriend" with BLACKstreet, and "What's It Gonna Be?!" with Busta Rhymes. Jackson also performed a duet with Elton John for the song "I Know the Truth". At the 1999 World Music Awards, Jackson received the Legend Award alongside Cher for "lifelong contribution to the music industry and outstanding contribution to the pop industry." As 1999 ended, Billboard magazine ranked Jackson as the second most successful artist of the decade, behind Mariah Carey.

In July 2000, Jackson appeared in her second film, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, as Professor Denise Gaines, opposite Eddie Murphy. The film became Jackson's second to open at number one at the box office, grossing an estimated $42.7 million dollars in its opening weekend. Her contribution to the film's soundtrack, "Doesn't Really Matter", became her ninth number one Billboard Hot 100 single. In the same year, Jackson's husband filed for divorce. Jeff Gordinier of Entertainment Weekly reported that for eight of the thirteen years Jackson and Elizondo had known one another, " were married—a fact they managed to hide not only from the international press but from Jackson's own father." Elizondo filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Jackson, estimated between $10–25 million; they did not reach a settlement until 2003.

The album's title-track, "All for You", debuted on the Hot 100 at number fourteen, the highest debut ever for a single that was not commercially available. Teri VanHorn of MTV dubbed Jackson "Queen of Radio" as the single made radio airplay history, " added to every pop, rhythmic and urban radio station that reports to the national trade magazine Radio & Records" in its first week. The single peaked at number one, where it topped the Hot 100 for seven weeks. Jackson received the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for "All for You". The second single, "Someone to Call My Lover", which contained a heavy guitar loop of America's "Ventura Highway", peaked at number three on the Hot 100. All For You sold more than four million copies worldwide, and was certified double platinum by the RIAA.

In 2002, Jackson collaborated with reggae singer Beenie Man on the song "Feel It Boy". Jackson later admitted regret over the collaboration after discovering Beenie Man's music often contained homophobic lyrics, and she issued an apology to her gay following in an article contained in The Voice. Jackson also began her relationship with record producer Jermaine Dupri that same year.

For the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in February 2004, Jackson performed a medley of her singles "All for You" and "Rhythm Nation"; she then performed alongside Justin Timberlake. As Timberlake sang the lyric "gonna have you naked by the end of this song" from his single "Rock Your Body", he tore open Jackson's top, exposing her right breast. After the performance, Jackson apologized, calling it an accident, and said that Timberlake was supposed to pull away the bustier and leave the red-lace bra intact. She further commented, "I am really sorry if I offended anyone. That was truly not my intention ... MTV, CBS, the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever, and unfortunately, the whole thing went wrong in the end." Timberlake also issued an apology, calling the accident a "wardrobe malfunction". Time magazine reported that the incident became the most replayed moment in TiVo history and Monte Burke of Forbes magazine reported "he fleeting moment enticed an estimated 35,000 new subscribers to sign up." Jackson was later listed in the 2007 edition of Guinness World Records as "Most Searched in Internet History" and the "Most Searched for News Item". CBS, the NFL, and MTV (CBS's sister network, which produced the halftime show), denied any knowledge of, and all responsibility for, the incident. Still, the Federal Communications Commission continued an investigation, ultimately losing its appeal for a $550,000 fine against CBS.

As a result of the incident, CBS would only allow Jackson and Timberlake to appear during the 46th Grammy Awards ceremony if they each made a public apology to the network, without attributing the incident to a "wardrobe malfunction". Timberlake issued an apology, but Jackson refused. Jermaine Dupri resigned from his position on the Grammy Awards committee as a result. The controversy halted plans for Jackson to star in a made-for-TV biopic on the life on singer Lena Horne for ABC-TV. Though Horne was reportedly displeased by the Super Bowl incident and insisted that ABC pull Jackson from the project, according to Jackson's representatives, she withdrew from the project willingly.

Jackson appeared as a host of Saturday Night Live on April 10, 2004, where she performed a skit that parodied the Super Bowl incident. She also appeared in the television sitcom Will & Grace playing herself, interacting with sitcom characters Karen Walker and Jack McFarland as Jack was auditioning to be one of her back-up dancers. By the end of 2004, Damita Jo had sold 942,000 copies in the United States and was later certified platinum by the RIAA. Although the album debuted at number two, its three singles all failed to become top 40 hits. Keith Caulfield of Billboard commented, "or a singles artist like Jackson, who has racked up 27 top 10 Hot 100 singles in her career, including 10 No. 1s, this could probably be considered a disappointment." Billboard's Clover Hope reported Damita Jo "was largely overshadowed by the Super Bowl fiasco" and that Jermaine Dupri, the then-president of the urban music department at Virgin Records, expressed "sentiments of nonsupport" from the company.

In November 2004, Jackson was honored as an African-American role model by 100 Black Men of America, Inc., who presented her with the "organization's Artistic Achievement Award saluting 'a career that has gone from success to greater success'." Though the New York Amsterdam News reported "here were a number of attendees who expressed dismay over presenting an award to the 38-year-old performer" due to the Super Bowl incident, the organization's President Paul Williams responded, "n individual's worth can't be judged by a single moment in that person's life." In June 2005, Jackson was honored with a Humanitarian Award by the Human Rights Campaign and AIDS Project Los Angeles, in recognition of her work and involvement in raising money for AIDS charities.

Rolling Stone magazine's Evan Serpick remarked "he title of Janet Jackson's latest album refers to the two decades since she released her breakthrough, Control, with hits like 'Nasty' and 'What Have You Done for Me Lately.' If we were her, we wouldn't make the comparison." However, Glenn Gamboa of Newsday gave the album a positive rating, stating that "n '20 Y.O.' she skips all that drama of breaking free and asserting herself. She also keeps most of the tie-me-up, tie-me-down sexual raunch of her recent albums in the closet. This album is all about dancing and returning to her R&B roots." The album's lead single "Call on Me," a duet with rapper Nelly, peaked at number twenty-five on the Hot 100. 20 Y.O. was certified platinum by the RIAA. Billboard magazine reported the release of 20 Y.O. satisfied Jackson's contract with Virgin Records; Jermaine Dupri, who co-produced 20 Y.O., left his position as head of urban music at Virgin following the "disappointing performance" of Jackson's album.

In January 2007, Jackson was ranked the seventh richest woman in the entertainment business by Forbes magazine, having amassed a fortune of over $150 million. Later that year, Jackson starred opposite Tyler Perry as a psychotherapist named Patrica in the feature film Why Did I Get Married? The film opened at number one at the box office, grossing $21.4 million in its first week. Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe commented that Jackson portrayed her character with "soft authority". In February 2008, Jackson won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role.

Jackson has a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Rolling Stone magazine observed, "er wispy voice was a pale echo of Michael's, but on Janet's albums—and in her videos and live performances, which revealed a crisp, athletic dance technique not unlike her brother's—singing wasn't the point", instead commenting that importance was instead placed on "er slamming beats, infectious hooks, and impeccable production values." Jackson's voice has also been praised on occasion. Eric Henderson of Slant claimed critics who judged Jackson harshly for her thin voice "somehow missed the explosive 'gimme a beat' vocal pyrotechnics she unleashes all over 'Nasty' ... Or that they completely dismissed how perfect her tremulous hesitance fits into the abstinence anthem 'Let's Wait Awhile'." David Ritz of Rolling Stone compared Jackson's musical style to that of Marvin Gaye, stating, "ike Marvin, autobiography seemed the sole source of her music. Her art, also like Marvin's, floated over a reservoir of secret pain." Jackson has credited her older brothers Michael and Jermaine as her primary musical influences. Other artists attributed as influences on Jackson's music according to Rolling Stone are The Ronettes, Dionne Warwick, Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross.

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Mariah Carey

Carey at The Tribeca Film festival in 2008

Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and became the first recording artist to have her first five singles top the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Following her marriage to Mottola in 1993, a series of hit records established her position as Columbia's highest-selling act. According to Billboard magazine, she was the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States.

Following her separation from Mottola in 1997, Carey introduced elements of hip hop into her album work, to much initial success, but her popularity was in decline when she left Columbia in 2001, and she was dropped by Virgin Records the following year after a highly publicized physical and emotional breakdown, as well as the poor reception given to Glitter, her film and soundtrack project. In 2002, Carey signed with Island Records, and after a relatively unsuccessful period, she returned to the top of pop music in 2005.

Carey was named the best-selling female pop artist of the millennium at the 2000 World Music Awards. She has the most number-one singles for a solo artist in the United States (eighteen; second artist overall behind The Beatles), where, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, she is one of the best-selling female artists and sixteenth overall recording artist. In addition to her commercial accomplishments, Carey has earned five Grammy Awards, and is well-known for her vocal range, power, melismatic style, and use of the whistle register. To date, Mariah Carey has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.

Mariah Carey was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York. She is the third and youngest child of Patricia (née Hickey), a former opera singer and vocal coach of Irish descent, and Alfred Roy Carey, an aeronautical engineer of Afro-Venezuelan descent. Carey was named after the song "They Call the Wind Mariah". Carey's parents divorced when she was three years old. While living in Huntington, racist neighbors allegedly poisoned the family dog and set fire to her family's car. After her parents' divorce, Carey had little contact with her father, and her mother worked several jobs to support the family. Carey spent much of her time at home alone and turned to music to occupy herself. She began singing at around the age of three, when her mother began to teach her after Carey imitated her mother practicing Verdi's opera Rigoletto in Italian.

Carey graduated from Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, New York. She was frequently absent because of her work as a demo singer for local recording studios; her classmates consequently gave her the nickname "Mirage." Her work in the Long Island music scene gave her opportunities to work with musicians such as Gavin Christopher and Ben Margulies, with whom she co-wrote material for her demo tape. After moving to New York City, Carey worked part-time jobs to pay the rent, and she completed 500 hours of beauty school. Eventually, she became a backup singer for Puerto Rican freestyle singer Brenda K. Starr.

In 1988, Carey met Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola at a party, where Starr gave him Carey's demo tape. Mottola played the tape when leaving the party and was impressed. He returned to find Carey, but she had left. Nevertheless, Mottola tracked her down and signed her to a recording contract. This Cinderella-like story became part of the standard publicity surrounding Carey's entrance into the industry.

Carey co-wrote the tracks on her 1990 debut album Mariah Carey, and she has continued to co-write the majority of her material since. During the recording, she expressed dissatisfaction with the contributions of producers such as Ric Wake and Rhett Lawrence, whom the executives at Columbia had enlisted to help make the album more commercially viable. Backed by a substantial promotional budget, the album reached number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, where it remained for several weeks. It yielded four number-one singles, and made Carey a star in the United States, but it was less successful in other countries. Critics rated the album highly, and Carey won Grammys for Best New Artist, and—for her debut single, "Vision of Love"—Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Although Carey performed live occasionally, stage fright prevented her from embarking on a major tour. Her first widely seen appearance was featured on the television show MTV Unplugged in 1992, and she remarked that she felt her performance that night proved her vocal abilities were not, as some had previously speculated, simulated with studio equipment. Alongside acoustic versions of some of her earlier songs, Carey premiered a cover of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" with her back-up singer Trey Lorenz. The duet was released as a single, reached number one in the U.S., and led to a record deal for Lorenz, whose debut album Carey later co-produced. Because of high ratings for the Unplugged television special, the concert's set list was released on the EP MTV Unplugged, which Entertainment Weekly called "the strongest, most genuinely musical record she has ever made Did this live performance help her take her first steps toward growing up?".

Carey and Tommy Mottola had become involved romantically during the making of her debut album, and in June 1993, they were married.

Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds consulted on the album Music Box, which was released later that year and became Carey's most successful worldwide. It yielded her first UK Singles Chart number-one, a cover of Badfinger's "Without You", and the U.S. number-ones "Dreamlover" and "Hero". Billboard magazine proclaimed it "heart-piercing easily the most elemental of Carey's releases, her vocal eurythmics in natural sync with the songs", but TIME magazine lamented Carey's attempt at a mellower work, " seems perfunctory and almost passionless Carey could be a pop-soul great; instead she has once again settled for Salieri-like mediocrity." In response to such comments, Carey said, "As soon as you have a big success, a lot of people don't like that. There's nothing I can do about it. All I can do is make music I believe in." Most critics slighted the opening of her subsequent U.S. Music Box Tour.

In late 1994, after her duet with Luther Vandross on a cover of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross's "Endless Love" became a hit, Carey released the holiday album Merry Christmas. It contained cover material and original compositions such as "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which became Carey's biggest single in Japan and, in subsequent years, emerged as one of her most perennially popular songs on U.S. radio. Critical reception of Merry Christmas was mixed, with Allmusic calling it an "otherwise vanilla set pretensions to high opera on 'O Holy Night' and a horrid danceclub take on 'Joy to the World'." It became one of the most successful Christmas albums of all time.

In 1995, Columbia released Carey's fifth album, Daydream, which combined the pop sensibilities of Music Box with downbeat R&B and hip hop influences. A remix of "Fantasy," its first single, featured rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. Carey said that Columbia reacted negatively to her intentions for the album: "Everybody was like 'What, are you crazy?'. They're very nervous about breaking the formula." It became her biggest-selling album in the U.S., and its singles achieved similar success—"Fantasy" became the second single to debut at number one in the U.S. and topped the Canadian Singles Chart for twelve weeks; "One Sweet Day" (a duet with Boyz II Men) spent a record-holding sixteen weeks at number one in the U.S.; and "Always Be My Baby" (co-produced by Jermaine Dupri) was the most successful record on U.S. radio in 1996, according to Billboard magazine. Daydream generated career-best reviews for Carey, and publications such as The New York Times named it one of 1995's best albums; the Times wrote that its "best cuts bring pop candy-making to a new peak of textural refinement Carey's songwriting has taken a leap forward, becoming more relaxed, sexier and less reliant on thudding clichés." The short but profitable Daydream World Tour augmented sales of the album, which received six Grammy Award nominations.

Carey and Mottola officially separated in 1997. Although the public image of the marriage was a happy one, she said that in reality she had felt trapped by her relationship with Mottola, whom she often described as controlling. They officially announced their separation in 1997, and their divorce became final the following year. Soon after the separation, Carey hired an independent publicist and a new attorney and manager. She continued to write and produce for other artists during this period, contributing to the debut albums of Allure and 7 Mile through her short-lived imprint Crave Records.

Carey's next album, Butterfly (1997), yielded the number-one single "Honey," the lyrics and music video for which presented a more overtly sexual image of her than had been previously seen. She stated that Butterfly marked the point when she attained full creative control over her music. However, she added, "I don't think it's that much of a departure from what I've done in the past It's not like I went psycho and thought I was going to be a rapper. Personally, this album is about doing whatever the hell I wanted to do." Reviews were generally positive: LAUNCHcast said Butterfly "pushes the envelope," a move its critic thought "may prove disconcerting to more conservative fans" but praised as "a welcome change." The Los Angeles Times wrote, " is easily the most personal, confessional-sounding record she's ever done Carey-bashing just might become a thing of the past." The album was a commercial success—although not to the degree of her previous three albums—and "My All" (her thirteenth Hot 100 number-one) gave her the record for the most U.S. number-ones by a female artist.

Toward the turn of the millennium, Carey was developing the film project Glitter and wrote songs for the films Men in Black (1997) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). During the production of Butterfly, Carey became romantically involved with New York Yankees baseball star Derek Jeter. Their relationship ended in 1998, with both parties citing media interference as the main reason for the split. The same year, Columbia released the album #1's, a collection of Carey's U.S. number-one singles alongside new material, which she said was a way of rewarding her fans. The song "When You Believe," a duet with Whitney Houston, was recorded for the soundtrack of The Prince of Egypt (1998) and won an Academy Award. #1's sold above expectations, but a review in NME labeled Carey "a purveyor of saccharine bilge like 'Hero', whose message seems wholesome enough: that if you vacate your mind of all intelligent thought, flutter your eyelashes and wish hard, sweet babies and honey will follow." Also that year, she appeared on the first televised VH1 Divas benefit concert program, although her alleged prima donna behavior had already led many to consider her a diva. By the following year, she had entered a relationship with singer Luis Miguel.

Rainbow, Carey's seventh studio album, was released in 1999 and comprised more R&B/hip hop–oriented songs, many of them co-created with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. "Heartbreaker" and "Thank God I Found You" (the former featuring Jay-Z, the latter featuring Joe and boy band 98 Degrees) reached number one in the U.S. and the success of the former made Carey the only act to have a number-one single in each year of the 1990s. A cover of Phil Collins's "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" went to number one in the UK after Carey re-recorded it with boy band Westlife. Media reception of Rainbow was generally enthusiastic, with the Sunday Herald saying the album "sees her impressively tottering between soul ballads and collaborations with R&B heavyweights like Snoop Doggy Dogg, Usher It's a polished collection of pop-soul." VIBE magazine expressed similar sentiments, writing, "She pulls out all stops Rainbow will garner even more adoration" but it became Carey's lowest-selling album up to that point, and there was a recurring criticism that the tracks were too alike. When the double A-side "Crybaby" (featuring Snoop Dogg)/"Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" became her first single to peak outside the U.S. top twenty, Carey accused Sony of under promoting it: "The political situation in my professional career is not positive I'm getting a lot of negative feedback from certain corporate people," she wrote on her official website.

After receiving Billboard's Artist of the Decade Award and the World Music Award for Best-Selling Female Artist of the Millennium, Carey parted from Columbia and signed a contract with EMI's Virgin Records worth a reported US$80 million. She often stated that Columbia had regarded her as a commodity, with her separation from Mottola exacerbating her relations with label executives. Just a few months later, in July 2001, it was widely reported that Carey had suffered a physical and emotional breakdown. She had left messages on her website complaining of being overworked, and her relationship with Luis Miguel was ending. In an interview the following year, she said, "I was with people who didn't really know me, and I had no personal assistant. I'd be doing interviews all day long, getting two hours of sleep a night, if that." During an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live, Carey handed out popsicles to the audience and began what was later described as a "strip tease". By the month's end, she had checked into a hospital, and her publicist announced that Carey was taking a break from public appearances.

Critics panned Glitter, Carey's much delayed semi-autobiographical film, and it was a box office failure. The accompanying soundtrack album, Glitter, was inspired by the music of the 1980s and featured collaborations with Rick James and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis; it generated Carey's worst showing on the U.S. chart. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dismissed it as "an absolute mess that'll go down as an annoying blemish on a career that, while not always critically heralded, was at least nearly consistently successful", while Blender magazine opined, "After years of trading her signature flourishes for a radio-ready purr, Carey's left with almost no presence at all." The lead single, "Loverboy" (featuring Cameo), reached number two on the Hot 100 due to the release of the physical single, but the album's follow-up singles failed to chart; however, a live rendition/medley of the single, "Never Too Far" made its way to #81.

Later in the year, Columbia released the low-charting compilation album Greatest Hits shortly after the failure of Glitter, and in early 2002, Virgin bought out Carey's contract for $28 million, creating further negative publicity. Carey later said her time at Virgin was "a complete and total stress-fest I made a total snap decision which was based on money, and I never make decisions based on money. I learned a big lesson from that." Later that year, she signed a contract with Island Records, valued at more than 22 million. and launched the record label MonarC. To add further to Carey's emotional burdens, her father, with whom she had little contact since childhood, died of cancer that year.

In 2002, she performed the American national anthem, in front of an audience at the Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana. Following a well-received supporting role in the 2002 film WiseGirls, Carey released the album Charmbracelet, which she said marked "a new lease on life" for her. Sales of Charmbracelet were moderate, and the quality of Carey's vocals came under severe criticism. The Boston Globe declared the album "the worst of her career, revealing a voice no longer capable of either gravity-defying gymnastics or soft coos", and Rolling Stone commented, "Carey needs bold songs that help her use the power and range for which she is famous. Charmbracelet is like a stream of watercolors that bleed into a puddle of brown." The album's only charting single in America, "Through the Rain", was a failure on pop radio, which had become less open to maturing "diva" stylists such as Celine Dion, or Carey herself in favor of younger singers such as Kelly Clarkson or Christina Aguilera, who had vocal styles very similar to Carey's.

Carey began a concert tour in mid-2006, called The Adventures of Mimi Tour, which was the most successful tour of her career, although some dates had to be canceled. In separate appearances on 106 & Park and TRL Carey announced plans to go back on tour in November or December 2008. She appeared on the cover of the March 2007 edition of Playboy magazine on a non-nude photo session. In early 2007, she was featured with Bow Wow on the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony single "Lil' L.O.V.E.". Later in the year, Carey received a "recording star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

By spring 2007, she had begun working on her eleventh studio album, E=MC². Asked about the album title and its meaning, Carey said "Einstein’s theory? Physics? Me? Hello! Of course I’m poking fun." She characterized the project as "Emancipation of Mimi to the second power", saying she was "freer on this album than" any other. Like her previous one, this album mainly concentrates on pop and R&B, but also borrows hip hop, gospel and even reggae ("Cruise Control") elements. Although E=MC² was well received by most critics, some of them criticized it for being "a clone of The Emancipation of Mimi". Bleu Magazine's critic said that the "facsimiles aren't terrible, they're just boring and forgettable at this point". Two weeks before the album's release, on April 2, 2008, "Touch My Body", her first single from the album, became Carey's eighteenth number-one single on the Hot 100, pushing her past Elvis Presley into second place for the most number-one singles among all artists in the rock era, according to Billboard magazine's revised methodology. Carey is now second only to The Beatles who have twenty number-one singles.

Carey's singles have, collectively, topped the charts for seventy-nine weeks, which places her just behind Presley, who topped the combined charts for eighty weeks. Carey has also had notable success on international charts, though not to the same degree as in the United States. Thus far, she has had two number-one singles in Britain, two in Australia, and six in Canada. Her highest-charting single in Japan peaked at number two.

On April 30, 2008, Carey married actor Nick Cannon, at Carey's private estate on Windermere Island in the Bahamas. Confirming rumors of the marriage, Carey stated that she felt the pair were "soulmates". Carey was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on October 30, 2008 at the Garden City Hotel in Garden City, New York. Carey performed "Hero" at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball after Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African-American president in history on January 20, 2009. Carey was featured on the second single from The-Dream's sophomore album Love vs. Money called "My Love".

Carey wrote on Twitter that she worked with James "Big Jim" Wright in Miami, Christopher "Tricky" Stewart and finished two songs with them. The New York Post reported that Carey covered Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" for her new album.

Carey began to take professional acting lessons in 1997, and in the coming year, she was auditioning for film roles. She made her debut as an opera singer in the romantic comedy The Bachelor (1999), starring Chris O'Donnell and Renée Zellweger. CNN referred derisively to her casting as a talentless diva as "letter-perfect the "can't act" part informs Carey's entire performance".

Carey, Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters co-starred as waitresses at a mobster-operated restaurant in the independent film WiseGirls (2002), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival but went straight to cable in the U.S. Critics commended Carey for her efforts — The Hollywood Reporter predicted, "Those scathing notices for Glitter will be a forgotten memory for the singer once people warm up to Raychel", and Roger Friedman, referring to her as "a Thelma Ritter for the new millennium", said, "Her line delivery is sharp and she manages to get the right laughs". WiseGirls producer Anthony Esposito cast Carey in The Sweet Science (2006), a film about an unknown female boxer recruited by a boxing manager, but it never entered production.

Carey was one of several musicians who appeared in the independently produced Damon Dash films Death of a Dynasty (2003) and State Property 2 (2005). Her television work has been limited to a January 2002 episode of Ally McBeal. Carey had a cameo appearance in Adam Sandler's 2008 film You Don't Mess with the Zohan, playing herself.

In 2006, Carey joined the cast of the indie film Tennessee (2008), taking the role of an aspiring singer who flees her controlling husband and joins two brothers on a journey to find their long-lost father. The movie received mixed reviews, but most of them praising Carey's performance as "understated and very effective." In 2009, she appeared as a social worker in Precious, the movie adaptation of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film was a huge critical success and Carey got rave reviews: Variety described her acting as "pitch-perfect".

Carey has said that from childhood she was influenced by R&B and soul musicians such as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, and Whitney Houston. Her music contains strong influences of gospel music, and her favorite gospel singers include The Clark Sisters, Shirley Caesar and Edwin Hawkins. When Carey incorporated hip hop into her sound, speculation arose that she was making an attempt to take advantage of the genre's popularity, but she told Newsweek, "People just don't understand. I grew up with this music". She has expressed appreciation for rappers such as The Sugarhill Gang, Eric B. & Rakim, the Wu-Tang Clan, The Notorious B.I.G. and Mobb Deep, with whom she collaborated on the single "The Roof (Back in Time)" (1998).

During Carey's career, her vocal and musical style, along with her level of success, has been compared to Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Carey and her peers, according to Garry Mulholland, are "the princesses of wails virtuoso vocalists who blend chart-oriented pop with mature MOR torch song". In She Bop II: The Definitive History of Women in Rock, Pop and Soul (2002), writer Lucy O'Brien attributed the comeback of Barbra Streisand's "old-fashioned showgirl" to Carey and Dion, and described them and Houston as "groomed, airbrushed and overblown to perfection". Carey's musical transition and use of more revealing clothing during the late 1990s were, in part, initiated to distance herself from this image, and she subsequently said that most of her early work was "schmaltzy MOR". Some have noted that unlike Houston and Dion, Carey co-writes her own songs, and the Guinness Rockopedia (1998) classified her as the "songbird supreme".

Despite the fact that Carey is often credited with co-writing her material, she has also been accused of plagiarism on several occasions. Many of these cases were eventually settled out of court.

Carey began commissioning remixes of her material early in her career and helped to spearhead the practice of recording entirely new vocals for remixes. Disc jockey David Morales has collaborated with Carey several times, starting with "Dreamlover" (1993), which popularized the tradition of remixing pop songs into house records, and which Slant magazine named one of the greatest dance songs of all time. From "Fantasy" (1995) onward, Carey enlisted both hip hop and house producers to re-imagine her album compositions. Entertainment Weekly included two remixes of "Fantasy" on a list of Carey's greatest recordings compiled in 2005: a National Dance Music Award-winning remix produced by Morales, and a Sean Combs production featuring rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard. The latter has been credited with popularizing the pop/hip hop collaboration trend that has continued into the 2000s through artists such as Ashanti and Beyoncé. Combs said that Carey "knows the importance of mixes, so you feel like you're with an artist who appreciates your work—an artist who wants to come up with something with you". She continues to consult on remixes by producers such as Morales, Jermaine Dupri, Junior Vasquez and DJ Clue, and guest performers contribute frequently to them. The popularity in U.S. nightclubs of the dance remixes, which often sound radically different from their album counterparts, has been known to eclipse the mainstream chart success of the original songs.

Carey is a philanthropist who has donated time and money to organizations such as the Fresh Air Fund. She became associated with the Fund in the early 1990s, and is the co-founder of a camp located in Fishkill, New York, that enables inner-city youth to embrace the arts and introduces them to career opportunities. The camp was called Camp Mariah "for her generous support and dedication to Fresh Air children", and she received a Congressional Horizon Award for her youth-related charity work. She is well-known nationally for her work with the Make-a-Wish Foundation in granting the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses, and in November 2006 she was awarded the Foundation's Wish Idol for her "extraordinary generosity and her many wish granting achievements". Carey has volunteered for the New York City Police Athletic League and contributed to the obstetrics department of New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Medical Center. A percentage of the sales of MTV Unplugged was donated to various other charities. In 2008, Carey was named Hunger Ambassador of the World Hunger Relief Movement. She is giving a free download of her song, "Love Story", to customers who donate to the organization at participating restaurants.

One of Carey's most high-profile benefit concert appearances was on VH1's 1998 Divas Live special, during which she performed alongside other female singers in support of the Save the Music Foundation. The concert was a ratings success, and Carey participated in the 2000 special. In 2007, the Save the Music Foundation honored Carey at their tenth gala event for her support towards the foundation since its inception. She appeared at the America: A Tribute to Heroes nationally televised fundraiser in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and in December 2001, she performed before peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. Carey hosted the CBS television special At Home for the Holidays, which documented real-life stories of adopted children and foster families, and she has worked with the New York City Administration for Children's Services. In 2005, Carey performed for Live 8 in London and at the Hurricane Katrina relief telethon "Shelter from the Storm". In August 2008, Carey and other singers recorded the charity single, "Just Stand Up" produced by Babyface and L. A. Reid, to support "Stand Up to Cancer". On September 5, the singers performed it live on TV.

Declining offers to appear in commercials in the United States during her early career, Carey was not involved in brand marketing initiatives until 2006, when she participated in endorsements for Intel Centrino personal computers and launched a jewelry and accessories line for teenagers, Glamorized, in American Claire's and Icing stores. During this period, as part of a partnership with Pepsi and Motorola, Carey recorded and promoted a series of exclusive ringtones, including "Time of Your Life". She signed a licensing deal with the cosmetics company Elizabeth Arden, and in 2007, she released her own fragrance, "M". According to Forbes, Carey was the sixth richest woman in entertainment as of January 2007, with an estimated net worth of US $225 million.

Carey directed or co-directed several of the music videos for her singles during the 1990s. Slant magazine named the video for "The Roof (Back in Time)", which Carey co-directed with Diane Martel, one of the twenty greatest music videos of all time. In 2008, Carey made Time's annual list of 100 most Influential people.

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Monica (singer)

Monica Arnold performs DC Black Pride 2007.JPG

Monica Denise Arnold (born October 24, 1980), professionally known as Monica, is an American R&B and pop singer, songwriter, and occasional actress. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Arnold was a member of Charles Thompson and the Majestics, a traveling 12-piece gospel choir prior to signing a solo recording contract with Arista Records in 1995. Guided by Rowdy head Dallas Austin, she came to prominence following her debut album Miss Thang, which produced four singles and made the youngest recording act to ever have two consecutive chart-topping hits on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Following a major success with "The Boy Is Mine," a duet with singer Brandy, and a same-titled second album in 1998, a series of hit records established her position as one of the most successful of the new breed of urban R&B female vocalists to emerge in the mid-to late 1990s. Arnold's popularity was in decline between the early 2000s, during which time she dealt with more personal tribulations including the suicide of her boyfriend, a tumultuous relationship with former fiancé Corey "C-Murder" Miller and the delay of her heavily-bootlegged third album, All Eyez on Me. In 2003, Monica eventually released her fourth album After the Storm, and after an unsuccessful period, she scored her sixth number-one hit "So Gone." After giving birth to her first child, Rodney Ramone Hill III, in May 2005, and another short hiatus, Monica released her fourth studio album, The Makings of Me in October 2006.

While maintaining a recording career Arnold has also gained fame for appearing in several film and television productions, including supporting roles in big screen motion pictures Boys and Girls (2000) and ATL (2006) and a starring role in the MTV Films telefilm Love Song (2000).

Arnold was born in College Park, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the eldest child of Marilyn Best, a former church singer and Delta Air Lines customer service representative, and M.C. Arnold Jr., a mechanic working for an Atlanta freight company. She has one brother named Montez (born 1983), and two maternal half-brothers, Tron and Cypress. Arnold is also a cousin-in-law of Atlanta rapper Christopher Brian Bridges, better known as Ludacris.

At the age of two Arnold followed in her mother's footsteps with regular performances in public at the Jones Chapel United Methodist Church. While growing up in the modest circumstances of a single-parent home, after her parents' separation in 1984 and their divorce in 1987, Monica continued training herself in singing. She became the youngest member of Charles Thompson and the Majestics, a traveling 12-piece gospel choir, by the time she was ten. Monica also became a frequent talent show contestant, winning over twenty local singing competitions throughout her early teenage years.

In 1991, at the age of eleven, Arnold was discovered by music producer Dallas Austin at the Center Stage auditorium in Atlanta. Amazed by her voice, Dallas offered her a record deal with his Arista-distributed label Rowdy Records and immediately hired rapper and actress Queen Latifah as Monica's first manager. Shortly afterwards Dallas and Arnold entered the studio to start writing and producing her debut Miss Thang. After years of recording Monica's debut album, co-produced by Daryl Simmons, Tim & Bob and Soulshock & Karlin, was released to mixed reviews on July 18, 1995. While the longplayer debuted at a moderately successful 36 on the U.S.'s Billboard 200 chart only, Miss Thang soon became a triple platinum success thanks to constant sales and the success of its singles. The pre-released "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)" and the double-A-single "Before You Walk out of My Life/Like This and Like That" both entered the top 10 of the official Hot 100 and simultaneously became platinum certified number-one hits on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, making Monica the youngest artist ever to have two consecutive chart-topping hits on latter chart.

A second double-A-side single (and top 10 single), "Why I Love You So Much/Ain't Nobody", the latter being an appearance on The Nutty Professor, soundtrack maintained Monica's popularity in music and on music video channels through 1996 - the same year she went on tour with R&B and hip hop groups TLC and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. After graduating high school at age sixteen with a 4.0 GPA in 1997 and a label change to Clive Davis's Arista Records, Arnold's mainstream success was boosted, when Diane Warren-written "For You I Will," from the Space Jam movie soundtrack, became her next top 10 pop hit.

The following year she was asked to team up with singer Brandy and producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins to record "The Boy Is Mine", the first single from both of their second albums. Released in May 1998 surrounding highly publicized rumors about a real-life catfight between both singers, the duet became both the biggest hit of the summer and the biggest hit of 1998 in general in America, spending a total of 13 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and garnering multi-platinum sales of the single (to date, it remains as one of the top twenty most successful American singles in history based on Billboard chart success).

After the album's final single release Arnold primarily focused on recording soundtracks. In 2000 she contributed chorus vocals for "I've Got to Have It", a collaboration with Jermaine Dupri and rapper Nas which sampled Peter Gabriel's 1986 number-one hit "Sledgehammer." Released as the Big Momma's House' theme song, the song saw minor success in the United States only. Monica also started appearing in films and showed interest in acting. She starred in Love Song and was featured on Boys and Girls in 2000.

In 2001, Monica released "Just Another Girl", a song she had recorded for the Down to Earth soundtrack. The single fared better, but failed to reach the top 50 of the U.S. Hot 100. A year later, Arnold channeled much of her heavily media-discussed experiences into the production of her third studio album, All Eyez on Me, her first release on mentor Clive Davis newly-founded J Records label. "I just wanted to give the people back something that had personal passion, instead of just, 'Oh, let's dance to this record,'" she said about the issues worked into the tracks. Yet the first single released from the project was "All Eyez on Me," a Rodney Jerkins-produced R&B-dance song which saw minor to moderate success on the charts. A follow-up song, "Too Hood," also got a lukewarm response and as a result, the album's tentative release was pushed back several times. "I don't think people wanted to hear a big fun record from me, after knowing all the things that I had personally experienced," Monica second-guessed her new material which saw both early and heavy bootlegging via internet at that time.

After the Japan-wide release of All Eyez on Me Monica was asked to substantially reconstruct the record with a host of new producers, and as a result the singer re-entered recording studios to start work with songwriters Kanye West, Jazze Pha, Andre "mrDEYO" Deyo, Bam & Ryan and Dupri-relapcing executive producer Missy Elliott. Finally released on June 17, 2003, "After the Storm" debuted at number two on Billboard`s Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and on top of the official Billboard 200, with sales of 186,000 copies emerging as Monica's first and only number-one album to date. After the Storm eventually received a gold certification for more than 500,000 copies shipped to stores, and has sold about one million copies domestically. Media reception of the CD was generally enthusiastic, with the Allmusic saying the album "has all the assuredness and smart developments that should keep Monica's younger longtime followers behind her — all the while holding the ability to appeal to a wider spectrum of R&B and hip-hop fans." The album's lead single, "So Gone", was one of Monica's biggest commercial successes in years, becoming her first top 10 single since 1999's "Angel of Mine"; it also reached the top position of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks and Hot Dance Club Play charts. The second sinlge became a sequal of "So Gone", A double-A-side single "Knock Knock/Get It Off, saw minor to moderate success only with peak positions of number seventy-five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number twenty-four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The fourth and final single "U Should've Known Better" became Arnold's first balladic release in over five years. The single reached number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 6 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, making it the album's most successful release behind leading single "So Gone".

Returning from yet another musical hiatus, Monica's fourth studio album The Makings of Me was released on October 3, 2006 in the United States. The Makings of Me debuted at number one on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, and at number 8 on the official Billboard 200, with moderately successful first week sales of 92,935 copies; so far the album has sold 314,000 copies domestically, making it Monica's lowest selling album to date. Titled after Curtis Mayfield's song "The Makings of You," the ten tracks short album saw her particularly reuniting with Elliott, Dupri, and Bryan Michael Cox. Arnold described the album her most mature and versatile effort to date: "This album is very, very different from the other ones, because of me personally," she said to MTV News. "Now, at 26, the way I look at things, even relationships, I was really able to involve more of my life experiences in the album." The Makings of Me received a positive reception from most professional music critics, with Allmusic calling it a "concise and mostly sweet set of songs" and Entertainment Weekly declaring it "a solid addition" to Monica's discography, widely comparing it to 2003 After the Storm due to its "excellent songwriting and song production." About.com’s Mark Edward Nero however, cited a "lack of emotion" in Monica's powerful voice, also criticising the shortness of the album. The album's lead single, "Everytime Tha Beat Drop", becoming her least successful lead single since 2002's "All Eyez on Me.", reaching its peak position of number 11 on the "Billboard"'s R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The song became Monica's tenth top 20 entry on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks chart. The second and third singles, "A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)" and "Sideline Ho," underquoted this success with peak positions of number 48 and 45 respectively on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, never making it to the official Hot 100. A fourth single, "Hell No (Leave Home)" was serviced to U.S. radios on May 14, 2007, achieving similar success.

In October 2007, Monica renewed her contract with J Records.

For now, Arnold is writing and putting songs together for her fifth studio album, entitled Still Standing. Although a release date has not yet been confirmed, and is currently scheduled for a release in the first quarter of 2009. So far, the singer has worked with producers Bryan Michael Cox, Babyface, Drumma Boy and Stargate and rapper Ludacris. Her team also is in negoations with Keyshia Cole, Ne-Yo, Polow da Don, and R. Kelly to contribute to Still Standing. In an interview with Versus Magazine, Lil Jon moreover recently stated that he was "about to do some work with Monica." Productionwise, the album is expected to orient on earlier projects: "I am going back to where I started," Monica said in an interview with Concrete Loop. "The next album I would like people to get more songs like "Why I Love You So Much," "Angel of Mine," or the things they really, really love from me ..." Although the debut episode of the reality television show Monica: The Single on Peachtree TV and BET was filmed to promote the release of the album's leading single, no track has been picked yet, as the label and the singer were not in agreement with the album's title track "Still Standing" becoming the first single. As a result, Monica set up additional sessions with longtime contributor Missy Elliott in hopes to find a new single.

In addition, Monica is also taking on the fashion industry by designing a high-end line of boys clothing called Regions of Rock. She describes the gear as an "urban rock" line of clothing for infants to kids up to size 20.

Monica's career saw troubles between the years 2001 and 2003, during which time she dealt with more personal tribulations including an up-and-down relationship with former fiancé Corey "C-Murder" Miller and the suicide of her boyfriend Jarvis "Knot" Weems, a local drug dealer and her childhood friend. On July 18, 2000, the couple was together at the graveside of Weems's brother Troy, who had died in an automobile accident at age 25 in 1998, when Weems, without warning, put a gun to his head and shot himself to death. Devastated, Monica spent the first few months after his death in denial and depression, later lessened by spiritual guidance from her parents. "Afterward, I felt, 'What else could I have done?' You replay that situation over and over and you switch it around: Maybe if I had said this, or if I would have done that,'" she said in an interview with the Enquirer the following year. "It's just something that it's never possible for me to go back and change."Having previously refreshed her on and off-going relationship with rapper Rodney "Rocko" Hill, Jr., whom she had actually dated since the age of nineteen, the couple welcomed a son into the world on May 21, 2005. Nicknamed Lil Rocko, the child was officially named Rodney Ramone Hill III, after his father.

Arnold and Hill became officially engaged on Christmas Eve 2007. On January 8, 2008, the singer gave birth to her second child, a son named Romello Montez on January 8, 2008, who was named after Monica's younger brother.

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Source : Wikipedia