All Eyez on Me (Monica album)
|All Eyez on Me|
|Studio album by Monica|
|Released||October 21, 2002|
|Singles from All Eyez on Me|
All Eyez on Me is the third studio album by American recording artist Monica. Named after its same-titled lead single, it marked the singer's first record under Clive Davis' J Records roster and was first released on October 21, 2002 in Japan. The tracks on the album are a mixture of uptempos and ballads, which are basically inspired by contemporary R&B and soul genres; it also features elements of hip hop, dance-pop and gospel music, crafted by musicians suchs as Dallas Austin, Bryan Michael Cox, Jermaine Dupri, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, and Soulshock & Karlin.
Released to mixed reviews by music critics, the album reached number 14 on the Japanese Albums Chart. Its preceding two singles, "All Eyez on Me" and "Too Hood", achieved moderate commercial success on the charts however. Expected to be released on November 12, 2002 in the United States, the album was eventually put on hold after it had experienced heavy bootlegging following its Japan-wide release and became widely available through Internet file-sharing services. The album was then partially re-recorded and retooled as After the Storm in 2003 with original album cut, "U Should've Known Better", released as its fourth single in 2004.
In June 2000, in an interview with MTV News, Monica revealed that she was planning to start working on a follow-up to her 1998's album, The Boy Is Mine, throughout the summer season, with a first single to be released by October of the same year. Expressing her interest in reteaming with the core musicians she had worked with on her second album, including frequent collaborators Dallas Austin, Rodney Jerkins, David Foster, Daryl Simmons, and Jermaine Dupri, the singer expected the album to be released in the first quarter of 2001 following her involvement with Oscar Mayer's Jingle Jam Talent Search contest and the filming of her first major motion picture, the MTV Films production Love Song (2001). The following month, personal tribulations put a temporary halt on the album's production when her former boyfriend Jarvis "Knot" Weems committed suicide. In July 2000, Monica and Weems were together at the graveside of Weems's brother, 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. Knot left behind a daughter from a previous relationship, who Monica took into care after going into hiatus. "Jarvis' death had everything to do with me not working," she said in 2001. "I was not able [...] I was working all these hours after it happened, [but] I realized in the midst of everything, I couldn't handle it. I'm not ashamed to say that I decided to step back and get the help I needed to really come from within."
In the first quarter of 2001, her single "Just Another Girl", taken from the soundtrack of the 2001 motion picture Down to Earth, was released. An uptempo R&B track dealing with relationship issues, Monica noted that the song didn't "pertain to the stage in my life I'm in, so I'm really waiting and looking for material that will take you to some of the depths in my soul. It was very difficult to juggle all of those things and then try to be a family for his kids at the same time. I'm hoping to be an inspiration to a lot of young women." Monica eventually decided to return to the recording studio to prepare the release of her third album in fall 2001. Over the course of the sessions Clive Davis, who had taken the singer with him from his former label, Arista Records, to his latest venture, J Records, emerged as Monica's new mentor, replacing producer Dallas Austin, while longtime contributor Jermaine Dupri served as the album's executive producer. Throughout the process, Monica primarily focused on working with her usual stable of producers, which also included Austin, production team Soulshock & Karlin, Bryan Michael Cox, and Rodney Jerkins and his Darkchild crew. Though she "had never thought about writing much" by then, her producers encouraged the singer to intensify her work on the album and to write and contribute own lyrics and ideas to the songs. "I didn't have one concept in mind: I just thought about the situations and that they might be worth sharing." In the end Monica came up with nine songs for her third album, which she declared as "quite serious" because of its more adult subject-matter and moreover called her "'coming of age' record" with the view to "establish the kind of fans who will be with me for the next ten years and more ..." Although the album was tentatively titled I'm Back and Monica at one time or another, the longplayer was eventually named, after the album's lead single, "All Eyez on Me."
Release and reception
Though originally expected to be released worldwide, All Eyez on Me received a wide release on October 21, 2002 in Japan only. The set was initially scheduled for a US release in July 2002 and then pushed back to September before setting a November 12 release date. By the time it was being scheduled for domestic release however, All Eyez on Me had been heavily bootlegged in Japan and become widely available through Internet file-sharing services. In addition, the first single released from the project, "All Eyez on Me" had experienced moderate success on the charts, while follow-up "Too Hood," also got a lukewarm response. As a result, the album was pulled from stores days after the release and Monica's label J Records asked her to substantially reconstruct the record with a host of new producers, including musician Missy Elliott who would emerge as the new version's executive producer.
|The Boston Globe||favorable|
Upon its limited release, All Eyez on Me received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Michael Endelman wrote in his early review for The Boston Globe that "like recent releases from Christina Aguilera and Brandy, the new album from Monica finds the 21-year-old R&B singer trying to escape her teen-pop past. Thankfully, the result is more successful than Aguilera's recent foray into brazen sexuality and strained grunge rock. Her first album in four years, All Eyez on Me continues the pleasant, light-hearted soul that Monica is known for, while expanding into more mature subject matter." Blender magazine, on the other hand, rated the album two out of five stars only.
Though Rodney Jerkins-produced "Ain't Gonna Cry No More" was considered to be released as a single at times, All Eyez on Me yielded two singles only. Its lead single, "All Eyez on Me", entered the top 40 in Australia and New Zealand but barely made it to the top 70 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaked at number 24 on the component Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. The second single, "Too Hood", featuring Jermaine Dupri, received a limited vinyl release only since J Records denied to produce a music video for the song. It, however, was included on a limited edition bonus CD with re-worked After the Storm in 2003.
|2.||"All Eyez on Me"||4:00|
|3.||"U Should've Known"||
|4.||"Too Hood" (featuring Jermaine Dupri)||
|5.||"I Wrote This Song"||Soulshock & Karlin||3:48|
|6.||"U Deserve" (featuring Hussein Fatal)||Dallas Austin||4:24|
|7.||"Breaks My Heart"||
||Soulshock & Karlin||4:27|
|8.||"Ain't Gonna Cry No More"||
|9.||"If U Were the Girl"||3:51|
|10.||"What Hurts the Most"||
|12.||"Just Another Girl"||3:24|
|13.||"What My Heart Says"||Diane Warren||David Foster||3:59|
- Notes and sample credits
- ^[A] denotes additional producer
- ^[B] denotes co-producer
- ^[C] denotes vocal producer
- "I'm Back" contains interpolations from Herb Alpert's 1979 composition "Rise", written by Andy Armer and Randy Alpert.
- "All Eyez on Me" contains excerpts from Michael Jackson's 1983 song "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)", written by Quincy Jones and James Ingram.
- "I Wrote This Song" contains excerpts from the composition "Aht Uh Mi Hed" (1970), written and performed by Shuggie Otis.
- "U Deserve" samples from Tupac's "Hail Mary" (1996), written by Rufus Cooper, Katari Cox, Yaleu Fula, Joseph Paquette, Tupac Shakur, Bruce Washington, and Tyrone Wrice.
- "If U Were the Girl" sample from C-Murder' composition "Down 4 My Niggas" (2000), written by Calvin Broadus, Awood Johnson, Craig Lawson, and Corey Miller.
Credits and personnel
Credits are taken from the album's liner notes.
Charts and certifications
- "Monica: Jingle Jamming". MTV News. MTV.com. 1 June 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- Mumbi Moody, Nekesa (2003-06-27). "Monica Triumphs Over Tragedy After the Storm". Enquirer. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
- "Monica: It's Different Now". MTV News. MTV.com. 18 April 2001. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Superstar Monica Selects Self-Titled Album". Business Wire. 27 June 2002. Retrieved 25 November 2007.
- Casanova, Tara. "Music Sheet: Inspired by Tragedy: Enter Monica". Blackflix.com. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- Salomon, Yves Erwin (5 September 2002). "Monica's 'All Eyez On Me' Due In November". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 25 November 2007.
- "Review". Blender. Alpha Media Group. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Endelman, Michael (17 January 2003). "Monica". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. ISSN 0743-1791. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- "Monica– Too Hood". Discogs. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
- "Monica – All Eyez On Me CD – Import". CDUniverse.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- All Eyez on Me (CD liner). Monica. J Records. 2002.
- "Oricon: Monica" (in Japanese). Media Control GfK International. Retrieved April 20, 2012.