Brandy vs. Monica in ‘Verzuz’ Battle of R&B Titans: See Billboard’s Scorecard & Winner For the Event

All it took was a staggering 1.2 million viewers on Instagram alone during Brandy and Monica’s Verzuz battle Monday night (Aug. 31) to remind the world how next-level their respective catalogs are.

After being pitted against each other for more than two decades following their classic 1998 duet “The Boy Is Mine,” the reverence shared between two of modern R&B’s most renowned stars was a joy to see. Not only were fans able to watch the singers celebrate each other’s successes — amidst a few moments of somewhat unavoidable tension — but they also received a message from Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who called in with a live video message for the two stars, thanking them for their contributions to the culture and using the platform to encourage voters to hit the polls this upcoming November.

After Harris spoke, the battle was underway, delivering a brilliant 20-round exhibition of Black Girl Magic. See Billboard’s official scorecard for the record-setting event below.

Round 1: Brandy’s “What About Us?” vs. Monica’s “Everything to Me”

Brandy kicks off the R&B jam fest with her Darkchild-produced 2002 Full Moon banger “What About Us?” In return, Monica serves up an equally unshakable record in her 2010 ballad “Everything to Me.” Monica’s resounding vocals shake the room but aren’t enough to clinch the opening round. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 2: Brandy’s “He Is” vs. Monica’s “A Dozen Roses”

Dubbed a “fan favorite,” Brandy slows down the tempo after her fiery entrance with her spellbinding deep cut from Full Moon. She ruminates about how her 2002 effort didn’t pack as many singles as she might’ve liked, but unearths a sparkling cut here. Monica effusively praises Brandy for her “unmatched” tone, before getting back in the game her dulcet track “A Dozen Roses.” With Missy in tow, Monica proves why she and the hip-hop luminary were such a superb tandem in the 2000s.

WINNER: Monica

Round 3: Brandy’s “Full Moon” vs. Monica’s “So Gone”

Brandy refuses to hit eject on her Full Moon album and opts to play its most savory single with its title-track single. Swaying back and forth, both Brandy and Monica dance in unison to the instant classic. ‘Full Moon’ is so serious,” gushes Monica after the song’s conclusion. Mo issues an impressive comeback with her 2000s scorcher “So Gone,” which she reveals found her at a crossroads in her life romantically. “I’m done kicking in doors,” she playfully quips. 

WINNER: Monica

Round 4: Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down” vs. Monica’s “Don’t Take It Personal”

Debut single showdown. Interestingly, Brandy recalls first meeting Tupac in the ’90s and cleverly loops in a soundbite from the rapper’s 1996 song “Me & My Girlfriend,” which name-dropped her 1994 single, to kick off this round — and also dips into the star-studded “Down” remix before handing over the controls. Monica storms right back with her swaggering 1995 opener “Don’t Take It Personal,” but we have to applaud Brandy for the sweet presentation on this one. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 5: Brandy’s “Baby” Vs. Monica’s “Like This and Like That”

Brandy is officially in her element. Sprinkling a bevy of ad-libs during the performance of her 1994 single “Baby,” Brandy keeps us engaged with her entrancing falsettos. Meanwhile Monica powers her way through a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Like This and That,” which she says she recorded at 12. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 6: Brandy’s “Angel in Disguise” vs. Monica’s “U Should’ve Known Better”

Dating back to her 1998 sophomore attempt Never Say Never, Brandy reflects on sampling Joe for the criminally underrated track “Angel in Disguise,” before delving into her decision to stay single. Monica matches Brandy’s heartbreak with the melancholy “U Should’ve Known Better,” and even sings a cappella to make the tearful anthem that much stronger for R&B purists. 

WINNER: Monica

Round 7: Brandy, Chaka Khan, Tamia & Gladys Knight’s “Missing You” Vs. Monica’s “For You I Will”

Brandy’s showmanship continues to shine during this matchup early on. Here, she pays homage to fallen figures in the Black community such as Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston before playing the loaded Set It Off soundtrack cut “Missing You,” recorded alongside Chaka Khan, Tamia and Gladys Knight. Monica also shows love to the Bryant family by speaking on how “For You I Will” remains an impactful song for Kobe’s wife Vanessa. “That song I was only 17, and that was for Space Jam,” says Monica. “Movies and soundtracks just hit different back then.” 

WINNER: Tie

Round 8: Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count” vs. Monica’s “Why I Love You So Much”

Journeying back to Never Say Never, Brandy recounts the pressure of love before earning applause from Monica for “Almost Doesn’t Count.” Monica skillfully keeps the train of adoration running with “Why I Love You So Much,” before receiving a sea of “Ayes” for her sonorous vocals at the record’s tail-end. 

WINNER: Tie

Round 9: Brandy’s “Brokenhearted” vs. Monica’s “Love All Over Me”

After realizing they reached an unfathomable 1.2 million views on their matchup, Brandy chooses to take a request from her opponent. The result proves to be golden, as she plays the inescapable 1994 jam “Brokenhearted” featuring Wanya Morris. The ’90s break-up anthem quickly has the comment section in shambles. “Clouds don’t stay, and the sun always shines again,” says the upbeat Monica, before inserting her delirious 2010 cut “Love All Over Me.” Sorry Mo, heartbreak wins this round. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 10: Monica feat. Rick Ross & Lil Kim’s “Anything (To Find You)” vs. Brandy feat. Ma$e’s “Top of the World” 

After a short intermission and an order reversal, Monica emerges with the bombastic club starter “Anything (To Find You), which sampled Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya.” Brandy brings the heavy artillery, touting the ’90s bop “Top of the World.” Ma$e’s silky opener is still a showstopper no matter the decade. What a way to start the second half. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 11: Monica feat. Ludacris’ “Still Standing” Brandy’s “Borderline”

Acknowledging her abrasive ways, Monica owns her past missteps on the 2008 record “Still Standing” with Ludacris. “To put him on this song, he really got it,” Monica says of her cousin, who penned a poignant verse. On her attempt, Brandy fast forwards to her new album B7, and speaks on her personal connection with one of the set’s highlights, “Borderline.” Unfortunately, might be too early to dish out the new records. 

WINNER: Monica

Round 12: Monica’s “Commitment” vs. Brandy feat. Daniel Caesar’s “Love Again” 

Monica touches on the importance to go independent, and how that liberating experience carved out her 2019 single “Commitment,” which soared to No. 1 on the Billboard’s Adult Songs Airplay chart. To counteract Monica’s effort, Brandy revs up her Grammy-nominated duet “Love Again” with R&B crooner Daniel Caesar, and dashes across the finish line this round. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 13: Usher feat. Monica’s “Slow Jam” vs. Brandy feat. Usher’s “Put It Down”

Monica moonwalks back into the ’90s with a unique cheat code by unwrapping her “Slow Jam” collaboration with Usher. “Our voices really turn into one,” reflects Monica. “He’s the consummate professional.” Brandy’s slinky CB collab sounds good but has a tough time burying Usher and Mo this round. 

WINNER: Monica

Round 14: Monica’s “The First Night”vs. Brandy’s “Who Is She 2 U” 

Staying in her ’90s pocket, Monica unleashes her Jermaine Dupri-produced record “The First Night” as she shuns the idea of being lusty from the onset. Brandy leaps back with momentum by reeling in Verzuz co-founder Timbaland for the syrupy Afrodisiac single “Who Is She 2 U.” 

WINNER: Tie

Round 15: Monica’s “Knock Knock” vs. Brandy’s “Best Friend ” 

Monica and Missy strike again with another magical heater in After the Storm’s “Knock Knock,” solidifying their presence as one of R&B’s top tandem. Brandy’s debut album comes back into the fold with “Best Friend,” before quickly blending in her theme song for her ’90s sitcom Moesha. Sadly, we only get a five-second teaser of the classic theme, since Brandy didn’t want to get sued for playing the song in full. 

WINNER: Monica

Round 16: Monica “Before You Walk Out Of My Life” vs. Brandy’s “Sitting Up In My Room” 

It’s all about the white shoes. Monica breaks down the videos shot in Los Angeles when pressing play on “Before You Walk Out of My Life” from Ms. Thang — a song she deems as “one of her favorites to sing to this day.”  Brandy’s story of “Sitting Up in My Room” speaks to linking up with one of her favorites in Babyface (also a Verzuz alum) for the first time, while again boasting about an on-record shout-out, this time from Biggie via Life After Death’s “Another.” Great flex by Brandy.

WINNER: Brandy

Round 17: Monica feat. Dem Franchize Boyz’s “Everytime Tha Beat Drop” vs. Brandy feat. Kanye West’s “Talk About Love” 

Monica takes a trip to the A-Town in Round 17 with another Jermaine Dupri-produced hit. The street symphony showcases Mo’s versatility after coming with a strong showing of ballads throughout the battle. Before diving into her record, Brandy sings Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” to speak to the importance of voting and staying positive during this dark time. Her impromptu solo plus her Kanye-featuring record gives her the point here. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 18: Monica’s “Sideline Ho” vs. Brandy’s “Put That on Everything” 

Channeling her inner City Girl, Monica peels back into her 2007 single “Sideline Ho” and axes the notion of playing the second option in relationships. Monica edges Brandy’s Never Say Never track by peppering the ad-libs with the word “ho” and providing funny banter throughout. 

WINNER: Monica

Round 19: Brandy’s “When You Touch Me” vs. Keyshia Cole’s “Trust” featuring Monica

“Them harmonies in there were crazy,” says Brandy while listening to Keyshia and Monica’s duet. The Moesha singer revisits Full Moon to cradle fans with her baby-making record “When You Touch Me,” which garner a slew of “Yasssss” responses. The fans have spoken. 

WINNER: Brandy

Round 20: Monica feat. Lil Wayne’s “Just Right For Me” vs. Brandy’s “Have You Ever” 

Don’t think Monica was aware of the song count here, saving her 1999 Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Angel of Mine” for just after the 20-song buzzer sounded. Instead, Brandy gets the bucket here with a chart-topping ’99 ballad of her own. 

WINNER: Brandy

BONUS ROUNDS

Best “Boy Is Mine” Performance: Brandy

The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Interestingly enough, Monica doesn’t seem eager to perform alongside her counterpart, but the song’s magnitude and moment is enough to overlook this moment. They even hugged it out at the end and teased an upcoming tour too! 

Best Banter: Tie

Both women were equipped with jokes and stingers throughout the night. It was a blessing to see them trade stories about their come-ups in the ‘90s and praise each other’s catalog. 

Biggest K.O.: Brandy

Unaware of the time, Brandy slipped in a nice K.O. at the final buzzer with “Have You Ever,” and Monica opting to go with “Just Right For Me” versus her timeless record “Angel of Mine.” 

People’s Champ: Tie

From Brandy bringing in Kamala Harris to Monica bringing out the harmonies on “Sideline Ho,” this hall-of-fame twosome deserved the incredible 1.2 million IG views they earned tonight. 

FINAL SCORE: Brandy, 12-7-5

Powderfinger Prep Album of Unreleased Material for 20th Anniversary of ‘Odyssey Number Five’

First, the virtual gig. Now Powderfinger will open the vault to celebrate a year of special anniversaries.

The cherished Australian rockers are compiling an album of 10 unreleased recordings, set for release later this year. It’s led by the single “Day By Day,” due to drop Sept. 18, the first new material from the band since 2009’s Golden Rule.

The five-piece rediscovered the tracks as they scoured the archives ahead of the 20th anniversary release of Odyssey Number Five, their ARIA Award-winning, chart topping fourth studio album.

“We trawled through our hard drives and went, ‘This is actually a pretty good bunch of songs here,'” Powderfinger guitarist Darren Middleton said Monday (Aug. 31) in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“‘Maybe we should do more than just put them out as extras. Maybe we should do something with it. See if anyone’s interested in listening’.”

The unearthed cuts span about 10 years, and “for one reason or another just didn’t make the cut at the time, or just didn’t suit the purposes of whatever we were doing,” Middleton continues.

Rumors of a reunion have circulated since the group reactivated its social accounts, and reunited in May for One Night Lonely, a virtual gig which raised more than A$505,000 for Support Act, the national charity that helps artists, roadies and music workers in crisis, and Beyond Blue, an organization that provides advice and support on mental health issues.

This year also marks a decade since the band from Brisbane were an active outfit. The classic lineup of Bernard Fanning (vocals), Ian Haug (guitars), Middleton (guitars), John Collins (bass) and Jon Coghill (drums) went their separate ways in 2010 with a final Sunsets lap of the country, which sold more than 200,000 tickets.

Produced by Nick DiDia, ON5 featured their biggest international hit, “My Happiness,” and it’s one of five successive Powderfinger albums to hit No. 1 on the national ARIA Chart. It went on to win several ARIA Awards, including highest selling album and best rock album, with The ‘Finger, as they’re affectionately known in these parts, taking out best group.

The fans spoke in 2011, when OD5 scooped Triple J’s Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time poll.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, a “Deluxe Edition” will be available from Sept. 4, pressed on 180-gram colored vinyl, packaged in a gatefold sleeve with photos and new liner notes written by the band.

The vinyl release has been remastered by Don Bartley from Benchmark Mastering and is spread across two records.

According to a statement, the original 11-track album has also been expanded to 21 recordings, now enriched with B-sides, alternate takes and a collection of covers, including “Love My Way” (originally by Psychedelic Furs), “Rocket Reducer No. 62” (The MC5) and “The Number Of The Beast” (Iron Maiden), plus previously-unreleased versions of “Transmission” (Joy Division) and “Let Him Dangle” (Elvis Costello).

In addition, remastered high-definition videos from the album will roll out weekly on YouTube ahead of the big release.

It’s only a matter of time before the lads are inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, having sold more than 2.5 million albums and won 18 ARIA Awards, the third highest total all-time behind Silverchair (21) and John Farnham (20).

“And if anyone is wondering,” founding guitarist Haug explains, “no, we aren’t going to be doing a ‘tour’ or any shows when it’s possible.”

Look, Up In the Sky: Amazon Gets Approval to Deliver Packages by Drone

Getting an Amazon package delivered from the sky is closer to becoming a reality.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday (Aug. 31) it had granted Amazon approval to deliver packages by drones.

Amazon said that the approval is an “important step,” but added that it is still testing and flying the drones. It did not say when it expected drones to make deliveries to shoppers.

The online shopping giant has been working on drone delivery for years, but it has been slowed by regulatory hurdles. Back in December 2013, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in a TV interview that drones would be flying to customer’s homes within five years.

Last year, Amazon unveiled self-piloting drones that are fully electric, can carry 5 pounds of goods and are designed to deliver items in 30 minutes by dropping them in a backyard. At the time, an Amazon executive said deliveries to shoppers would be happening “within months,” but more than 14 months have passed since then.

Seattle-based Amazon is the third drone delivery service to win flight approval, the FAA said. Delivery company UPS and a company owned by search giant Google won approval last year.

Kamala Harris Crashes Brandy & Monica’s ‘Verzuz’ Battle: ‘You Queens, You Stars!’

Brandy and Monica went six feet apart on Monday night (Aug. 31), facing off in a can’t-miss Verzuz battle between R&B icons.

To help kick things off, the duo got a surprise from Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who dropped by on the screen behind them (repping her alma mater in a Howard University t-shirt) to show support for Verzuz’s partnership with Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote.

“I just wanted to thank you ladies, you queens, you stars,” Harris exclaimed. “Thank you for doing this for When We All Vote. It’s so important for everyone. You both used your voice in such a powerful way, and an extension of our voices is our vote.”

“We understand the importance of people getting out and voting right now,” Monica added. “And they feel so helpless right now, but that’s how you help yourself, help your community, help your brothers and sisters.”

“I’m fangirling right now,” Brandy excitedly added. Brandy and Monica’s battle is the second girls-only clash following Erykah Badu and Jill Scott battling it out back in May. In fact, the face-off is so hyped that it’s even arriving with its own line of limited-edition merch.

Jaden Smith Talks ‘Falling for You’ With Justin Bieber & Who Would Win in a Guitar Battle Against His Sister

Fresh off the release of his innovative new mixtape, CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3, Jaden Smith dropped by Apple Music to chat with Ebro Darden on everything related to his creative project.

“This album is a time piece in the sense that I am speaking from the perspective as an artist, as a rapper, as a singer, as a poet,” he explained. “I’m speaking from the perspective of being 16, 17ish. That’s when a lot of people get their first love, or heartbreak, around that time, and same for me. So I’m going back there.”

On linking up again with Justin Bieber on “Falling for You,” Jaden shared that he wrote the song “last summer with my guitar teacher, in my room.”

“I was thinking ‘Man, I want Justin on this song so bad,’” he continued. “And I didn’t tell him I wanted him on the song until 10 months into me working on the song. I worked on it for almost a year before I played it for him one time.”

The mixtape pulled on a variety of music for inspiration, from the Brockhampton to Tyler, the Creator. “What happened was I went to Abbey Road with Brockhampton — so I went to go work with them on their album ‘Iridescence’ and they were working at Abbey Road and I was like ‘wow, that’s a really interesting choice,'” he shared. “And then, I just started to do a lot more studying into music because that’s also something that Tyler told me to do when he heard one of albums he was like, ‘you need to – it sound likes you haven’t listened to any music.’ I just starting studying more and more.”

Jaden even dished on what would happen in a guitar battle with his talent sister Willow. “In the battle scenario, she would destroy me on the first song, vocally and guitar-wise,” he admitted. “After that, I’d be mad, and then she would play for another hour straight.”

Listen to the full interview below.

BTS’ Jimin Admits ‘Tears Keep Forming’ While Thanking ARMY for Hot 100 No. 1

It’s a big day for BTS. Not only is it their youngest member Jungkook’s birthday on September 1, but the septet is also celebrating their first-ever Hot 100 chart topper, as “Dynamite” blasts into the No. 1 spot.

Jimin took to Twitter to share his moment of overwhelming positivity, kicking his string of tweets off with a birthday message to Jungkook. “Happy birthday to our youngest, Older brother loves you a lot,” reads the sweet Korean message translated to English. “Congrats to my members for our No. 1. I’m happy because you guys are here with me. You know the ones I love and are most thankful for are ARMYs, right? ARMYs need to be congratulated!”

He added that he’s “still crying,” before sharing another thought. “I just talked with Suga right now but thank you so much, and thank you again. I’m so sorry ARMY, I really don’t know what to write here, tears keep forming.”

“I can’t.think straight, but this is your achievement and you should be congratulated. I hope you’re feeling as happy. Thank you and thank you again,” Jimin concluded.

See below.