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"The Boy Is Mine" is a duet by American singers Brandy and Monica. The song was written and composed by LaShawn Daniels, Japhe Tejeda, Fred Jerkins III, Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, and Brandy with co-production by Darkchild and Dallas Austin. It was released as the lead single from both singers' second albums, Never Say Never (1998) by Brandy and the album of the same name (1998) by Monica, during the second quarter of 1998. Described as an answer song to Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney's 1982 duet "The Girl Is Mine", the lyrics of the mid-tempo R&B track revolve around two women disputing the love of a man.[2]

"The Boy Is Mine"
The Boy Is Mine (Brandy single) coverart.jpg
Single by Brandy and Monica
from the album Never Say Never and The Boy Is Mine
Released May 19, 1998 (1998-05-19)
  • 4:54 (album version)
  • 4:03 (radio version)
Brandy singles chronology
"Missing You"
(1996) Missing You1996
"The Boy Is Mine"
(1998) The Boy Is Mine1998
"Top of the World"
Monica singles chronology
"For You I Will"
(1997) For You I Will1997
"The Boy Is Mine"
(1998) The Boy Is Mine1998
"The First Night"
(1998) The First Night1998
Top of the World1998

The song received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics and was the first number-one pop record for both artists, both stateside and internationally. Exploiting the media's presumption of a rivalry between the two young singers,[3] "The Boy Is Mine" became the best-selling song of the year in the US, spending 13 weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100 during the summer of 1998. Internationally, the single also achieved a strong charting, peaking at number-one in Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand, while reaching the top five on most of the other charts on which it appeared.[3]

The music video for the single was filmed by director Joseph Kahn in April 1998, and depicts the singers as both neighbours and challengers, fighting over the same man, only to end up as allies who amicably settle on dumping their unfaithful lover, played by Mekhi Phifer. The video was nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year and Best R&B Video. To date, their performance at the 1998 VMAs ceremony, held on September 10, 1998 in the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, remains Brandy and Monica's only television broadcast performance of the song.

"The Boy Is Mine" was awarded the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group and received nominations for both Record of the Year and Best R&B Song in 1999. At the Billboard Music Awards, the song won in three categories, including Hot 100 Sales Single of Year. In 2008, Billboard listed it 54th on its 50th Anniversary All-Time Hot 100 Top Songs chart, and 18th on the All-Time Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs countdown.[4] In 2012, after 14 years, the singers reunited on the single "It All Belongs to Me".


Background and compositionEdit

A sample from the song's chorus, featuring both singer's vocals.
"The Boy Is Mine" was partially inspired by "The Girl Is Mine", a 1982 duet by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney from Thriller (1982).

"The Boy Is Mine" was a song Brandy wrote with Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, his brother Fred Jerkins III, Japhe Tejeda, and LaShawn Daniels. The singer came up with its concept while watching The Jerry Springer Show tabloid talk show, where love triangles among the guests was the theme of an episode.[5] Created as a solo track, Brandy originally recorded the song alone.[6] After listening to the result, however, she and Jerkins thought it would work better as a duet,[7] an idea which was further inspired by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson's 1982 hit duet "The Girl Is Mine".[8] At Brandy's request, her label Atlantic Records approached fellow R&B teen singer Monica to collaborate.[9] Though the pair had seen each other in passing at award shows and several other live events, Brandy thought a duet would combat ongoing rumors that the singers were rivals.[7] With the permission of Clive Davis, who headed Monica's record company Arista Records, Monica eventually signed on to the project.[9]

Originally, the duo recorded their vocals for the song together with Jerkins and his team at the Record One Studios in North Hollywood. However, the joint recording was felt to be a failure so Monica re-recorded her vocals separately at the DARP Studios in Atlanta, Georgia with longtime contributor Dallas Austin.[7] Thus, Austin would later share the main production credit alongside Jerkins.[10] Though both Brandy and Monica repeatedly denied the song reflected any actual rivalry between them, tabloids began writing the opposite.[11] There were claims that Monica was upset when Brandy performed the song solo on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Brandy reportedly was miffed when Monica opted to take the name of the duet for the title of her second album.[11] Following gossip reports that the pair came to blows during a rehearsal for a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 1998, talk of the rivalry became so loud that the singers' managers released a joint statement in which they dismissed the press for its "disturbing behavior" and called the "ongoing negativity [as] totally unfair."[11] As with "The Boy Is Mine" Jerkins later claimed that both singers "they didn’t get along" during production and that he and Dexter Simmons remixed the track seven times to keep everything even.[12] In a 2012 interview with WZMX, Monica spoke about her past relationship with Brandy:

"We were young. We could barely stay in the room with each other. By no means was it jealousy or envy. She and I are polar opposites and instead of embracing that, we used our differences as reasons not to be amongst each other."[13]

The song has a tempo of 93 beats per minute.[14] Written in the key of C minor, the song follows a chord progression of Fm9–Cm9, and the vocals span from G3 to F4.[15]


Chart performanceEdit

On June 6, 1998, "The Boy Is Mine" became both singers' first solo number-one hit and fifth top ten entry for each on the US Billboard Hot 100.[16] Bouncing from number 23 to the top spot, it became the second song in the history of the chart to ascend directly to number-one from a previous position beneath the Top 20, following The Beatles and the 27–1 leap of their single "Can't Buy Me Love" in April 1964.[16] In addition, it was the first number-one collaboration between solo women since 1979's two-weeks number-one run of "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," performed by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer.[17] The same week, "The Boy Is Mine" also moved to number-one on the Hot R&B Singles, Hot 100 Singles Sales and Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales charts.[16] Within the first month of its purchasable release the song went on to sell 605,000 units.[18] It spent thirteen consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and has since been ranked among the longest running number-one songs in US chart history, sharing this record with Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" (1992). "The Boy Is Mine" was the best-selling single of 1998 in the US, with sales of 2,591,000, with the second best-selling single being Next's "Too Close".[19][20] It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and was ranked eighth on Billboard's Decade-End Charts.[21] The song spent 18 weeks in the top 10 and a total of 27 weeks in the Top 50.[citation needed]

Outside the US, "The Boy Is Mine" reached the top-ten in over 14 countries and topped the chart in Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand. In Canada, the song debuted on the RPM Singles Chart at number 74 on the RPM issue dated June 1, 1998,[22] and reached the top spot of the chart on August 21, 1998.[23] It was present on the chart for a total of 45 weeks.[24] It reached the top-two in Belgium, France (platinum), Ireland, Norway (gold), and the United Kingdom (platinum); the top-five in Australia, Germany (gold), Sweden, and Switzerland (gold) and the top-ten in Austria (gold) and Italy.[25]

Awards and recognitionsEdit

The single won many prestigious awards throughout 1998 and 1999. It was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 41st annual ceremony, winning both singers their first prize by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category. It, however, lost in its nominations for Record of the Year and Best R&B Song to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" and Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" respectively. The song garnered three Billboard Music Awards. It was also nominated for Record of the Year. It is listed as the 62nd on the most successful singles in France ever.[26] It is also listed among one of the most successful 200 singles in Australia, Netherlands and Belgium in music history.[27]

The song has a legacy of being one of the biggest songs in pop history. It was listed as number 55 of the Hot 100 singles of all time by Billboard [28] in 1998. This position was raised to number 54 in 2008.[29] In addition, it was listed 18th on the All-Time Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs countdown.[4] In 2008, Billboard ranked the song third on a special The 40 Biggest Duets of All Time listing.[12] The song is the best-selling song of 1998 in the United States with 2.6 million copies sold.[30]

Music videoEdit

The official music video uses the radio edit without intro. The video begins with the girls in their respective apartments, watching television. While Brandy watches an episode of The Jerry Springer Show, whose title is that of the song, Monica accidentally turns Brandy's TV to a romantic movie, in which Monica is watching her own TV set. Whenever Brandy or Monica turns the channel, the other's TV stays on that channel and they grow sick of it. They then give up and start to sing. The next scene shows Brandy and Monica discussing their problem with their separate groups of friends. The "boy" himself (played by Phifer) then appears outside the two girls' apartments, where all their friends walk by him as they exit their respective friend's place. The girls are wearing pyjamas in the next scene, and then each one calls the boy over to choose who he wants to be with. After Brandy and Monica fight with words, the boy comes to the apartment, frustrated over whom to choose. The door opens, and only Brandy is shown. Then it swings a little wider to reveal Monica as well. The boy is surprised and the door is slammed in his face.

The video premiered on April 29, 1998, and was nominated for two 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, for Best R&B Video and Video of the Year, but lost to both Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November" and Madonna's "Ray of Light" respectively.

Live performancesEdit

Brandy first performed the song by herself on The Tonight Show. Following that, she and Monica first performed "The Boy Is Mine" together at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, California on September 10, 1998.[31] The pair came together for a second time surprise performance at Atlanta’s V103 Soul Session on December 16, 2008, singing a cappella.[32] In 2012, Brandy and Monica performed the song, as well as their new duet It All Belongs To Me at V-103's "Conversation/Soul Session".[33]

Track listingsEdit

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from the Never Say Never liner notes.[10]

Charts and certificationsEdit

Preceded by
"Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls
Canadian Singles Chart number-one single
August 17, 1998
Succeeded by
"Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls
Preceded by
"Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)" by Pras Michel featuring ODB and Mýa
Dutch Top 40 number one single
July 11–18, 1998
Succeeded by
"De Bestemming" by Marco Borsato
Preceded by
"We Don't Know How Lucky We Are" by Fred Dagg
RIANZ number one single
July 12–26, 1998
Succeeded by
"Kung Fu Fighting" by Bus Stop featuring Carl Douglas
Preceded by
"Too Close" by Next
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
June 6, 1998 – August 29, 1998
Succeeded by
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith
Preceded by
"I Get Lonely" by Janet
Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks number-one single
June 6, 1998 – July 25, 1998
Succeeded by
"Friend of Mine" by Kelly Price

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[62] Platinum 70,000^
France (SNEP)[63] Platinum 662,000[64]
Germany (BVMI)[65] Gold 250,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[66] Platinum 0*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[67] Gold 5,000*
Sweden (GLF)[68] Gold 15,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[69] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[70] Platinum 625,000[71]
United States (RIAA)[72] 2× Platinum 2,591,000[19]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


Acclaimed Music[73]
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Billboard United States 1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download 2010 -
Bruce Pollock - The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 2005 -
Michaelangelo Matos - Top 100 Singles of the 1990s 2001
(*) designates lists that are unordered.

Release historyEdit

Purchasable releaseEdit

Release dates, record label and format details
Country Date Format
United States[18] May 5, 1998 Radio
United States[18] May 19, 1998 CD single

Cover versions and remixesEdit

Riley as Mercedes (left) and Rivera as Santana (right) recorded a cover version of the song.
  • In 1998, UK garage group Architechs remixed "The Boy Is Mine", and released it as a white label bootleg which eventually sold 20,000 copies. This remix became highly popular due to incessant airplay on pirate radio.[74]
  • In 2001, Brandy and Monica's vocals were merged with Modjo's 2000 dance hit single "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" by British DJs Stuntmasterz. Starting as an underground hit, "The Ladyboy Is Mine" was later commercially released to become a moderate hit across Europe, reaching the top ten in the United Kingdom, Belgium and top forty in France and Switzerland. The commercial release didn't include the vocal sample from Modjo's "Lady" as Warner Brothers label East West were unable to clear it. Instead the release used the same sample from Chic's "Soup for one" and created an alternate version that only featured Brandy and Monica.[75]
  • A remixed version of the song by pop-singers Tynisha Keli and BENI was released in 2009.
  • In 2015, the French girl band When We Were Young released a French language version featuring the French rapper Dry.[76]
  • In 2015, "The Boy Is Mine" was sampled on "The Girl Is Mine" by British music duo 99 Souls.
  • In 2016, the song was covered by producer J2 and featured StarGzrLily and Anjolee The Free. It was used in the trailers for the 2016 film When the Bough Breaks.[77]


Chart (2010) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 76
UK Singles Chart 62
Irish Singles Chart 46
Canadian Hot 100 60
ARIA Charts 90

See alsoEdit


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  7. ^ a b c Gardner, Elysa (1998-07-07). "Next From the Diva Machine". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
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External linksEdit