“Monie in the Middle / Where she at / In the middle.”
It’s hard to believe those lyrics first burst on the scene 30 years ago from the veteran rapper, Monie Love. Newsflash: Yes, we’re that old, lol.
Born Simone Johnson, July 2, 1970, Battersea, London, England. Monie Love has lived in New York since 1989, and is one of the few English hip-hop artists to achieve recognition in America. She first started recording back in 1988, releasing 12-inch singles. One of her first songs, “I Can Do This”, became a UK Top 40 hit in early 1989. Love has since worked with many other hip-hop legends including the Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah and others. She subsequently joined the Native Tongues Posse, while another hip-hop legend, Afrika Baby Bambaataa would produce her debut album.
But it was when she collaborated with artists Andy Cox and David Steele of the Fine Young Cannibals on the summer 1990 single, “Monie In The Middle”, that caught fire. There was also another lesser hit, called “It’s A Shame (My Sister)”. The latter also broke into the US Top 30. Soon after she penned her unforgettable verse on the hip-hop ladies anthem from Queen Latifah, “Ladies First”.
“To me, rap is a school. The heads are split between Public Enemy and KRS-One’s Boogie Down Productions. The students are me, Jungle Brothers, De La Soul . . . but the best thing about it is that the classroom is open to all.”
In 1991, she teamed up with Adeva on the UK Top 20 single “Ring My Bell”, as well as working with Queen Latifah and Almond Joy on the Bold Soul Sisters feminist project. Love was featured on her brother Dave Angel’s remix of Whitney Houston’s R&B hit “My Name Is Not Susan” in 1991, and appeared in the music video alongside Houston. Love’s 1992 single, “Full-Term Love,” from the Class Act movie soundtrack with Kid N’ Play, reached #7 on the Hot Hip-Hop Singles chart.
Two years later she branched out into acting, appearing in Forest Whitaker’s television movie, Strapped, and Ted Demme’s comedy-drama…