The Makings of Me is Monica's fifth studio album that was released on October 3, 2006 by J Records.
- Everytime Tha Beat Drop (featuring Dem Franchize Boyz)
- A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)
- Sideline Ho
- Why Her?
- Hell No (Leave Home) (featuring Twista)
- Doin' Me Right
- Raw (featuring Swizz Beatz)
- My Everything
- Gotta Move On
While most of Monica's fifth album wasn't recorded before the birth of her son, Rocko in May of 2005, she met with several songwriters & producers in preparation for the album during her pregnancy, including Missy Elliott & her regular co-producers, Cainon Lamb & Craig Brockman along with Bryan Michael Cox & Jermaine Dupri.
While both Elliott and Dupri contributed most to the album, Monica was anxious to keep the number of collaborators close knit and intimate. She settled on working with a small amount of additional producers, including Sean Garrett, Harold Lilly, Swizz Beatz, Tank and The Underdogs. In total, their sessions resulted in forty finished records.
At different times, Monica also recorded with duo Dre & Vidal as well as Tricky Stewart, Scott Storch, Jazze Pha, No I.D., and rappers Mannie Fresh, Akon and Young Jeezy, though none of the songs produced with them eventually made the final track listing.
However, some of the songs such as "Ain't Nothing", "So in Love", and "Why Lie", appeared on her 2007 mixtape "Greg Street Present......Monica Made: The Mixtape" were later leaked onto the internet.
Although the project was tentatively titled "Street Butterfly," "Raw" or "A Dozen Roses" at one time or another, the album was eventually named after Curtis Mayfield's song, "The Makings of Me" from his debut album, "Curtis" [which is sampled in the track "A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)"].
When asked about the meaning of the title, Monica elaborated in a 2006 interview with Billboard, saying that "this album is really the makings of me because it talks about so many different scenarios, both good and bad, that have pretty much brought me to the point where I'm at mentally. She compared it with a "musical diary where people can really see me in a lot of different lights for once."
"The Makings of Me" peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, with moderately successful first-week sales of 92,935 copies (which was about half as much as her previous album, "After the Storm").
It also became Monica's first album to top the R&B Albums chart and has sold over 328,000 copies domestically, making it her first album not to be certified by the RIAA.
"The Makings of Me" received generally positive reviews from most professional music critics.
Andy Kellman of Allmusic gave the album four stars out of five, calling it a "concise and mostly sweet (if occasionally unremarkable) set of songs" and praised Missy Elliott's input on the album.
Ryan Dombal of Entertainment Weekly declared it "a solid addition" to Monica's discography and although he saw her faltering on ballads such as "My Everything", he added: "the singer hints at mature contentment on her fourth CD — while retaining some angry edge, [...] scoring tough-talking venom."
USA Today writer Steve Jones, on the other hand, wrote: "Sweet ballads like 'My Everything' and the Curtis Mayfield-laced 'A Dozen Roses (You Remind Me)' find her nicely contented having found the one. But do her wrong or play her soft and she'll unleash a torrent of scorn [...] In the mid-90s, she was the sassy 14-year-old Miss Thang. Now she's full grown and not to be fooled with. Still, she can get the dancefloor popping."
People magazine gave the album three stars out of four, and found that "her fourth disc, demonstrates why the singer has been able to outlast many an R&B ingenue."
In a mixed review, Clover Hope of Billboard magazine wrote that "while The Makings of Me has its needless trendchasing moments, her rich voice and prime subject are the main draw". He criticized the album for its "avoidable" lead single "Everytime tha Beat Drop", writing that "Monica is good enough without the fluff."
In his review for About.com, Mark Edward Nero noted that it was "a very personal album that listening to it is almost like reading a diary."
While he applauded the songwriting and song production as "excellent," he cited a "lack of emotion" in Monica's voice: "She cuts loose, but for the most part, Monica seems more concerned with pitch-perfect singing than singing with genuine emotion. In addition, he also criticised the shortness of the album.
USA Today gave the album three stars out of four and called Monica "full grown and not to be fooled with" while Ebony hailed the album as "full of variety, depth, and maturity."