[People] Monica Opens Up About Joining Forces with Brandy for Verzuz Battle: ‘She Is an Icon’

The R&B singer — whose new show, Infamy: When Fame Turns Deadly premiers on vH1 Monday — is opening up about her fond memories with Brandy, whom she collaborated with on the 1998 classic “The Boy Is Mine.”

Last summer, the two stars teamed up for an epic Verzuz battle, where they admitted that before appearing on the show, they hadn’t spoken for eight years.

“Well, here’s the thing. People, you know, were picking apart every second of every facial expression, right? How we moved and what we said, but you realize that’s the first time we had been in each other’s space — in any capacity — for almost a decade,”  Monica, 40, tells PEOPLE (the TV Show!) in Friday’s episode.

“But what I love about it is it opened the floodgates to the conversations that needed to be had between the two of us,” she adds. “Brandy is a legend. She is an icon and she is to be respected.”

Speaking of their past dynamic, Monica said that people “were putting us against each other before we ever were in the same room.”

“As we got older, we realized that we could control what that narrative was. And we kind of took the bull by the horns after Verzuz,” she adds. 

In fact, Brandy was by Monica’s side for one of the biggest highlights of her life: winning a Grammy for the track in 1998.

“That was a moment where I really felt appreciated,” she recalls, noting that at the time she was just 18. “That was really special.”

Speaking about their relationship during Verzuz, Monica told Brandy that she had been looking forward to the opportunity to speak face-to-face.

“The more we were talked about, the more it came to be difficult, unnecessarily. I really, really am a straight shooter and I really do admire what you’ve done musically and what you’ve had to endure personally,” she said during the friendly battle.

“I have the utmost love and respect for you as well, for somebody to start at 12 years old,” added Brandy. “The longevity of your career, nobody [knows] what you’ve been through.”

Infamy: When Fame Turns Deadly premieres Monday, June 7, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.