(March 11, 2024).  We’re nine months into its release, and the huge hit single by this year’s Best New Artist Grammy winner keeps on winning. 

And now “grown folks” are apparently down for the ride as well, according to the magazine that tells us what Americans consume and what we don’t, musically speaking.

That magazine would be Billboard.  And on their latest Adult R&B Airplay chart (dated March 9), Monét’s brassy bouncer climbed from No. 2 to No. 1 in its 28th week on the list (going back to last summer).

As a bit of background, I like to think of Adult R&B Airplay as the R&B version of pop music’s Adult Contemporary, or more true to the culture, it’s what I affectionately refer to as the Grown Folks’ Music chart.

And Monét’s crowning of it is just the latest win for the 34-year-old multi-hyphenate artist who’s been writing other people’s hits for years but finally scored the biggest breakout of her own career with “On My Mama” after its release last June.

Cover art for “On My Mama” by Victoria Monét (2023)

Since then, the song has climbed several charts, including Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay, where it reached No. 1 in November (the four-month crossover delay between what younger, mainstream listeners tune in to and what we grown folks like is true to form, isn’t it?).

Between its two multi-generational R&B chart victories, “On My Mama” helped Monét earn seven Grammy nominations, including specifically for Record of the Year and Best R&B Song.  She didn’t win those but did take home three other trophies last month, including Best New Artist and two awards for the song’s parent LP, Jaguar II: Best R&B Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

And now “Mama,” which peaked on the all-genre Hot 100 at No. 33 in February, is getting some pop crossover love too (it ranks No. 23 on Billboard’s most recent Pop Airplay chart).

And just this past week (on March 6), the Sacramento, CA singer/songwriter — by way of her native Atlanta — performed at the Billboard Women in Music event where she received the famous publication’s “Rising Star” honor.

So what is it that’s causing all this love to be thrown Monét’s way for a nine-month-old tune whose title could be interpreted several ways and for an artist who, before the song’s release, enjoyed most of her success as a behind-the-scenes creator of other people’s hits?

A better question is what’s not to love about it?

“On My Mama” is an understated but captivating anthem — one that’s particularly reaffirming for women — that not only exudes self-confidence but also boasts an irresistible sonic appeal.

With its throwback melody — throwback not from a copycat standpoint but merely because there’s emphasis on it — and some nostalgic horn riffs reminiscent of classic soul and R&B, the song effortlessly blends old-school flavor with modern flair, creating a musical experience that resonates with listeners of all ages and races.

But it’s not just the retro vibes that make “On My Mama” so special; it’s also the clever use of a familiar sample.

By incorporating a snippet from Chalie Boy’s 2009 hit “I Look Good,” Monét adds an extra layer of familiarity and nostalgia to “On My Mama.” The sample serves as a nod to the not-so-distant past while seamlessly integrating with the song’s fresh, contemporary sound á la Monét’s 2020s’ lyrical cadence.

And then there are those lyrics, which are all about self-empowerment without all the drama.  Yes, she’s boasting (“I look fly, I look good”), but it’s all done positively without tearing down other women.

In a world where self-confidence is often undervalued or misunderstood, Monét’s song serves as a reminder of the importance of owning one’s worth and embracing one’s journey. 

Her journey with “On My Mama” is itself multi-generational.  She has said in interviews that she wrote the song while dealing with postpartum anxiety after the birth of her first child a couple years ago.  And then the song — as the title suggests — serves as an ode to her own mother, from whom she derives her beauty.

Within that context, Monét is lifting up women everywhere of all ages, celebrating her own worth while giving a nod to all the badass moms out there. It’s like she’s saying, “I see you, I respect you, and I’m owning my own power too.”

“On My Mama” could easily be this generation’s “I’m Every Woman,” except it gets across its message without the rousing, shout-for-the-rafters vocals that the 20th century classic’s two famous versions by R&B legends Chaka and Whitney used.

We’re firmly entrenched in a new era where such vocal theatrics are not needed.  But it’s nice to know that those uplifting messages, however they’re delivered, still matter and can find their way into a 2023/24 hit song.

“On My Mama” is a testament to the strength and beauty of womanhood, deserving of celebration and recognition every month, but especially this one.

It’s also a true testament to Monét’s artistry and attention to lyrical and musical detail that “On My Mama” continues to be such a huge success.  It’s a modern day classic that should continue to cause heads to bop and ears to listen as we celebrate Women’s History Month, with Mother’s Day just nine weeks away. 

By that time, “On My Mama” will be nearing its first birthday.

But given its universal message and appeal to kids and grown folks alike, something tells me that this rare gem will still be dotting radio station and personal playlists even then.

One thing’s for certain, I’ll definitely be here for it.

Congratulations to Victoria Monét for delivering a fantastic song for the ages, one that continues winning… on multiple levels.


DJRob (he/him) is a freelance music blogger from the East Coast who covers R&B, hip-hop, disco, pop, rock and country genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @djrobblog and on Meta’s Threads.

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