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TLC

TLC were one of the biggest-selling female R&B groups of all time, riding a blend of pop, hip-hop, and urban soul to superstardom during the '90s. Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, rapper Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas managed to appeal equally to pop and R&B audiences, blending catchy hooks and bouncy funk with a playful, confident attitude. Initially, their image was equal parts style and spirit, bolstered by a flamboyant, outrageous wardrobe. As time passed, they became equally well known for their chaotic personal lives, leaving a trail of headlines that read like a soap opera plot: arson, rehab, bankruptcy, serious illness, high-profile romances, and countless intragroup squabbles. After their star-making second album, CrazySexyCool, TLC fell into disarray, taking over four years to record the follow-up, Fanmail. Even so, they returned more popular than ever, and the hits kept coming. Tragedy struck in early 2002, when Lopes was killed in a car accident in Honduras.

TLC were formed in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1991, when Watkins and Lopes decided to split off from another group. In short order, they met Thomas, locally based producer Dallas Austin, and singer, songwriter, and producer Pebbles, who became their manager. They quickly scored a record deal with L.A. Reid and Babyface's new label, LaFace, and in 1992 issued their new jack-styled debut album, Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip. The video for the sexy, aggressive lead single, "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," established their quirky, colorful fashion sense, and true to her nickname, Lopes stirred some attention by wearing a condom over her left eye to promote safe sex. The song became a Top Ten Hot 100 hit, as did its follow-ups, the ballad "Baby-Baby-Baby" (a number two hit) and "What About Your Friends."

Not long before the release of their second album in late 1994, Lisa Lopes was arrested on arson charges. In an alcohol-fueled fit of rage, Lopes vented all the frustrations from her often-stormy relationship with NFL wide receiver Andre Rison, burning his Atlanta mansion to the ground and vandalizing several of his cars. Lopes' lawyers claimed that she had a drinking problem, and while Lopes herself wasn't happy with that defense, she avoided jail time with a sentence of five years' probation; she was also later admitted to an alcohol rehab program. All the publicity certainly didn't hurt CrazySexyCool, which became a blockbuster success, albeit for other reasons. Taking a cue from Salt-n-Pepa's makeover on Very Necessary, CrazySexyCool toned down the boisterousness of their first record in favor of a smoother, more mature presentation; they were still strong and sexual, but now fully adult as well, and were more involved (especially Lopes) in crafting their own material. The slinky lead single, "Creep," became TLC's first number one pop hit, topping the charts for four weeks. It was followed by three more Top Five singles: "Red Light Special," "Waterfalls" (which became their biggest hit ever, spending seven weeks at number one), and "Diggin' on You." TLC were a bona fide phenomenon, and their stylish videos and live performances kept upping the ante for outrageous fashion sense. CrazySexyCool eventually sold over 11 million copies in the U.S. alone, and won a Grammy for Best R&B Album.

All was not well, however. In 1995, TLC filed for bankruptcy, claiming debts of over 3.5 million dollars, in part stemming from Lopes' insurance payments over the arson incident. They also claimed they hadn't seen their fair share of royalties from CrazySexyCool; LaFace countered that they were simply trying to get a bigger contract. TLC did wind up splitting from Pebbles' management company over the money issues (not helped by the fact that Pebbles' marriage to LaFace head L.A. Reid had gone through a nasty breakup). What was more, it was announced that for some time Watkins had been battling sickle cell anemia, which sapped her energy and often made performing difficult. TLC spent much of 1996 getting their financial affairs in order, and were set to reenter the studio in the summer of 1997. The sessions had trouble getting off the ground, though, thanks to the group's public spat with producer Dallas Austin, claiming that his fee was far too high; not only had Austin played a significant role in the creation of their music, but the split was all the more awkward because he and Thomas had just had a son together. It took until early 1998 to finally resolve the producer situation, and Austin wound up handling the vast majority of the record. Still, it took quite some time to put together; Lopes announced in the summer of 1998 that she was working on a solo record, and Watkins tried her hand at acting with an appearance in the Hype Williams-directed Belly. All the delays, tension, and side projects fueled rumors of the group's impending breakup.

TLC's third album was finally released at the beginning of 1999. The hotly anticipated Fanmail debuted at number one, and its first single, "No Scrubs" -- a dismissal of men who didn't measure up -- topped the charts as well for four weeks. The critically acclaimed follow-up, "Unpretty," tackled unrealistic beauty standards and spent three weeks at number one. Fanmail wound up going six times platinum, and won another Best R&B Album Grammy. As TLC prepared to tour in late 1999, tensions between the individual members spilled over into a public feud; Watkins and Thomas criticized Lopes for putting herself before the group, and Lopes responded by blasting TLC's recent music and challenging her bandmates to record solo albums, so that fans could see who the real talent lay with. The blowup was only temporary, but rumors about TLC's future continued to swirl. Lopes continued to publicize her upcoming solo project, and Thomas eventually began working on her own album as well. Watkins married rapper Mack 10 in the summer of 2000 and had their first child not long after. Meanwhile, tabloid favorite Lopes continued to make headlines when she disappeared for over a week, missing a family function and a press conference (she turned out to be with a new boyfriend).

In 2001, TLC managed to regroup and enter the studio together to work on material for a new album. That summer, a report surfaced that Lopes had postponed a wedding with Rison. Meanwhile, her solo debut, Supernova, was scheduled for release and then scrapped on several occasions; it eventually came out overseas, but domestically Arista pulled the plug. Meanwhile, TLC's recording halted while Watkins was hospitalized from complications with her anemia. At the beginning of 2002, Lopes announced that she had signed a solo deal with the infamous Suge Knight's new label, Tha Row, for which she would begin recording a follow-up to the unreleased Supernova under the name N.I.N.A. (New Identity Non-Applicable). Sadly, she would never get the chance. Vacationing in her favorite getaway spot, Honduras, Lopes was driving a rented SUV with at least seven (possibly eight) passengers. Reportedly speeding, she lost control of the vehicle, which flipped over; she was the only member of the party to be seriously injured, and died from severe head trauma on April 25, 2002. The surviving members of TLC announced their intention to complete the album, 3D, which was released that November. 3D featured productions from Austin, as well as Missy Elliott and Timbaland, the Neptunes, Rodney Jerkins, Babyface, Raphael Saadiq, and Organized Noize. Only one of its singles -- "Damaged" -- hit the Hot 100, but the album went double platinum.

In June 2003, Watkins and Thomas performed as TLC at New York radio station Z100's Zootropia concert. Said to be TLC's last performance, Watkins and Thomas performed with a video projection of Lopes. Two years later, they co-starred in R U the Girl, a nine-episode reality television program on the UPN network, in which singers competed for the award of contributing to a single by the duo. Tiffany "O'so Krispie" Baker won and subsequently appeared on "I Bet," which did not chart in the U.S. In 2009, Watkins and Thomas continued to perform as TLC and planned to record. 20, an anthology released in October 2013, included "Meant to Be," a new song written by Ne-Yo. The song played during the closing credits of VH1's original movie CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which premiered a week after the set's release. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: 20

2. What About Your Friends

3. Baby, Baby, Baby

4. Hat 2 Da Back

5. Creep

6. Waterfalls

7. Red Light Special

8. Diggin' On You

9. Kick Your Game

10. No Scrubs

11. Unpretty

12. Silly Ho

13. Damaged

x

Track List: Now & Forever: The Hits

1. Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg

2. What About Your Friends

3. Hat 2 Da Back

4. Get It Up

5. Baby Baby Baby

6. Creep

7. Red Light Special

8. Waterfalls

9. Diggin' On You

10. Kick Your Game

11. Silly Ho

12. No Scrubs

13. Unpretty

15. Girl Talk

16. Damaged

17. Whoop De Woo

18. In Your Arms Tonight

19. Turntable

x

Track List: 3D (Explicit)

1. 3D (intro)

2. Quickie

3. Girl Talk

4. Turntable

5. In Your Arms Tonight

6. Over Me

7. Hands Up

8. Damaged

9. Dirty Dirty

10. So So Dumb

11. Good Love

12. Hey Hey Hey Hey

13. Give It To Me While It's Hot

x

Track List: FanMail

1. FanMail

2. The Vic-E Interpretation (Interlude)

3. Silly Ho

4. Whispering Playa (Interlude)

5. No Scrubs

6. I'm Good At Being Bad

7. If They Knew

8. I Miss You So Much

9. Unpretty

10. My Life

11. Shout

12. Come On Down

13. Dear Lie

14. Communicate (Interlude)

15. Lovesick

16. Automatic

17. Don't Pull Out On Me Yet

x

Track List: Crazy Sexy Cool

1. Intro-Lude

2. Creep

3. Kick Your Game

4. Diggin' On You

5. Case Of The Fake People

6. CrazySexyCool (Interlude)

7. Red Light Special

8. Waterfalls

9. Intermission-Lude

10. Let's Do It Again

11. If I Was Your Girlfriend

12. Sexy (Interlude)

13. Take Our Time

14. Can I Get A Witness (Interlude)

15. Switch

16. Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes

x

Track List: Ooooooohhh... On The TLC Tip

1. Intro

2. Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg

3. Shock Dat Monkey

5. Hat 2 Da Back

6. Das Da Way We Like Em

7. What About Your Friends

8. His Story

9. Intermission 2

10. Bad By Myself

11. Somethin You Wanna Know

12. Baby Baby Baby

13. This Is How It Should Be Done

14. Depend On Myself

15. Conclusion

x

Track List: Gift Wrapped Kiss (Single)

Comments

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I' will alway love their music. Has anyone seen the movie? Was it good
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To. Whom it. may concern musis is my words
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Its Gonna Last
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Miss left eye
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i love all yall, amazing, i cant beleivve how old i am, wow still love your music,
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Cteep, Ted Light Specisl, Diggin on you
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Miss left eye
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i like creep and srub
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john_etta
Creep
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R.I.P Left eye hope u guys keep going on ur songs
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I am a bbbbbbbbbbbb i i i i i i i i g g g g g g fan of tlc their are my favorite favorite girl group
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My favor women's group keep it up ladies Ms Chay
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We love u
Tlc
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I MISS YOU LEFT EYE
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favorite group rip left eye
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Super love you TLC "R.I.P" Left Eye
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My Favorite Group
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i miss left eye so mush and miss her rip left eye u were my fav
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Left eye I till love you rip you sweet baby
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left eye if you can see me right now I really miss you I feel bad that you had an acsadent iam 8 and my mommy said left eye is right beside me love you bye kayotric
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R.I.P Left eye you were my fav
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Tlc best group ever ����
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they are the best r b girl group of all time
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I love it
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I think about scream queens at the beginning of season 1
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follow me on IG: @CashMoneyBa n k z #MansionPart y A t l a n t a
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jashine121
Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now you've started reading this don't stop this is so freaky. But if you read this and ignore it then you will have very bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 144 mins. When you are done press space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen this is so freaky it actually works
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deandrey
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My all time favorite girl group, sexy style, and lyric.
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YOUR AMAZING IM A BIG FAN I REALLY LOVE LISA SAD SHES GONE
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You guys are beautiful and I really love your song no scrubs
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cagh2007
You are so pretty and I love you guys!!!!!!!
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You guys are are so pretty
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I a big fan of you I love you TLC forever r.i.p Lisa lopes
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bbgreedy
Y'all r Gorgeous TLC
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Love u tlc
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sharitza3
Love this song
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Are you going it was a bad thing that has been
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Like your cD
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I Love TLC
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miss.apuzzo
I love that band R.I.P Lisa left eye Lopes.
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I love them so much
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Hi tv i love your music from Helen hyatt
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Don't read this.you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life Now that you have been reading this don't stop If you ignore it you will have bad luck. Post this on 15 other songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen. This is freaky cause it actually works
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RIP LISA�� Love u Chilly and Tboz MTB TLC
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R.I.P LEFT EYE NOBODY WILL EVER BE LIKE U WE ALL MISS U AND U WILL NEVER EVER BE FORGOTTEN��� ! Love u rip remember that
u was the s**t and u still r I love
U
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Love TLC R.I.P. left eye
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Iove you left eye RIP QUEEN
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wendy28630
They called her Left Eye because a boyfriend always told her that her left eye was prettier than her right eye.
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Someday I will be like u have kids I will sing like u how can I make it happen
Show more

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