Home > Uncategorized > Chasing Waterfalls: Remembering T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli

Chasing Waterfalls: Remembering T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli

TLC is my favorite musical group. Always has been and always will be.

I first heard TLC nearly 20 years ago when my family first got cable. I wasn’t allowed to watch television at the time so I would turn the volume down on the television and flip through the channels while grandmother was cooking. MTV was one of the first channels that I flipped to accidentally and I was immediately addicted. The first music video that I remember watching is TLC’s “Baby, Baby, Baby”. I fell in love with them instantly. I tried to mimick T-Boz’ deep husky voice, Left Eye helped introduce me to condoms/safe sex, and I was captivated by Chilli’s beauty. I learned every song from their first album, bought the poster, the T-shirt, and all of their magazine covers. But it was their second album that changed the way that I thought about music.

CrazySexyCool, debuted during my freshman year of high school. I have to admit, I wasn’t as impressed with the first two singles “Creep” and “Red Light Special”. But the third single “Waterfalls” – a warning about drug abuse, gang violence, and unprotected sex – delivered.  As an aspiring entertainer TLC taught me that music didn’t have to be about relationships, money, guns, or material objects (the prevalent subject matter of black music at the time). Rather, it could also have a social meaning.  Combined with gender bender performances and outfits laced with condoms, this hint of social consciousness separated TLC from their contemporaries. Every song that I’ve written since then has been informed in some way by “Waterfalls”.

On April 25, 2002 TLC’s career was cut short by the untimely death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes in a car accident while vacationing in Honduras. I was devastated. The group went on to complete an album begun prior to Left Eye’s death and have since retired. Most recently T-Boz was on Celebrity Apprentice and Chilli has a Vh1 celebreality show.

Here are my top 7 TLC songs. What are yours?

1. “Damaged”, from 3D

2. “Baby, Baby, Baby”, from Ooooh… on the TLC Tip

3. “Waterfalls”, from CrazySexyCool

4. “Unpretty” from Fanmail

5. “If They Knew” from Fanmail

6. “Something Wicked This Way Goes” from CrazySexyCool

7. “Turntable” from 3D

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