They Reminisce Over You Podcast

TLC cover art for episode 48 of the They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Mar 10, 2023

Episode 48: TLC - What About Your Friends?

Episode Summary

We take a trip down memory lane and revisit one of the most iconic girl groups of all time. We'll explore their journey to fame, from their debut album "Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip" to their second and third albums, "CrazySexyCool" and "FanMail." We'll also delve into some of their trials and tribulations, including Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes' legal troubles and issues with their management team and LaFace Records. Despite the hardships, TLC left a mark on the music industry and pop culture. Join us as we celebrate the music, fashion, and legacy of TLC.


Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. We wanted to take a minute to make a small request of all our listeners. If you're listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Goodpods or Podchaser, leave us a five star rating. You can also leave a review as well on Apple, Goodpods and Podchaser. Ratings, and reviews will help us with discoverability. And we want to get this out to as many like-minded folks as we can.

Miguel: We wanna get on the first page of these podcast apps.

Christina: And to move up on the charts as well. So help us get the word out.

Miguel: Make sure to follow and interact with us on social media. We're @troypodcast on the 'gram and the bird. Also check out our website, It's where we post links to a lot of the things that we mention in the show, as well as transcripts and themed playlists that supplement our episodes and more.

Christina: Thank you again for your support. You ready to get into the show?

Miguel: Let's do it.

[theme music]

Miguel: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. And today we're gonna talk about the best selling girl group of all time. And they ain't no silly hoes.

Miguel: They're not silly hoes.

Christina: And, if you haven't figured that out, we're talking about TLC.

Miguel: Yes. T-Boz. Left Eye and Chilli.

Christina: [mimics air horns]

Miguel: I should've played an air horn right there. But, we gonna stick with yours. You wanna just get right into it?

Christina: Let's do it.

Miguel: So, let's just start at the beginning.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: The very beginnings of TLC or as they were known at that time, 2nd Nature. It was put together by a young lady by the name of Crystal Jones, who was looking for a singer and a rapper to join the group that she was trying to put together.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: Basically she wanted to be like the female version of Bell Biv Devoe. Two people answered the call, T-Boz, who was just going by Tionne at the time, and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. They were the ones who were chosen to join her in this group. They had a connect through T-Boz job who hooked them up with an audition for Pebbles. She liked them. She wanted to sign 'em to her multiple companies, which we're gonna get into later because that ends up being a problem. And she changed their name from 2nd Nature to TLC to reflect the initials of the three ladies, T or Tionne, L for Lisa and C for Crystal.

Christina: Not Chilli. Chilli's nowhere to be found just yet.

Miguel: Not yet. She came on couple months later.

Miguel: I don't know if you read this or knew this, but Crystal says she was kicked out of the group because of asking too many questions about contracts and whatnot.

Christina: I just read that earlier today. That's not what T-Boz says.

Miguel: T-Boz says this happened before the contracts were even brought into play. I think it was somewhere in the middle. That the truth is a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Christina: I just saw a little snippet just before we started recording that, I think it was T-Boz, or maybe it was Chilli who said, "I'd be mad if I got kicked outta my own group too."

Miguel: Yes. Like, you started the group and then they kick you out and go on to multi-platinum success. That would suck.

Christina: Yeah, I'd be a little salty too.

Miguel: Did you happen to listen to their first appearance on "60 Seconds" by Damien Dame?

Christina: I did not.

Miguel: It's very quick. They got in, got out, they had a couple lines, and that's it. It was just when they were still a duo. It was just T-Boz and Left Eye. And ironically Chilli was one of Damien Dame's backup dancers, and that's how they ended up finding her and bringing her in.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: But my question is, what was she doing as a backup dancer around LaFace? And nobody knew she could sing. That, that just seems like a waste to me.

Christina: Maybe she was pursuing dance at the time and—

Miguel: I don't know.

Christina: I don't know.

Miguel: I, I just think it's funny that she was there and it took them two months to find her, like…

Christina: I don't know.

Miguel: But their first appearance as a trio was on a Jermaine Jackson song of all things called "Rebel (With a Cause.")

Christina: Oh.

Miguel: It was on his only album that was on LaFace, so they are on that one. And I believe they did some backing vocals[1] on his diss record towards Michael as well.

Christina: Oh God.

Miguel: "Word to the Badd."[2] Bad with two D's.

Christina: "Word to the Badd" because people say things like that.

Miguel: I wonder who that could've been about? So, that leads us to their first album. Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip.

Christina: You gotta say it like that.

Miguel: Yeah, you do. Because there's like, how many O's in it? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 O's and three H's.

Christina: Yep.

Miguel: So, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip. Oh man. So, we've talked about our musical journeys several times on this show. The different things we were listening to. So, where did TLC fit into what 13 year old Christina was doing in 1992?

Christina: Well, this fit right in because of, I think, was this around… Bell Biv Devoe had already been out? Yeah.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because as you were saying in the intro, I was thinking about this and one of the questions you posed to me in preparation for this was, how did TLC influence girl groups that came after them? And I was thinking about girl groups in general. I'm like, they're not even really like girl groups. I'm like, they actually kind of remind me more of like, a Bell Biv Devoe.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So, come to find out, that was kind of the point.

Miguel: Yes. That's what they were going for.

Christina: Yeah, so I guess it worked, because…

Miguel: Consider it a success.

Christina: Yeah, so I mean, I was already listening to Bell Biv Devoe, and just, I don't know, whatever else was around the time it fit right in. Even though they were, young adults, they were fun, they were colorful, they were cool, they were confident. So, it's things that a 13 year old me would like as well.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I used to wear my hair in a bun like Left Eye all the time, too.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: Of course, all the, the bright clothes and whatnot. It fit right in with everything else.

Miguel: For me, I actually thought they were the same age as me because I was…17 at the time, so, I just thought they were some sassy ass high school students. Those fast ass girls that my Grandmama was talking about.

Christina: I could see that. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure if I realized they were adults. I think I knew they were at least older than me, but I don't remember if I thought they were maybe older teenagers.

Miguel: Nah I just thought they were high school students and realizing later that they were just small women. Because they're like five, six years older than me.

Christina: The original 3LW.

Miguel: Exactly. So, I didn't even realize until probably like, TV interview or magazine interview and was like, wait a minute, they're this old? I had no idea.

Christina: Well, considering they made safe sex a part of their image, with wearing condoms on their clothes, I would hope that they were at least adults.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But when you're a kid, you don't really think about that kind of stuff.

Miguel: Like I said, I was 16, 17 at the time. So, they looked like high school girls.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: I just thought they were progressive. Progressive high school girls.

Christina: Yes. You're like, teenagers have sex.

Miguel: Yeah, I was all for it. It was like, wait a minute. They're out here doing songs about sex?

Christina: Fast ass girls.

Miguel: They're they're these fast ass high school girls. This is right up my alley. This is playing into everything that I wanted high school to be. Not realizing that it wasn't high school and they were probably college age. Oh, well…

Christina: The appeal was still there.

Miguel: It was.

Christina: Well, I mean they had a lot of young fans. I'm sure they had fans their age too, but I was just watching clips of one of their performance and Left Eye's doing her part on, "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" about the hard, how does the line go?

Miguel: "Three inches or a yard, rock hard or if it's saggin'"[3]

Christina: Yes. And there's just all these kids singing along and she's all, "Hey, who Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg!" And I'm like, wow. I mean, if I was there, I would've been chanting "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" too.

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: So again, as a teenager, like, you don't think about these kinds of things. You're just like, I'm grown.

Miguel: Yeah, pretty much.

Christina: I don't know exactly what she means by I "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," but, I can sing along.

Miguel: Oh man. Yeah, the first album, it was really big. It was surprisingly big compared to other groups that were out at the time. There was no like, slow build with TLC.

Christina: Right.

Miguel:Like, they came out of the gate making hits.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg." It's all over tv, it's all over BET and MTV and whatnot. It's all over the radio. What were your thoughts on the first song?

Christina: I mean, I loved it right away. Like I said, they were different from girl groups in general.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: 'Cause they had two lead singers and a a rapper. Like, you don't usually see a lineup like that.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Usually it's like, a lead singer and the other two kind of harmonize with them.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And this is during that era where, you know, we always talk about, we were so hopeful in the early 90s. Like, in the, in the 90s, you know, women can do all these things and everything's gonna be great. So they kind of represented that. And I think because this album came out in '92, it still had that new jack swing. So everything was like really upbeat, party centric before we moved to '93 and everything got a little more gray.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: We traded in our Cross Colours for like, plaid and combat boots.

Miguel: Even though they were wearing the Doc Martins on this, too.

Christina: They were, but they were pairing it with like, yellow jeans.

Miguel: And red and gold hats.

Christina: Yeah. So, I think for me at that age, it fit right into that entryway of getting into more R&B and hip hop and stuff, because even though they sang about adult things, there's still a lot of appeal for a younger person.

Miguel: Yeah. It just seemed fun.

Christina: Yes. Overall they were fun.

Miguel: Yeah. And I was listening to it the other day for the first time in who knows how long. And a lot of it doesn't hold up, because it is very new jack swing heavy.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: But the singles are still surprisingly good.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Like, I'm sure you could throw these on at a party or at a club and they would still go off.

Christina: "Baby, baby, baby!"

Miguel: You, you put 'em in an old school set with "What About Your Friends?" and it's still gonna pop.

Christina: For me ,"Baby, Baby, Baby," well my favorite song off the album, and that still holds up for me.

Miguel: That was their first number one single.

Christina: Oh.

Miguel: I took your shine. Digging into the, the Billboard stuff.

Christina: That's okay. That's okay.

Miguel: "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" was number two and "Baby, Baby, Baby" went to number one.

Christina: I'm actually surprised that "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" went that high.

Miguel: Yeah. Right outta the gate. They went to number two.

Christina: Hey! I'm looking at the Billboard Hot 100 and it says "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" peaked at six.

Miguel: Where am I?

Christina: Now, are you looking at Hot 100? Are you looking at another chart?

Miguel: Oh no, I got 'em mixed up.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: It was number six, but it's still top ten.

Christina: It's still good.

Miguel: For your debut single.

Christina: And it's a new jack swing-y sound from three girls.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: That's still pretty good for a new act.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: Yeah. And then "Baby, Baby, Baby" peaked at two on The Hot 100. And then, "What About Your Friends"? I think that held up pretty good.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I think of the three, "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" might be the most dated.

Miguel: Easily.

So, the album, like I mentioned, was pretty successful. They sold like, 4 million copies. I believe today, it stands at about 6 million sold. Things are going well for them professionally. They got all these hit singles, and then Lisa burns down[4] Andre Rison's house.

Christina: She does.

Miguel: That was the first glimpse into how erratic she could possibly be because at this point we really didn't know much about them personally.

Christina: I don't even remember it that way. Like, I remember it, but when I was just, I ended up watching her documentary[5] and when they said, "and then they came back and recorded CrazySexyCool." I was like, wait a minute, this happened before? Like, I remembered it happening after.

Miguel: Nope.

Christina: Just because I think my memory of it happening after was because I was like, they were superstars by that time. But I guess I didn't realize how big they were.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: After the first album already.

Miguel: Yeah, they were huge then, and she burned his house down.

Christina: It was an accident.

Miguel: It was an accident.

Christina: The fire wasn't, but the burning the house down was.

Miguel: The fire was intentional and—

Christina: She just didn't think it would spread.

Miguel: Yeah. Apparently, the story goes that she set something else on fire in that same bathtub previously.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: She burned up some teddy bears and some other stuff that he gave her, but he ended up switching the tub out because it was damaged. It was a marble tub.

Christina: Oooooh.

Miguel: He switched it with a fiberglass tub. So, this time the shit went up in flames.

Christina: Yeeeaah.

Miguel: And I can imagine her standing there.

Christina: Like, I've done this shit before.

Miguel: Like, this didn't happen the last time. Standing there like, oh shit, what am I gonna do now?

Christina: Yeah. And it was bad.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Like, the entire top floor, just gone.

Miguel: Oh man, I, I don't mean to laugh because apparently they had a tumultuous relationship and some of this stuff was warranted. But her thinking that she could burn his stuff a second time, is pretty fucking funny.

Christina: She was like, I did this before. In the documentary she talks about it. And she's just basically explaining what led her to that breaking point. Like you said, they had a tumultuous relationship. She decided she was gonna go out with her girlfriends and stay out late just to piss him off because she said he was very protective of her and wanted her to stay home and blah, blah, blah.

And she came home at five in the morning and he wasn't home yet. So, now she's mad 'cause like the whole point of me staying out late was to piss him off. And he ain't even here. And then he pulls up like, five minutes after and she's still in the driveway and they start arguing, fighting. The fight moves into the house, and then she said she went to the closet and just saw all these new shoes that he had bought. "I don't see one size four in here. He didn't do nothing for me, not even buy me some tennis shoes!" That was her breaking point. So, she grabbed the shoes and burned them. So, I don't think in her mind, even though she had burned something there before, I don't think she was fully aware of like, I'm just gonna burn a little pair of shoes and it'll be cool.

Miguel: So, leading into the CrazySexyCool album, because of her legal issues and being sentenced to like jail time and court ordered rehab.

Christina: Oh, she only got probation.

Miguel: She did have to serve some time in a rehab.

Christina: Oh yeah. Yeah. She had to serve in rehab. Yeah.

Miguel: So, she really wasn't around to record as much on this album. So, that's why she's not on as many of of the songs as she was on the first one. But that didn't stop them from making more hits.

Christina: Not at all.

Miguel: They continued the train and got even bigger and possibly being like, one of the biggest acts in the world with that second album.

Christina: Yeah, because, I saw the stats that they're like the biggest selling girl group, but I'm not sure if it's like American girl group—

Miguel: No, it's global.

Christina: R&B or whatever.

Miguel: Just all time. They are at the top of that list.

Christina: I wasn't, I wasn't sure if there was any asterisk next to it.

Miguel: Nope.

Christina: All right. I'm gonna say that was thanks to "Waterfalls".

Miguel: It was, but "Creep" also went to number one on the Billboard chart as well.

Christina: True, true.

Miguel: And "Red Light Special" was like top three. "Digging' on You" was top four or five as well. So, they still had hits even outside of "Waterfalls."

Christina: I think that's just the one that kind of sticks.

Miguel: Yeah, that's by far their biggest record.

Christina: Yeah, for me it has gone into the, "This Is How We Do It"category.

Miguel: It's not that bad.

Christina: I can't hear it anymore. I can't do it.

Miguel: I'm not a huge fan of it either, but I'm not gonna turn it off if it comes on.

Christina: I probably would if I could. Which is not to say that it's a bad song. It's just, it's one of those that became this thing. But "Creep" is my shit.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: "Creep" with, the, those silk pajamas in the video.

Miguel: Well, just like I mentioned in our "Where My Girls At?" episode, that's the video where Chilli hit that mean ass backspin.

Christina: Yes. That you love so much.

Miguel: Because it's great.

Christina: Yeah. And "Red Light Special" and "Let's Do It Again." I like when Chilli gets a chance to flex her singing chops a little bit more.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Like, I think it, the album held up pretty good.

Miguel: Yeah, it's significantly better than the first album and it still sounds good 'cause like I said, I listened to it a couple days ago as well and it's still pretty fucking good.

Christina: And they got a Andre 3000 verse on there, so that doesn't hurt.

Miguel: Yep. You got Phife opening the album.

Christina: Yes, yes.

Miguel: Well, they had to fill some space with Left Eye not being around, so.

Christina: Let's bring in a couple other rappers.

Miguel: Yeah, let's bring in some ringers to fill in the gaps.

Christina: And have Diddy come in and do some skits.

Miguel: Right. I was watching an interview with Dallas Austin on Questlove Supreme, and he was just talking about the making of that album, and because the first one blew up so much, that's when everybody at the label decided they wanted to get in on it.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: He's like, they were pretty much left to their own devices on the first album.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: This go round is when LA and Babyface were like, okay, we gotta have this song placed here and this producer doing this and this guy doing that. And he's like, just let us do what we do. But eventually they ended up like, working it out where he became like, the main producer and oversaw the entire project, but they still had the outside producers like Diddy and Organized Noise and Chucky Thompson and whatnot. But it was still a Dallas Austin project. A Dallas Austin/TLC project. I felt that they were really big after the first album, but this is where they became global stars.

Christina: Yeah. And even in the documentary Lisa aka Left Eye said herself, she was like, well, since the whole burning the house down stuff became such a big story, she was like, let's just go with it. And they would, use that as part of their promo. Like, I remember that Vibe cover with them in firemen suits.[6]

Miguel: She actually got in trouble for that.

Christina: Oh really?

Miguel: Yeah, because she was on probation. And I read something that Chilli was mentioning, that when they showed up, they had like, policeman outfits. They had fireman outfits, they had something else and didn't even think about Lisa burning the house down when they were choosing these.[7]

Christina: What? I thought this was on purpose.

Miguel: No, it was an accident. She said, not until it came out. And they started getting the backlash from it when she realized, oh shit, we shouldn't have done this. So, the judge was like, she's rubbing this shit in our faces. And I think she ended up getting more time added to her, her, uh—

Christina: Oh no.

Miguel: Probation because of it. Because they're like, you not taking this seriously. You just burned this man's house down and here you are doing a magazine cover wearing a fireman's outfit.

Christina: Oh man. I thought that was on purpose.

Miguel: Nah it was, it was an accident. It was a happy accident, but an accident nonetheless.

Christina: I was like, Left Eye is wild.

Miguel: Exactly. And this kinda plays into the, the myth of Left Eye.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Like, of course she would burn this man's house down and then wear a fireman's suit on a magazine cover.

Christina: Oh man.

Miguel: So, what did you think about them at this point? Had you become a bigger fan or was it still pretty consistent?

Christina: I think I became a bigger fan. I think it's one of those things where, like with Aaliyah and Monica, where there were artists that came out that felt kind of, sort of the same age as me. It's like you feel like you grow with them.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: And so, with this album, it's definitely more mature than the the previous one. And I think that I grew with it too. They were still fun. But this album just sounds better.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Like, this one's more, more musical. I don't know.

Miguel: It's elevated.

Christina: It's elevated. Yes. So, I would say I prefer this album over the first one. And I think this one also stands the test of time a little bit better. Also, '94 was, what a time, right? Phife was on it. Andre 3000 is on it, Diddy's on it. So, you have the usual suspects like the Dallas Austin produced tracks. But then you have, just all these other artists and producers and whatnot that was doing stuff at the time too.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, it was kind of like, all your faves are together.

Miguel: I need to go back and listen to "Waterfalls" because apparently Cee Lo is on the background vocals as well.

Christina: What?

Miguel: I didn't know that until today.

Christina: Well, speaking of background singing, I was listening to "Let's Do It Again", and I heard a background vocal. I'm like, I know that ain't one of them.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: And I looked it up and it was Babyface, obviously.

Miguel: Oh yeah.

Christina: I mean, surprise, surprise. But I had never noticed that before. And we talk about this all the time. Better headphones…

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Apparently he's on, uh, "Red Light Special" too, but I can't—he's not as clear on that one.

Miguel: Yeah, there was one on the first album that I picked him out as well. It's blatantly obvious too, and I was like, I've never noticed this before.

Christina: Yeah, "Let's Do It Again," it's pretty, pretty obvious.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Now.

Miguel: Yeah, it was one of the album cuts. It wasn't like, a single or anything.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: But yeah, he was on that as well.

Christina: Right. Okay.

Miguel: I think this is a good place for us to take a quick break and we will be right back.

Christina: Are you enjoying this podcast?

Miguel: Hell yeah.

Christina: If you are as much as he is, there's a couple things that you can do. You can feel free to drop some coins into our collection plate at . And that's "ko-fi" K O dash F I .com. Link is also in the show notes. We're self-funded, so any support would be appreciated. And if you don't have any extra coins to spare, just leave us a 5 star rating or review. Like JLo's love, it won't cost you a thing.

Miguel: You just sitting at home on the couch anyhow.

Christina: Alright, thanks.

Miguel: Back to the show.

Miguel: Okay. We are back and we're gonna get into their next album, the third album, FanMail.

Christina: That did not hold up the test of time.

Miguel: Well—

Christina: Well, okay. No, no. Let me take that back. I mean the sort of the, the FanMail skits 'cause it's very, um, what you think the future is gonna sound like.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: The, those little skits and stuff, I was like, oh man, this sounds so like, we're the future! And then you get to the future and you're like, the future's nothing like this.

Miguel: It isn't. Apparently that was Left Eye's idea to name the album FanMail.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Because of all of the fan mail they were getting in the support of her burning down houses and whatnot.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: And having issues with not getting paid correctly. So, they wanted to thank the fans and I'm not gonna keep this part in.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Because it's a bit much. So, Dallas Austin said[8] that she came up with the idea of FanMail.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And she wanted to have the computer voice and all this stuff, but she also wanted to do a second part called fan2see dot com. And he's like, what is that? "It's like, we gonna get on the internet and be playing with ourselves" and people can pay for it.

Christina: Oh, so she thought of OnlyFans?

Miguel: She came up with OnlyFans years ago and him and the other girls were like, nah, we ain't doing that.

Christina: I think you should leave this in.

Miguel: Okay, I can.

Christina: Okay, so she is a visionary.

Miguel: She, this is what she wanted to do. And they're like, we're not doing that. So, he said, this is when she quit the group a second time.

Christina: Oh God!

Miguel: So, that's why there is that computer generated voice throughout the album because he had to replace her.

Christina: Ooooh.

Miguel: So, and I didn't even notice this until today. On "Silly Ho," that's not her rapping. I thought it was her voice chopped up that way.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: He said that he had to make that rap himself with the computer just using one word at a time, because she had, quote unquote, quit the group.

Christina: Right. Damn.

Miguel: In protest of not being able to do fan2see dot com. I really wish I could have been a friend of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes cause she sounds like a handful, yet fun as hell. I'm sure they didn't enjoy it a lot of times, but she sounds fun.

Christina: Oh man.

Miguel: But eventually she came back. And she was on the album. But this album itself had a lot of issues. Like I mentioned, they were having the problems with Pebbles and not getting paid. They had issues with Lisa and her legal stuff. And then Dallas Austin decided he wanted more money, which had to be an issue because he was dating, he was dating Chilli at the time.

Christina: And they had a child already.

Miguel: They had a child. They were living together, and he decided that he wanted creative control of the entire album, and he wanted 4 million to do it.

Christina: 4.2 I believe.

Miguel: 4.2. So all of this is happening before they can even get into the studio. So, let's go back a little bit.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel:Let's go back to 32 years ago today. February 28th, 1991 is when they signed their deal with Pebbles.

Christina: Oh?

Miguel: Here's the problem.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: She was the production company. She was their management company, she was their publishing company.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And then got them signed to her husband's label.

Christina: All right.

Miguel: Sounds like a little bit of conflict of interest.

Christina: She had her hands in every single jar.

Miguel: Everything.

Christina: Damn.

Miguel: And apparently, by the end of the second album, they had generated like 75 million dollars or whatever. They were making like 50K a year.

Christina: That's crazy.

Miguel: $50,000 a year after selling all of those records. And that's why they had to file for bankruptcy.

Christina: They could have just got a job at the local…

Miguel: Basically.

Christina: Whatever.

Miguel: It was like, just be a civilian if you gotta deal with all this shit. So yeah, that's a huge conflict of interest to have your manager own the production company and own your publishing as well. And then have you signed to your husband's label. So, it took 'em like two years to work all of this stuff out. They had to pay her 3 million to leave her management company.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And then another 2 million for the name TLC.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: They ended up getting an advance from LaFace for 10 million. But if you gotta pay her 5 million just to get your shit together, that's leaving five for them to split three ways and—

Christina: Tax and all that stuff.

Miguel: Taxes. So they got a little bit of money out of the deal, more than they were getting before, but still, that's a shitty situation to be in.

I saw an interview[9] where they said that they, uh, held Clive Davis hostage. Because Pebbles wouldn't tell 'em where the money was going.

Christina: Oh man.

Miguel: So, they were like, we are going to the chief. We're going straight to the top to find out where our money is. And Left Eye met some girls in the diversion center while she was in trouble. They took the three of them up there with 'em, had two stand guard outside, one in the room, and they held Clive Davis hostage until they got the answers they wanted.

Christina: Wow.

Miguel: Apparently they showed this in the movie[10] and people didn't believe it happened, but it's a true story apparently.

Christina: Yeah. We can't find the movie.

Miguel: Yeah, I really wanna see it because Keke Palmer's in it. And you know, I love Keke Palmer.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: And of course, Left Eye is being played by Lil' Mama. And just me thinking about that cracks me up.

Christina: Yeah, it's like that meme of, what's her name? "I would like to see that." Um, what's her name? I just forgot.

Miguel: Mo'Nique.

Christina: Yes, Mo'Nique.

Miguel: Yes. "I would like to see it."

Christina: So, basically Kandi and Tiny probably made more money off "No Scrubs" than they made off of their career.

Miguel: I'm sure, I'm sure they did.

Christina: Since they got paid twice when, old redhead to pay them[11] for that too.

Miguel: So, mentioning "No Scrubs", that's another one that went number one.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: "Unpretty" ended up going number one as well, but I found a, a few songs that were offered to them for the album that they turned down that ended up being hits for other people.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: Check this one out. "Where My Girls At?" They turned that down.

Christina: I could have seen them singing that.

Miguel: "Heartbreak Hotel" by Whitney Houston. Turned that one down too. "(Hit Me)…Baby One More Time." Turn that one down because it had baby in it and they had already done "Baby, Baby, Baby".

Christina: Ah, come on. They couldn't just change it to "hit me one more time?" I guess it's not the same, I suppose.

Miguel: And now that you think about it, that's why Britney is singing so low.

Christina: Yeah, cause it's—

Miguel: Trying to mimic T-Boz.

Christina: Yes. Hmm. That makes sense.

Miguel: It does. Now that you know it.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: And I didn't until earlier today.

Christina: It's interesting that you mentioned that song too, being that it became such a huge pop hit for Britney. This album felt very pop. Aside from, um, "Silly Ho", which is my favorite, off of this album. And "No Scrubs."

Miguel: It is, 'cause it's a great song.

Christina: Yes, I love it. Yeah, "Silly Ho" and "No Scrubs". Everything else was like, wow. Yeah. This is, for a different audience.

Miguel: I didn't think it was that bad, but it's just very dated.

Christina: Well—

Miguel: Like everything, like you said earlier, we're talking about the future. We're coming up on the year 2000, so—

Christina: Yeah. Right.

Miguel: A lot of stuff like that really didn't hold up.

Christina: Well, I—it's not necessarily a bad album, but like I said, it felt very much like, oh, "we are pop stars now" album.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: This is not the same group that was wearing condoms on their clothes. I mean, maybe they were personality wise, outside of the studio.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But the sound of this album is very much, we're the biggest girl group of all time.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Yeah, it sounds like it was meant for a quote unquote, wider audience.

Miguel: Yes. Now did you say whiter or wider?

Christina: No, I said wider, but, you can take it anyway you want.

Miguel: I know. I heard you. I just want to be an ass. Uh, the, the crime was there, so I took it.

Christina: If the shoe fits.

Miguel: Well, this album also birthed one of my favorite songs of all time. After "No Scrubs" came out, you had "No Pigeons"[12] by The Sporty Thievz, which is one—

Christina: "No Pigeons" sounds—

Miguel: Of my favorite songs.

Christina: Sounds like sour grapes.

Miguel: It was.

Christina: Even though I, I, like the song 'cause I think it's hilarious. And it's catchy.

Miguel: Yeah, exactly.

Christina: "You ain't getting nada."

Miguel: No, see you're—that's the wrong song, that's "Cheapskate."

Christina: Oh wait, wait, no. See I'm "Cheapskate." Yes. I forgot. And then they was like, oh, well since we're the king of the dusty men…

Miguel: So, yeah, "No Pigeons" is much better.

Christina: Nah, I think "Cheapskate"—

Miguel: Ol' boy crooning with his Tims on.

Christina: I think "Cheapskate" was catchier. But see, they shouldn't have done that though, because then they ended up, no pun intended, pigeonholing themselves.

Miguel: They did. They did.

Christina: And like I said, it just sounds like, hit dogs holler.

Miguel: Hey, it was funny. I liked it.

Christina: It was funny though. Which started, what would have been a Twitter war if we had Twitter at time.

Miguel: Yeah. Exactly. So, before we move on to the next album 3D, I wanted to mention some more Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes antics.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: So, after not being, you know, used as well as she thought she should have on this album and the one before it, she decided that she was gonna put an ad in a magazine.[13]

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And challenge T-Boz and Chilli and Dallas Austin. And I'm gonna read it to you.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: This is what she had printed. "I challenge—" I can't even get it out because, she calling them both player haters. "I challenge Tionne 'Player' Watkins and Rozonda 'Hater' Thomas to an album entitled The Challenge. A three CD set that contains three solo albums."

Christina: Oh man.

Miguel: "Each will be due to the record label by October 1st, 2000. I also challenge Dallas 'The Manipulator' Austin to produce all of the material and do it at a fraction of his normal rate. As I think about it, I'm sure LaFace would not mind throwing in a $1.5 million prize for the winner." How can you not love that?

Christina: I don't understand how, I don't know, or I don't remember any of this.

Miguel: Oh yeah, they were going back and forth in magazines, newspapers, TV interviews.

Christina: I don't know. You know what? I think I had just started school.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: 'Cause this is like 2000, 2001, right?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So, this is after FanMail?

Miguel: No, this is before and during.

Christina: During. Hmm. I don't know. I, I don't know how I missed all this.

Miguel: Yeah. Apparently she stopped showing up for events. And acting out on stage. Going full Kanye a little bit, and they're like, yeah, that's Lisa being Lisa, basically.

Christina: Right. In the documentary, she talked about how she was supposed to go to one of these promo events, and she decided to go to the Honduras again.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Which she loved going, and her and her then boyfriend were playing Tarzan and Jane in the, the rainforest and there's video footage of it. And I was like, what? And then people had thought that she'd gone missing and she was spotted like all over the world. And I was like, I don't remember any of this.

Miguel: I do. I remember, and like I said, it's probably hell for them but on the outside looking in I'm like, she is hilarious. And this is amazing. "Player" Watkins and "Hater" Thomas. That's great.

Christina: Yeah, I missed out on all of this.

Miguel: And then like, she comes back like, hey, I brought cookies.

Christina: I'm back. Let's record this album.

Miguel: Let's be friends again. Uh, yeah. Let's move on to the, the next album 3D. Like you mentioned, one of her trips to the Honduras. It didn't go too well because she ended up having a car accident. And passing away at the beginning of them recording this album.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, the verses that are on it, are kind of cobbled together from a solo album[14] that she had done the year before and some solo stuff she was working on for Death Row. So, she's really not on this album, but the the "Girl Talk" verse, you can tell that was done for this album. The other ones, they don't kind of fit the beats that they're on.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, you can tell which ones were tacked on at the end.

Christina: I actually never heard this album. I think, I at least heard "Girl Talk." I believe that was like they were lead single, right? I don't know.

Miguel: I believe it was the first single.

Christina: Yeah, it sounds familiar, but, more so the title than the actual song sounds familiar. 'Cause I was like, "Girl Talk," I'm pretty sure I've heard that. And then I listened to it. I was like, maybe? I don't know. But yeah, I don't know this album at all.

Miguel: I thought I didn't. Until I started listening to it and there was a, uh, a song produced by The Neptunes on it and I was like, you know what? I know this song. And not only do I know it, I know like all the words to it.

Christina: Oh?

Miguel: And it wasn't a single.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: It was, uh, "In Your Arms Tonight." 'Cause I'm sitting here listening to it and I'm like, I'm getting to points in the song before they even sing it.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And it's like, peak Neptunes too.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, I definitely knew this album, but I guess I just forgot and pushed it outta my mind or something.

Christina: I don't know, maybe you just heard that song on some mix tape or something because—

Miguel: No.

Christina: Why would you know this one song so well?

Miguel: I can't figure that out. I'm trying to figure it out.

Christina: And it's not even a single.

Miguel: It's not a single, so, that's why I figure I had to have had the album at some point, because I know that song well.

Christina: Yeah. That's weird that you happen to know this album track really well. Just one.

Miguel: I do. And it's probably my favorite TLC song, thinking back on it.

Christina: Like, ever?

Miguel: Ever.

Christina: What?

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I'm gonna have to pull this up.

Miguel: Because I love the Neptunes and like I said, it was peak Neptunes. This is when they were at their height.

Christina: I'll go back and check it out.

Miguel: All right, so, the last album that they did came out five years ago, and it's just called TLC. That one I definitely hadn't heard before until earlier today.

Christina: Same.

Miguel: What were your thoughts on it?

Christina: I mean, I don't even recognize it as TLC, honestly. Like T-Boz has such a distinct voice that even in this album, I don't know if it was the way it was mixed or way, the way she decided to sing, but like, if I just heard the song playing, I wouldn't have been like, is that TLC? I would have just thought it was somebody singing.

Miguel: Yeah, there are a couple songs on it that—I'd say two of them, two, maybe three, that kind of sound like the TLC that we know. But, it kind of falls into what we mentioned about other acts that have taken a few years off and they come back after 10 years or so and it's not the same.

Christina: Yeah. It's not the same, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I don't know if maybe it's the time away that makes the change feel abrupt. Because, you expect, I mean, it's not unusual for artists to change over years as they grow and maybe they have like new musical influences or whatnot, but it was just like, you're gone for a long time and you come back and it's completely different.

Miguel: Yeah. I think it would've been different if they had been consistently making music and kind of transitioned into this over time. But to be gone and then come back.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: And it's completely different outside of a couple songs. It was a bit much, for me.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: It wasn't bad, but it wasn't what I expected from TLC.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Like, if some other unnamed act had put this album out, I'd have been like, you know what? This is cool.

Christina: Maybe like you were saying, if you had told me it was somebody else, I might give it a chance, but as I was listening to this, I'm like, this is TLC?

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: Check the label.

Miguel: So, we don't have much to say about that album. So, I will ask you this though, like you kind of mentioned earlier. What do you think their influence was on other acts that came out in the 90s, early 2000s that kind of followed them? Your SWV, Total's and Blaque and—

Christina: Right.

Miguel: 702's.

Christina: When I think of these other girl groups, like I was saying, just because of their makeup, I don't think I see a direct influence just because girl groups generally aren't formed this way. Like I said, you got two lead singers and a rapper.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: I'm sure that these acts that followed them, were influenced by them or you know, listened to them and stuff. So, I feel like the influence was more of like, maybe helping to open doors for more girl groups.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: Rather than direct musical influence. The closest obviously would be Blaque, but I mean, that's because…

Miguel: They were a total clone.

Christina: Made by Left Eye, so…

Miguel: Yeah. That was their intent.

Christina: But I feel like their influence was more of just the existence of them.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Just being out there selling these records and making this music and, you know, being the 90s strong women.

Miguel: Yeah. So, with that said, are they the greatest girl group ever and where do you rank them all time?

Christina: I personally, for me, and I'm gonna say for the '90s, for me, I would pick SWV over them.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: I think maybe for me, SWV had just kind of stood the test of time a little bit better, or I'm not even sure what it is. Or maybe it was just that turn after them having such big success that their music became more pop. My interest just sort of waned although I do recognize that they were just huge. Whereas SWV was always SWV.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So, for me personally, I would pick SWV as the group of the 90s, so…

Miguel: I'm gonna say that SWV being the greatest girl group is a hot take.

Christina: Of the '90s!

Miguel: But still.

Christina: Who else?

Miguel: I have nothing, I'm not jumping into this. I am not jumping into this.

Christina: What? Okay, so some people might say Xscape. Some people might say TLC. Jade had a couple songs, but I don't think anybody's gonna go to, well, you know, everyone has their fans. 702 had their hits too, but they weren't as big as these other ones. Um, Destiny's Child, I mean, technically they came out in the 90s, but I think of Destiny's Child as a 2000s group, like their first album squeaked in near the end of the 90s, but I consider them a 2000s group.

Miguel: But see, that wasn't the question.

Christina: Mm-hmm.

Miguel: Are they the greatest girl group ever? Not just the 90s.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Ever.

Christina: I don't know. I can't make that—okay, you're saying that me saying SWV in the of the 90s is a hot take and now you want me to say whether TLC is the best girl group of ALL time?

Miguel: That was the original question. You decided to narrow it down to the '90s and I asked, are they the greatest girl group ever? And you came out with the Flaming Hot Cheetos and said that it was SWV.

Christina: For me!

Miguel: I understand.

Christina: I don't know.

Miguel: All right. I, I just wanted to ask.

Christina: I'm gonna say they're up there.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: It's too hard to say best. And then you say, best of all time, too?

Miguel: Yep.

Christina: That's too hard.

Miguel: I'll allow it. Just trying to put you on the spot. That's all.

Christina: That's asking too much.

Miguel: That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I'm not here to argue with it. So, with that said—

Christina: Oh, aren't you gonna answer the question?

Miguel: No.

Christina: Why?

Miguel: 'Cause I don't wanna.

Christina: That ain't right. Go, go, Jason "Waterfalls."

Miguel: Fine. I will say that they are the greatest girl group ever.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: And I'm putting that up against Destiny's Child. I'm putting that up against The Supremes, all of it. From the1940s through today. I'm gonna say that TLC is the greatest girl group of all time.

Christina: All right.

Miguel: Nobody hit those heights that they did.

Christina: I actually thought that Destiny's Child…they got close, didn't they?

Miguel: They were close, but solo Beyonce is like, bigger than TLC, but I don't think that Destiny's Child as when they were four or three, got to those heights.

Christina: I thought they did with all that Survivor stuff.

Miguel: Yeah, they were big, but I don't think they hit the highs of TLC.

Christina: The didn't hit the, uh, "Waterfalls," "Creep."

Miguel: Yeah, they probably had stuff on the level of "Creep" and whatnot, but "Waterfalls" was something completely—

Christina: And "No Scrubs".

Miguel: That was just something completely different.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: "Waterfalls" is one of the biggest songs ever.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Very few people have hit those heights.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, that's what I'm going with.

Christina: All right.

Miguel: You got anything else you want to add before we tap out?

Christina: Whenever you ask me that question, I feel like I have to have something.

Miguel: You don't have to.

Christina: But I never have anything.

Miguel: You don't.

Christina: So, maybe you should stop asking me.

Miguel: Maybe I will.

Christina: I'll just interrupt you. Wait, wait, wait. I got one more thing. If I ever have anything.

Miguel: All right, so you can follow us on social media @troypodcast on Instagram and Twitter, you can go to to check out links to all the things that we talked about in this episode. We will link to some of the videos and interviews that we mentioned. You can also check out a playlist that we've put together based on TLC for your spiritual and dancing enjoyment. And yeah, I think that's enough. We can just go ahead and tap out now.

Christina: They're probably not even listening anymore.

Miguel: Yeah, nobody's here.

Christina: I've checked out.

Miguel: If you are still listening, hit me up on Twitter and say, hey, at the end of that TLC episode, we made it to the end.

Christina: We made it.

Miguel: All right, we will talk to you guys again in two weeks.

Christina: Bye.